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Posted on Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 8 a.m.

Mott memories: Readers share their experiences at the children's hospital

By Jen Eyer

Related story: University of Michigan's $754 million Mott Children's Hospital set to open today

A few weeks ago, we asked readers to share their experiences with Mott Children's Hospital, in advance of the Dec. 4 opening of the new C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.

Readers responded via comments, Facebook and email, and shared the following stories.


24 year ago, Andy was born 4 weeks early. His mom had been in Women’s Hospital for several weeks with a complicated pregnancy. The C-section delivery was relatively normal. Except, his lungs didn’t want to work.

He was rushed to Holden NICU and spent several weeks in the hands of gifted doctors, dedicated nurses and committed staff members. It was a VERY scary time! Ultimately, he made his way home, prospered through Mack School, Slauson and Pioneer…where he played lacrosse. Andy graduated from the University of Colorado a couple of years ago and works for the Forest Service in the Rocky Mountains.

Who could have thought that this sick little baby with those lungs that wouldn’t work could grow up to work and ski in the thin air of the mountains? If not for the great facilities and experts staff of Mott and Holden, it is likely that the story would have been much different and without a happy ending.
John D. Heidke, PhD.

In 1989, we travelled from Lansing to Mott to have steel rods inserted in my son's spine, twisted from the ravages of muscular dystrophy. We came because a UM doctor promised to manage his pain better than had been done in a previous operation to relieve contractures in his hips, knees and ankles. The doctor kept his promise but the recovery was still long and painful.

One day, I walked outside to find a few minutes of fresh air and peace. Soon after I sat down in the courtyard, that peace was disturbed by a wrecking ball attacking the Old Main Hospital. I would have paid a lot of money to have been behind the wheel of that crane! In my mind's eye, I put myself at the wheel and with each swing some of the stress and anger and grief over slowly losing my son to muscular dystrophy was expressed. A cathartic few minutes passed.

And then I returned to the pediatric I.C.U., where loving nurses watched over Michael.
Annette Lozon

My daughter, Juliana, was born at U of M. When she was not quite 6 weeks old, she woke up one Sunday morning with a 103 fever. My husband and I called our doctor and rushed her to Mott's ER. When we arrived, the medical team sprang into action. Her temperature had risen to 105, and I was so fearful we would lose her. The staff was wonderful and swooped upon her, bringing her fever down. She was hospitalized for 2 days for tests, and it was determined she had a urinary tract infection — the "least dangerous" of any of the possibilities. Today, she's a healthy, happy 7-year-old. I am forever grateful to the Mott team for helping her.
Michele Santillan

My son Daniel was born there. We had a midwife for the delivery, she worked there as a nurse so Dan was delivered there. We did all the training for a natural child birth with a midwife, learned all about how a human birth is not a medical... problem, but still went to the hospital because I had insurance. We knew if everything went well, we could all leave after 4 hours. It did, so we did, but the nurses were kinda shocked and said, "You want to leave?" So they had a doctor look at Dan, and he let us go (first time we saw a doc while there). Dan is doing fine still, just got out of the Marines where he served as an M.P.
John B Davis

I stayed there for 3 days when I was young. I remember doing arts and crafts... I also volunteered there during high school for a nursing program where I got to observe many things, including sick triplets and a circumcision of a newborn!
Stephanie Darrow

My only stay at Mott was for 13 days I think, when I was in elementary school. Ironic that I post this today (Oct. 31), but my vivid memory was of being there on Halloween. We went upstairs to do crafts, then got to "trick or treat" at the doors that had ghosts on them.
Lisa Williams Clark

I have given birth to two of my sons at Mott. My first pregnancy was very complicated; my son had a 2-vessel cord (they are supposed to have 3) and was low weight at every ultrasound. He was born 1 month premature with an emergency c-section done by Dr. Van De Ven. He is now a healthy 2-year-old toddler!

