Monday, May 30, 2011

An Oklahoma Family's Heartbreak and Tragedy - PLEASE READ AND SHARE

Yesterday we received an email from Megan, who recently wore one of our hospital gowns for the birth of her 3rd child.  Megan lives in Oklahoma and shared a heart breaking story with us. Here is her email -   

"Hi Girls,
Not sure if you heard, but my state, Oklahoma, was hit with a round of tornadoes on Tuesday, May 24th. The little town of Piedmont was demolished. A mom, Catherine Hamil, got into the bath tub with her children Kathleen 5, Ryan 3, and Cole 15 months.  Her husband was out of town for business. I don't know if you are familiar with tornado safety, but growing up, we were all told to "go to the tub" for protection. Catherine put a mattress over them and, when the tornado hit their home, it sucked them out of the tub and literally tossed all four of them about. Their house was completely flattened and scattered to the foundation. The whole state is moved by this story. Her daughter Kathleen survived with serious injuries. Her son Cole died the following morning at the hospital. Her son Ryan was missing for 2 days and sadly was found deceased in a pond behind their house early Thursday morning. The mother Catherine, who is also 5 months pregnant, has had surgery for pelvic fractures.  My question is, I was wondering if you would donate a hospital gown for the mother? If not, could you cut me a sweet deal? I won't quit loving ya if you can't do it, but I thought I would ask:) Let me know if there is anything you need from me!
Thanks Girls, 

The Hamil Family
The Hamil Family

We are so thankful Megan wrote to us, because as most of you know, we just launched our Feel Better Campaign, in which we donate our designer hospital gowns to nominated and deserving recipients. Our mission in starting this program is to support people in need during difficult times. We hope, that by sending Catherine our hospital gowns, she can enjoy a bit of comfort during her upcoming birth and any upcoming hospital stays she may have to endure as a result of her injuries. As you read this story, we encourage you to share it with your friends, with the hope that together we can surround the Hamil family with our love and support.  Because of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, almost $40,000 has already been raised for the Hamil family. If you would like to support the Hamil family there are many ways to do so.  

Here are a few pictures of the damage that the Hamil family endured last Tuesday May 24th, 2011

The Hamil's home in Piedmont, Oklahoma before and after...
Refuge: The family home in Piedmont, Oklahoma, where Catherine Hamil and her three children sought refuge from the deadly tornado in a bath tub
Devastated: The Hamil family home was completely blown away when the tornado struck near Oklahoma City on Tuesday night

A heart wrenching video from after they found Cole's body.

"My little buddy': Father fights back tears as he reveals that missing three-year-old son has been found dead"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

14 Year Old Undergoes Open Heart Surgery.....Part Two

So if you didn't read yesterdays post, you will want to read that first here: Katie's Testimonial Part 1. This is part II of the story of Katie, a 14 year old girl who underwent open heart surgery due to a previously undiagnosed heart condition. Our last post left off saying that we were about to get a surprising update on Katie!!

We knew the day that Katie was going in for her open heart surgery thanks to her aunt, Jenny, who purchased an Annie & Isabel hospital gown for her. We thought about Katie that morning and went about our day working on Annie & Isabel matters. We were checking our email when we received an email that absolutely made our day and our week!! It was an email that made us realize that every minute of hard work that we put into our company is soooo worth it. The email was from Katie's aunt, Jenny. True to her word, Jenny wrote to update us on Katie's progress. She emailed us the following picture which just blew us away:

This is Katie in the pediatric Intensive Care Unit, just HOURS after having open heart surgery. She has the biggest grin on her face and is looking as bright and cheery as the Evelyn designer gown that she is wearing. Can you imagine sitting up in a chair within the first day of having open heart surgery?? We are nurses and we were surprised and excited to see her doing so well! The surprises weren't to end there, either.

Shortly after receiving that wonderful email from Katie's aunt, Jenny, we received another message. Amazingly, Katie's nurse that day happened to be a friend of ours, Claudette (pictured above with Katie). We hadn't talked to her in quite some time but when she saw this beautiful gown on her patient, she knew right away that it must be an Annie & Isabel hospital gown. She was also amazed at how it helped in the recovery of her patient. Claudette was so impressed that, with the permission of Katie and her family, she contacted us to tell us how excited she was that Katie had this gown and what a difference it had made in Katie's recovery. Here is what she wrote to us:

"I am currently an RN at Children's Hospital Oakland. I have been a Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Nurse for over 8 years now. There are so many reasons I love my job, but one of the great joys is being able to bring to the families and our patients, the most brave kids you will ever meet, some normalcy during their stay in the ICU.

