Photo Contest Winner: The Winter Family

On Feb. 22, 2021, my husband and I found out that our baby had stopped growing in utero. I was 30 weeks along and our baby was only measuring 1.8 pounds and had fallen to the 2% in growth. We were terrified that we might lose our baby (my first). When I left my house that afternoon to check in the hospital, I had no idea that I wouldn’t see my house again for many weeks. I had developed preeclampsia and there was a blockage in my umbilical cord, so our baby wasn’t getting the nutrients needed to grow.

We had to get medevaced from Fairbanks, Alaska to Anchorage to go to Providence Children’s Hospital. All we knew at that time was that we were going to be in Anchorage for an unknown amount of time and we had no idea where we would stay, right smack in the middle of a pandemic.

My husband, Jermaine, who had previously stayed at the Fisher House in Seattle when he was a soldier on active duty, reached out see if there was any way we could stay at the Alaska Fisher House on such short notice. Within minutes, we were all set up to stay for as long as we needed.

We ended up needing to stay over three months as we welcomed Maddox, our son, at just 2 pounds, 5 ounces into the world. He underwent multiple surgeries to fix four hernias. I am so grateful to Fisher House and the staff here. Would it be possible anywhere else to work, sleep, eat, and visit the hospital daily for an extended amount of time away from our home?

And I’m grateful that my husband was able to stay with us. He retired from the Army in 2019 and was just starting as an electrician but turned down work to take care of me and Maddox, something we couldn’t have afforded to do without Fisher House.

I had to make a hard decision about when to take my maternity leave; after the birth or when we brought Maddox home. If there was no internet, I am not sure what I would have done. I would have had to start maternity leave early which would have meant I would have missed time with Maddox once he was discharged. But GCI donates internet to the Alaska Fisher House. I can’t be the only one working and relying on my computer staying “connected” every morning.

My husband and I spent about five hours at the hospital daily, and I work a full day of work at
the Alaska Fisher House. A few times a week, the Fisher House provides meals, and we couldn’t
be more grateful. We would see gift cards from Texas Roadhouse or Muldoon and were overjoyed that we could have a “night out.” What a blessing it is to come back to our second home after working and being at the hospital to see plates of food left for everyone or gift cards taped to our doors.

I cannot say enough how wonderful the Fisher House has been to us. The staff are so welcoming and accommodating and they have been so helpful during one of the most difficult times of our lives. I know I am a strong person, and my husband is too, but I really don’t know if I could have done this without the Fisher House and all of their supporters. What a beautiful place to spend three months!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Forever grateful,

Marissa, Jermaine, and Maddox Winter