Baby Theo Goes Home

The Adventures of Baby Theo

“We didn’t have a car seat, a crib or anything … we didn’t make it to a baby shower because he was 25 weeks gestation when he was born,” Madi Blake said about her baby, Theophilus.

Less than 2 weeks before Madi gave birth, she was cleared to go on her and her husband, Preston’s, babymoon to Colorado. Then, all of a sudden, she started swelling and feeling like something was wrong. She went into the hospital and was diagnosed with preeclampsia – the Blakes changed course and went to Branson instead. But, they didn’t get far – Madi was admitted and put on bedrest that weekend, and transferred to Springfield for her care. 

“They said you will not be leaving before you have this baby, so settle in,” she said.

The hope was to make it to 28 weeks, but she only made it 4 days before an emergency see section was ordered.

“It was a really scary situation, Madi said. “No one knew if he (Theo) was going to make it or I was going to make it.” 

Theo was 1 lb. 5 oz. when he was born, and within the first week of his life the Blakes found out he had a grade 4 bilateral brain bleed. Madi and Preston checked into Ronald McDonald House in Springfield as soon as Madi was released from her postpartum care.

“We got a call that Theo stopped breathing in the middle of the night, and being 2 minutes away rather than 40 minutes away was HUGE. I can’t imagine making that drive in the middle of the night,” Madi said.

When Theo was 3 weeks old it was clear he needed another level of care – the family got transferred to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City and checked into Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City. As small business owners, Preston had to return to run their business during the week but spent every moment of the weekend with Madi and Theo. Madi would remain steps away from her son as long as she needed to.

“Even if I had all the money in the world, I could not rent a house this close to the hospital. Having something this close is just priceless, just knowing if there is an episode or concern I can be there in just a few minutes to be by his side,” she said.

Madi explained that she stayed all day with Theo – she would leave the House at 8 and come back at 10, but she would often participate in the leftovers from the meal groups that night. 

“I would just be starving at night since I was breastfeeding, and checked for leftovers in the fridges to get a good meal before bed,” said Madi.

Madi and Preston were able to go on their first “date night” after Theo was born through a program called Drop and Dine provided by RMHC-KC. Drop and Dine is when a local restaurant caters a meal for families in our Houses but sets it up in a special way so it feels like you’re able to spend time together at a nice restaurant. Playtime for any siblings or patients is also provided in a different area so the couples can relax and enjoy a little downtime. 

Madi says, “It was nice to not feel like we had to leave and get a reservation, and we were still really close to the hospital if something did happen.”

The Blakes were thrilled to bring Theo home to Ozark, Missouri, on his 7-month birthday! They stayed at the two Ronald McDonald Houses for 212 days combined. 

“We don’t quite know what everything will look like, but we are just so excited to get home and be together.”