Melissa Williams is a mom to 11-year-old J.W. and baby V. Her older daughter, J.W has spinal muscular atrophy Type I. In the beginning, Melissa would do everything on her own. However, when she found out she was pregnant with her younger daughter and that J.W. needed a tracheostomy, she realized she would need a lot of help. She sat down with us to recount her experiences with Care Options for Kids.
“In my mind, I was like, I can’t have her be this unstable and have a little baby,” she explains. Now, we have 24-hour home care with three registered nurses from Care Options for Kids. They’ve all been with us for a long time now. The longest one, Libis, has been with us for three years.”
While Melissa likes to be very hands-on when taking care of J.W., having home healthcare has helped make things run smoothly — for her and for her entire family. “When you have a baby, you have to go to so many appointments. Every couple of weeks, there’s a new follow up. It’s nice having a nurse here, taking care of J.W. It allows me to unplug for a bit and take care of baby V.”
While she loves taking care of both of her daughters, she admits that it can be a daunting task. “It’s hard to be the mom of a special needs child — especially when you have other kids. It’s a lot easier when you have that support system.”
Not only does Melissa get assistance from J.W.’s nurses while she takes care of baby V., but they’ve also become a team. J.W. has a BiPAP machine, as well as a tracheostomy and a g-tube, so it’s nice to have that extra set of hands. “They’ve also learned what J.W. likes to do as a regular kid.”
One of her nurses, Libis Diaz, chimes in: “J.W. is a very intelligent child. She knows what she likes. She has her favorite movies and her favorite music. I arrive at 7 AM — while she’s still sleeping — so I go over the report prepared by the night shift nurse and make sure we have enough supplies. Once J.W. wakes up, I feed her, then turn on the TV so she can watch her shows. Sometimes she wants to listen to music instead, so I give her her headphones.
Libis also changes her diapers, takes care of the g-tube, and cleans the canister. She makes sure J.W. gets her three feedings a day, and updates her medical report throughout her shift, so that the night nurse is aware of how the day went.
It’s also nice to watch the bond between J.W. and her little sister. Their mom Melissa explains how, despite her medical condition, J.W. sometimes takes time off her favorite shows to look at baby V. — and baby V. loves it. “I’m home most of the time, getting to enjoy my babies,” she states. “But knowing that there’s always a nurse here with me lets me know that things will be ok. It allows me to enjoy my time with my girls, more,” she smiles. “That peace of mind is invaluable.”