With this brings my story of Katie. Katie had a whirlwind first hand experience as a pediatric heart patient. She was diagnosed and underwent her surgery in such a short time frame. I had the pleasure of helping care for Katie her first day post-op. It was then we encouraged Katie to take a bath, braid her hair and get out of that stale hospital gown from surgery and get into her new and improved gown from Annie and Isabel! After the bath, hair braided and gown in place, I was taken aback on how Katie was actually glowing! She was able to get up and out of the bed and into the chair! We were all so excited to see her with so much strength and in such a great mood so soon after this intense surgery. Katie looked at me and said how much getting up and out of bed, and wearing something that she loved made her feel just that little bit better (this girl was smiling ear to ear). It truly made my heart smile.

Thank you Annie and Isabel for bringing a little bit of sunshine to maybe just another day in the ICU."
~Claudette Arguello, RN, BSN

Even her cardiologist, Dr. Rosenfeld (pictured above with Katie) was impressed with Katie's hospital gown!

Katie's aunt, Jenny, was so happy with the difference the Evelyn designer hospital gown had made in Katie's first day of recovery that she ordered a second gown, The Susan, which we promptly altered to include the telemetry pocket and shipped out that same day. Thankfully it got there in one day because Katie's miraculous recovery from her surgery got her out of the hospital and home within 76 hours. Katie was back to school within two weeks!!! She is an amazing young lady!

Here is what Katie had to say about our hospital gowns:

"This gown made my day so much brighter! My aunt gave me a second gown because I felt so good wearing the first one! I had so much fun showing it off to all the nurses. I felt "dressed" in the gown, which made me feel less like a patient and more like a person. I love my hospital gowns!"

Katie, we are so glad you recovered so well from this big surgery and wish you a lot of healthy years of swimming, snow skiing, water skiing and sporting activities and loving life!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

14 Year Old Girl Undergoes Open Heart Surgery and Recovers In Her Annie & Isabel Hospital Gown With a Smile

We are so excited to share this next testimonial with you. This is the story of Katie, a 14 year old teenager, who recently underwent successful open heart surgery. The need for open heart surgery came as quite a surprise to Katie and her family. Here is the story in Katie's mother's words:

"Katie enjoys competitive swimming, snow skiing, water skiing, and other outdoor sports. Her pediatrician's office recently placed a greater emphasis on cardiac health in athletic children. Katie's pediatrician referred her for an ultrasound due to a heart murmur that she'd had since birth, even though doctors had repeatedly concluded that this murmur was "innocent".

No one expected the ultrasound to show that Katie's heart was greatly enlarged. After an MRI, doctors confirmed that Katie had a Sinus Venosus Atrial Septal Defect, a hole between the two top chambers of her heart that also affected the right upper pulmonary vein. Given Katie's athleticism and lack of symptoms, this diagnosis came as a great shock! Within a month, Katie was admitted to Children's Hospital Oakland for open heart surgery under the superior care of Dr. Howard Rosenfeld, her cardiologist, and Dr. Frank Hanley, her surgeon."

A week prior to Katie's surgery, her aunt, Jenny, e-mailed us to purchase one of our gowns for her niece. When we found out that her niece was having open heart surgery, we knew right away that Katie was going to require a hospital gown that would allow for cardiac monitoring.

Did you know that Annie & Isabel hospital gowns can be altered to provide a pocket, called a telemetry pocket, that allows for cardiac monitoring? We have done this on several occasions and this is what it looks like:

front of gown with telemetry pocket in middle

This pocket on the front of the hospital gown will hold a portable cardiac monitor and has a two inch button hole like slit that opens to allow for cardiac monitoring cords to come through.  Anyone in the hospital that has cardiac problems or requires any heart surgery will require heart monitoring.

pocket open to show slit where cords come through

We added the telemetry pocket to Katie's Evelyn designer hospital gown and sent it off.  Jenny was kind enough to let us know when Katie was going to have her surgery and told us she would update us on her progress.  We got an update that we never expected!!  Check back tomorrow for the 2nd part of this great story!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A New Mother Delivers in the Annie Designer Hospital Gown

Here is Allison wearing her Annie & Isabel designer hospital gown as she gets ready to deliver her first child. She is wearing the "Annie" gown and we love that her cute flip flops look perfect with her hospital gown. We are sure she was the most fashionable mom on the labor and delivery floor! Thanks Allison for your testimonial!

