Do you ever wonder who it is you are supporting when you support Ronald McDonald House Charities? Here is one family’s story, as told by Annie Colvin.
We learned about the Ronald McDonald House from the nurse taking care of me in postpartum. She was trying to help us find a place to stay while our son was in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). I couldn’t fathom the thought of spending the night an hour and a half away from my baby each night by staying in Luling.
We LOVE RMHC! We had heard the name of the place, but never knew what its services were or how they might help people. We were surprised at how accommodating and friendly everyone was without prying into our personal situation. It was helpful to us that we had a safe place to stay and that our other child, 3 yrs old then, could also stay with us. It was very helpful that the RMHC allowed our family and friends to come visit us there, and there were facilities to mimic our home environment. The meals provided and encouragement from the environment alone was a Godsend to our family. Not only did it save us money, it lifted another burden off our backs during our difficult time. We probably wouldn’t have eaten much of anything had the House not been there for us because we weren’t worried about taking care of ourselves, but making sure our baby and 3-yr-old daughter were taken care of first.
Blaine was born at 35 weeks, two days after our daughter’s 3rd birthday. My water broke, but no reason as to why. There was no warning. Since he was 5 weeks early, we knew that he may need to be in the hospital with me a little longer than the usual two or three days after a C-section, but that was the extent of it. We had no idea we’d be separated in different hospitals once he was born and he would be sent to the NICU.
And then it all happened very fast. His lungs did not produce the hormone needed for lubrication and functioning. He was given this hormone artificially at first. He was on oxygen, had an IV and a feeding tube.
He was then transferred from St.David’s South Austin Medical Center to the NICU at St. David’s Medical Center, several miles away, while I (recovering from a C-section) stayed at the South Austin Hospital. It was gut wrenching to have my baby at a separate hospital from me. I was determined to get released the next day, and the nurse on duty was very supportive. She saw my determination, walking, doing more for myself and recovering quickly. She recommended the Ronald McDonald House because she had volunteered there years before. Once my doctor gave the OK to release me, that very day the social worker and the nurse helped us contact the Ronald McDonald House and get everything set up. I can’t tell you what an answered prayer that was.
Blaine was in the NICU for two weeks and two days. Once he got off the oxygen (about one week later), his struggle was to gain weight at a steady rate, and eat more volumes. After he became more consistent, he just had to learn how to drink from a bottle instead of being supported from a feeding tube. He was not quick to drink from a bottle, but he got it just one day before being discharged.
He is a healthy (never been sick other than allergies or teething since we brought him home) baby boy. To our knowledge, there are no long-term lasting problems associated with his premature birth. We are very thankful to God and the angels he put in our pathway to encourage us and provide strength through our difficult time. RMHC is a very important piece of our family now, and we are forever grateful for the kindness of this organization.
The accommodations were very nice (we would’ve stayed in a tent if need be or in the lobby chairs overnight) and helped ease our burdens during our family’s difficult time. Not only did RMHC help us and our child in the NICU, it was a comfortable, safe place for our first child, 3-year-old Sophie to visit and spend time with us.
Thank you all very much, and may God bless all of you that have any part in this organization.
My husband and I are full time teachers at the middle school in Lockhart, Texas. We are both also in graduate school, and the Ronald McDonald House was beyond helpful for us during our time of need. We just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary and I believe that the Ronald McDonald House is the glue we needed to keep it together after Blaine’s early birth.