Since I had such a rough pregnancy with my first, I decided to be extra careful with my second pregnancy a year later. I took my vitamins, ate right and did everything the "right" way. Little did we know our baby would be born 2 months premature. I can remember the day so perfectly. I endured a day full of contractions and finally couldn't take any more. Camden was born 4 lbs 4 ounces, hours later via emergency c-section. He then spent the next month at Holden; we were moved to Motts a couple weeks in, but he was not ready so we went back to Holden.


Courtesy photo

I cannot express the gratitude I have for the doctors and nurses at the U of M. The nurses that cared for him included Susan and Kate Harrington — I will never forget their love and affection for my small child. I am happy to report Camden is 1 year old with no complications at all. I don't think he's even been sick. He is now bigger than his 2-year-old brother and truly a blessing. Hail to the Victors! Saham Lucas-Fuller

My oldest son was born in March of 2000 at Mott, he spent the first month of his life in the NIC unit. This was the hardest time in my life, and will never forget the great doctors and nurses I met. I know that we were lucky to live here in Ann Arbor, and live so close to some of the best hospitals in the world. I saw people who were not as fortunate as us, and I will always be compassionate to those who suffered loss. As long as I am alive, I will praise the Mott Children’s Hospital and the staff who perform miracles everyday.
Martin Morales

My name is Josephine Watson, formerly Josephine Porter, back in the 1970's. My memories of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital started on June 12th, 1975. I was twenty years old and expecting twins. At that time I was 26 weeks. I started hemorrhaging and was taken to U of M Mott Children's Hospital. Once there I had to endure several test and attempts to help me continue to carry my babies a few more weeks. The nurses there helped to keep me calm and the doctors there worked 24 hours trying to stabilize me. Nothing worked! On June 14th, I delivered twin girls. One weighed 2lbs 10oz and the other weighed 2lbs 4oz. Both babies lost an ounce or two. The nurses in the prenatal department were so caring, kind and patient with me and my crying over my babies. Some even prayed with me and asked God to please help these babies.

The technology back then was nothing like it is now, but prayer, to me, always works best. I almost lost one baby and I had to have a blood transfusion due to lose of blood during surgery. Today I have three beautiful daughters, my oldest are twins. Fraternal....and only one minute apart, healthy, happy and all have blessed me with grandchildren. My mother used to call them "Miracle Babies" because it was touch and go the first three months.

When I was able to bring them home, they weighed 4lbs. The love that C.S. Mott Staff displayed to me and my family, I will never forget. They all helped to keep my babies alive, along with God's blessing!
Thank You,
Josephine Watson

We have had two grandchildren who both spent considerable time at Mott’s Children’s Hospital.

Thirty-some years ago Jason was born with a spinal defect. He had surgery and spent several months in and out of Mott’s as an infant. The staff at Mott’s continued to monitor his health throughout his childhood.

Four years ago Morgan Cary was diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer at Mott’s shortly before her fifteenth birthday. She received chemo and radiation therapy there under the care of Dr. Pat Robertson in pediatrics oncology. Dr. Pat and her staff helped our family with both medical and emotional care during this trying time. Morgan survived to celebrate her ‘Sweet Sixteen’ birthday party but finally lost her battle. We continue to be thankful to the staff at Mott’s for the care we received during this journey.

Our son Jeffery Savage was the painter pictured in your gallery about the new hospital. He has been the project manager for the crew, which painted the new Mott’s Hospital and has been working there for over two years.
The Rev. Walter and Judy LaBatt

Our son was born two months early @ St. Joe, then was admitted to the Holden unit @ U of M. As he progressed he went over to Mott. While feeding him one evening he stopped breathing & I couldn't bring him around. The next day his Dr. came in & said, " She doesn't know how to feed him, so he fed our son & the same thing happened to him, so they moved him back to the Holden unit & never told us. We went to visit him the next day & we thought he had died because he was not @ Mott. This was my 4th baby & he is now 37 & 6'8".

