What brought us to RMHC and what does it mean to us?
Our twin boys decided they wanted to come early into this world on January 24, 2020. Liam and Ryder were born at 26 weeks old and what would be a very long NICU journey had just begun for us. The boys being our first kids, this was a very stressful time. We live about an hour away from the hospital in Fort Wayne so the thought of driving back and forth was rough so we decided we would stay on the futon in their room; however, having a C-section being major surgery this wasn’t ideal for Ally’s recovery. We were not very aware of exactly how the Ronald McDonald House worked but were suggested to check it out, and we are so glad we did! Having the Ronald McDonald House was a huge blessing because it not only provided a place to stay but also daily home-cooked meals so we could focus on our boys. It also provided a place to escape the daily hardships of the NICU and allowed us to rest and recharge. The common living area was awesome to be able to see friends and family and recharge in that aspect as well. Having the ability to walk 5 minutes to the NICU and to not be separated from our boys relieved quite a bit of stress early on in our journey and was a huge blessing we can’t be thankful enough for. Having a home away from home in the hospital provides great tangible benefits and comforts as well as enormous intangible benefits for families in stressful long hospital stays.
While staying at RMHC, our story took an unexpected and devastating turn. Our sweet son Liam passed away after a 2 week long fight in the NICU. The Ronald McDonald House and staff helped in providing a safe place to retreat to and a place for our family to gather as they came in from out of state to grieve alongside us. We can’t imagine not being at the hospital with our son Ryder as he continues to fight in the NICU. Additionally, the RMHC being inside the hospital during this world crisis with COVID-19 has allowed us to have a “closed circuit” by not leaving the hospital or worrying about interacting with the outside world to limit our exposure and protect Ryder as best as we can. The staff has been so incredibly supportive and willing to help us our with whatever they possibly can. Taking care of the simple day to day tasks and providing a place to eat, shower, and rest may seem small; however, when all of your energy is exhausted because you’re constantly fighting for your boys in the NICU and your faith from grieving and coping with losing your son, managing these “small” tasks becomes so much more.
Hope of Going Home?
We have had so many different experiences of great joy to great sorrow while staying at the Ronald McDonald House. We celebrated the birth of our first children, ate delicious meals, watched movies, visited and laughed with friends and family, had the best nights’ sleep in a hospital possible. We’ve also wept the death of our first born son, grieved with our friends and family, gathered to pray, and had many sleepless nights. While we would never choose this story to live through, as we’re sure most people staying at the RMHC would agree, the Ronald McDonald House has played a vital role in our story and we couldn’t be more thankful for how they have enabled us to remain together as a family through the good and bad times. We’re hoping to go home in the next month or so with our son Ryder. We will never be able to express all the things we’ve experienced at the RMH; however, the sense of “home” it provides and the everyday worries it relieves while going through the hardest months of our lives is invaluable and is so deeply appreciated by our family.