"All ready to welcome miss Lauren Whitney...a big THANK YOU to Joyce and Annie & Isabel Hospital Gowns for making me feel stylish during my labor & delivery...I received many compliments while walking the floor."

-Alison Minneapolis MN

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy {Belated} National Nurses Week!

Our Mother Susan ~ The Namesake of Our Susan Gown & Inspiration to Follow Our Dreams of Becoming Nurses.

Happy National Nurses Week - {last week} - We were SO busy working that we did not get a chance to post this!

We are feeling nostalgic as we write our second National Nurses Week post here on our Annie & Isabel blog! One year ago we had just launched our business providing a direct to consumer hospital gown alternative and were so excited to share our designer hospital gowns with the world.... and that we have! With over 50,000 visits to our website, and hundreds of gowns sold, we have been overcome with joy as we help women feel comfortable, dignified and, of course, stylish in the hospital.

If you've followed along in our first year, you know that we are sisters, wives, mothers to 6 energetic boys between the two of us, and LOVE our "real jobs" as RNs working in the hospital. We feel very honored to be in a profession that is so rewarding and feel good knowing that we can make a difference providing the care that comes from our hearts to our patients on a daily basis.

We, as nurses, feel so much gratitude in having the opportunity to touch the lives of our patients in some of the happiest and also the saddest moments in their lives. Nurses have a great impact of everything about your hospital stay. We are the eyes and ears of the hospital. We are your advocate and your voice.

In honor of National Nurses Week {last week}.... Thank you to all of our co-workers who support us and teach us something every day. We don't know what we would do without you!

We also want to give a big thank you to all of you who have supported Annie & Isabel with comments on our posts, "likes" on Facebook, and thinking of us as your "go-to baby present" and gift for friends that have unwanted hospital stays. We have been overwhelmed with the love out there for our baby girls "Annie & Isabel"... if you don't know the story... click here!

Oh... we almost forgot! Our post last year "Why Did You Become a Nurse and Not a Doctor?" had so many hits from people who Googled "Should I become a nurse?" which we thought was so neat! If you found our blog and are thinking of a career in nursing... it is a true calling and an amazing career! There are so many things you can do with a nursing degree. You can work in a hospital as we do, but you can also find just about anything that might fit your interests! If you ever want to ask us anything more about why we love being nurses, please don't hesitate to email us ~

Find us on {Facebook}
Find us on {Twitter}

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Meredith Wears Her "Susan" Annie & Isabel Designer Gown & It's A Hit With The Hospital Staff!

We are so happy to post this beautiful testimonial from Meredith, of San Francisco, in her Susan designer hospital gown as she welcomed her son Andrew into the world! Thank you Meredith for your kind words and we are so happy you loved wearing you OWN hospital gown for Andrew's debut!

"I knew I wanted to wear and Annie and Isabel gown for my second child's birth. I selected the Susan months before our baby was born and knew it would be just right for making me feel great during labor and delivery. When I checked into triage and asked my husband to help me put the gown on, the nurse came in and said, "Oh my goodness, that's the cutest gown I've ever seen. Where did you get it?" She proceeded to call in 3 other nurses and they all gushed about it. A few hours later, when the anesthesiologist arrived he said, "Did I miss the room where they're handing out the cool gowns today? Where did you get that?" Everyone who came into my room absolutely raved about the gown, and when I told them where I got the gown, they all said you should sell them at CPMC. Aside from everyone around loving it, I loved it. I knew I had washed my own gown, and that I could snuggle my newborn baby with a clean mommy hug. The nurses tried everything to keep it clean during delivery, and it was actually pretty clean even at the end. I love the photos from our son's birth and feel like I look so beautiful and happy in my gown. My dad is a doctor, and when he showed his colleagues the photos of our son's birthday, once again, all the doctors and nurses said, "Where did your daughter get that awesome gown?" Keep it up. You are making such a difference in making women feel comfortable and beautiful."

Just Precious!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Sweet Mother's Day Gift

We wanted to wish all mothers and moms-to-be a very happy Mother's Day today!! We, as mothers, know how blessed we are to have the beautiful families that we have and to also have the privilege of mothering our children with the hopes that they remain healthy, well-rounded children. Mother's Day is a nice time to reflect on our families and the blessings we have.

Some mothers are getting an extra special present this Mother's Day....the gift of a new baby. The new mother below, Hilary, is one such mom!!