I've given birth to four sons at Mott with the help of the U of M Midwives (my daughter and oldest was born out-of-state). My firstborn son began his delivery in the bathroom of my delivery room at Mott and I actually walked from my bathroom back to bed with his out. His shoulders got stuck and I was flipped onto my back and he was delivered after that.

My third son was born in a triage room. My water breaking in the current temporary construction parking lot as we were heading inside. I was 9.5 cm at admittance and never made it to a room or out of my own clothes. He was born 20 minutes after we entered the hospital. With my four Mott births, I have always requested a birthing tub (I am told there are 3 rooms with birthing tubs at Mott) but they are first-come, first-serve and they have always been occupied. 0-4 on birthing tub availability. I am happy to know that the new hospital will have ample birthing tub suites.

What could you say? My wife gave birth to our two sons there. Greatest days of my life.

My son was born there in 2007. It was perhaps the most beautiful experience of my life. We arrived in the middle of a snowstorm.
My Land!

My grandson's live was saved by Dr. Bove in 1988 -- he went on despite some special needs to become the first "special needs" Eagle Scout in York County. To Motts Hospital and Dr. Bove thank you for all you did for him those many years ago -- he grew up to be an outstanding young man.

I had two healthy boys born at Mott. Both arrived during major snowstorms, so it's a good thing we live close by!

I have the wonderful doctors in Assisted Reproduction (Dr. Randolph and staff) and my wonderful ob gyn for high risk pregnancies (Dr. Van de Ven) for my miracle 16 years ago. They followed me diligently and with great compassion through my pregnancy. Without this facility I would not have the happy, healthy 6' son I have today.
Thank you so much

Ours had RSV at 2 months. The nanny ours stayed with, another child had the flu. Ours got it. Nurses there were great. They let us go home 2 days later because the nurses could not attend to ours because my family was staffing the care. So they left us alone checking on us on occasion. They told us we would be there a week. When they sent us home two days later, we asked why to go home so early? They said they didn't have to worry about our child’s care because we had round the clock family care. Some parents don't. Ours hasn't been that sick since. Knock on wood. Motts has good care for infants.

Don't get me wrong, Mott's does great things for hundreds if not thousands of people each day but every experience isn't accompanied by a ray of sunshine. When I was 13 I was put into Mott's for a week with incredible back pain. It took them a week to figure out it was a staff infection and to prescribe the right medicine. During that time I had a nurse come in the middle of the night to wake me up and remove my IV because "there wasn't an order for it". Then she and another nurse came back a few hours later and informed me they mixed me up with a different patient and to "pretend that it never happened".

That same day I was served a blueberry muffin from the cafeteria with a 14 inch long red hair in it. Haven't touched a blueberry muffin since. I know people have fonder memories of Mott's than mine but that shouldn't change the fact that not all Mott's memories may be good ones.

I had my daughter there. I had a nursing student in the room with me and he was so patient and kind. He teared up when she was born too as it was the first time he had witnessed a birth. It took me a while to get into a room because they were extremely busy that day, but everyone was so nice and helpful once we got to the room! I also remember a little bit about getting my appendix removed there when I was in 4th grade. I remember walking up and down the hallways, once with a boy who had a shaved head and a big scar. I was so shy back then, but the sweet boy and the nurse got me talking - though I don't remember what about. I remember he helped me push the IV pole!
Angi Olson

My first child, a daughter, was born there on September 30, 2011. The pic in this article brings back a lot of memories for me, especially the blanket and hat, which look exactly like the ones she had. Every single health care professional there was great. Thank you so much Mott! Good luck, and keep up the incredible work you do.
Andrew Pfeiffer



Mon, Dec 5, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

What a marvelous article -- thank you for sharing. To be sure, I owe staff at Motts Hospital a great deal.


Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

I am happy they are opening the new hospital. I was hard as a parent to sleep on the little space they gave you at the old one.


Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 1:59 a.m.

I have to agree with this one. I remember them being like stiff couches. Although I never slept on it. I watched an old film all nite while mine slept. Very scary time then. Not knowing what is going to happen next.


Sun, Dec 4, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

I meant it.