April 22, 2005
Avalon's birthday in the hospital
This is a picture of the "outside" of Avalon's
"front" door.  I like to decorate our door, to show
the world the beautiful creature who is currently
occupying the room.  The portraits were taken the
day before Avalon started the Delayed
Intensification phase of treatment.  Her hair was
entirely gone 1 week after these pictures were
taken.  Funny thing is, I don't remember her having
hair now...I've completely embraced the "bald is
beautiful" philosophy.

The two small photos at the bottom of the door
were taken by one of the unit nurses.  In the
pictures, Avalon has stolen a stethoscope and is
grinning like a monkey, as she "listens" to a stuffie.  
The small black and white photos above the door
handle, are printouts of the "Baldy" (Daddy and
Avalon) pictures we had taken at Sears.  We took
them the day before this admission...we never even
had time to get them back...

Although I packed all that I could think of to make
the room cheerful, I didn't have time to make
birthday signs in our rush to get to ER.  I did,
however, have the insight to grab a stack of
construction paper that the girls had been playing

I made these signs at 3 a.m. the morning of her
birthday.  The ER crew were delivering another
admission to J-5 at 4 a.m., and caught me hanging
them on the door.  They grinned, teased me, and
once again, did their best to make the day bearable.

The "Happy 2nd Birthday" banner is from
Children's Hospital itself.  Our nurses called the
Child life department and told them it was Avalon's
big day.  Late that morning, two grinning women
came bouncing in with the long banner, a poster, a
birthday cake, and two presents.  

The poster was made by volunteer children in the
Big Brothers/Big Sisters foundation.  It says
Happy Birthday - and was covered with Hello Kitty
and Strawberry Shortcake stickers.  It also had a
large empty space with a pink piece of paper - so
you could add personal messages.  We attached
special family cards to it, and hung it from her
bulletin board.

The birthday cake was actually delicious!  We
shared it with Abbey, Jacob (our Strawberry
Shortcake friend), and our special angel, Kim - the
unit clerk.  Kim and Avalon are best buds...they
share their birthday!!  In fact, Kim is the one who
pulled several strings, begged several people...and
eventually badgered the volunteer department into
printing off all of Avalon's e-card birthday
greetings on her actual birthday.  She's a gem, and
Avalon loves her to pieces!

In addition to the cake and posters, the birthday
fairies brought two gifts.  They were a Fisher Price
Little People  stable and baby animal set.  Avalon
loves them!  She is crazy about our old Fisher Price
barn, a hand-me-down from Aurora.  To get a stable
to match it, complete with sounds and extra
animals...well, she was in her own little slice of

The thoughtful gestures from Children's meant the
world...to both of us.  We've been in the hospital so
much this month, Daddy and Mommy haven't had
time to shop - much less the disposable income to do
so.  To have the hospital recognize the emotional
toll it takes on a family to have to be "in" for a
birthday, is more than I can ever thank them for.

From the ER "choir", to the hospital birthday
fairies, to the birthday sharing/birthday crusader,
to the night nurse who hand made a card for the
entire shift to sign, to the individual nurses, PCA's
and housekeepers who came with cards, gifts and
most importantly hugs and kisses...Avalon's
birthday was, indeed, SPECIAL... in spite of where,
when, and how it happened.  
Is it any wonder I love these people?
Our Journey:
Avalon's Army of Angels