Hilary celebrated the birth of her third child just three days ago. What is even more exciting to us is that this is the second birth in which she has worn her Annie & Isabel designer hospital gown. Hilary was one of the first mothers to ever wear an Annie & Isabel designer hospital gown and now she is one of the first to wear it for a 2nd birth!!! She first wore her Annie & Isabel gown when she gave birth to Raven which you can read about HERE. Scroll near the bottom to see her testimonial:-)

Proud New Mama!!

She delivered a healthy, beautiful baby girl. How sweet is she?

This is what Hilary said about wearing her Annie & Isabel hospital gown for the second time which we thought was so neat:

"I was so excited to be able to wear my gown held such good memories from Raven's birth and now it will hold memories from Azri's birth!"

Congratulations Hilary and a special Happy Mother's Day to you!!!

Don't forget that we are still offering free shipping on orders through today with code "Mothers". Last chance to order your gown with an $8 savings on shipping.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

With 2 Girls and Her Pink Annie Designer Hospital Gown, Mindy & AJ left the gender of the 3rd Baby as a Surprise!! It's A...

In honor of Mother's Day, this upcoming Sunday, we are so happy to share with you a testimonial of a special friend and mother! My sister and business partner, Anna, was at her son's baseball game last spring and was sitting next to Kelli Wheeler, author of "Momservations - The Fine Print of Parenting". They were talking about their businesses when Kelli realized she had a friend who would be delivering her 3rd child that very week via C-section. She asked Anna if she could buy an Annie & Isabel hospital gown that day (our gowns are especially nice for extended stays like C-sections). Anna called me {Selena} and I ran over our "Annie" gown to the baseball diamond. The next week we were so surprised to find out that the "Annie" gown went to a college friend and neighbor of Selena's husband, Mindy! Mindy and her husband AJ went to Santa Clara with Selena's husband and we were so excited Mindy welcomed her son Joey into this world in one of our hospital gowns (which we got to see pics on Facebook... love that!) Mindy is a beautiful person inside and out and a wonderful mother to her 3 children. Here is what Mindy said about wearing her very own designer hospital gown,

"Wow, what a difference a cute hospital gown makes! My third (and final) baby was born on May 26, 2010. Due to my previous c-sections, we knew when baby #3 would arrive, but we did not know if we were having a boy or girl! Our first two children are girls. Secretly we hoped for a boy, but another girl would have been great too. So, needless to say, when my husband joyfully announced in the operating room, "It's a BOY!" we were thrilled! I spent four days in the hospital recovering from my c-section and bonding with baby Joey. Baby Joey and I had several visitors during those days. I could not have been more grateful to be wearing my cute Annie and Isabel designer hospital gown. Our friends and family all commented on the gown. Just about all the moms said, "I wish I had a pretty gown when my babies were born!" Thanks to Kelli for the thoughtful gift! And, thanks to Annie and Isabel for making my baby boy's arrival even more memorable!"

- Mindy

Congratulations Mindy & AJ. You have a beautiful family and thank you for sharing!

Follow Kelli Wheeler of Momservations

For Mother's Day we are offering free shipping in the United States by using the code "Mothers" at checkout now through Mother's Day. If you order by May 4th, we guarantee your hospital gown will be delivered in time for Mother's Day. Annie & Isabel designer hospital gowns are the perfect gift for the expecting mother in your life.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Because of Facebook Karen Welcomes Daughter In The Annie Designer Hospital Gown!

We received this lovely testimonial from Karen. Karen wore the Annie gown while she was recovering in the hospital after the birth of her daughter. We think that Karen picked the perfect gown to welcome her sweet little girl! Congratulations Karen and thank you so much for sharing your experience in an Annie & Isabel designer hospital gown!
"Thankfully I follow Annie & Isabel on my Facebook, because I was reminded about their delivery gowns close to my due date with my daughter. I ordered my Annie gown almost immediately after on Oct 13th and received my gown on Oct 14th. Talk about efficiency!! I washed and packed my gown weeks before my due date and was getting more excited about having my baby girl, probably because I was getting excited to wear my Annie gown! Then, on the day of my delivery, I didn’t wear my gown right away because I didn’t want it to get soiled! Luckily, I got to wear it during the rest of my stay and got so many compliments from family and UCSF doctors and nurses. I was surprised they had never seen or heard of Annie & Isabel since one of the founders is a nurse at UCSF. Anyone who has to spend time in a hospital deserves to look cute and stylish in an Annie & Isabel gown. Get yours today!"