During this holiday season it is so very difficult to not think of those who have been there for you, supported you, and helped you in the most trying and difficult times of your life. This holiday season my family and I are so very thankful for the Ronald McDonald House and all the helpful, caring, generous staff that keep the house going.
I, Natalia (mom), am primarily home full time with my two daughters and a full time college student, taking online courses in hopes to become a future elementary school teacher, while Jonathan (dad), works a full time and part time job. We, at the time, have two daughters, Jaylene, our oldest and Ariana, our youngest. To our surprise in October of 2021 my family and I discovered that we were growing from a family of four to five. My pregnancy was going absolutely fine or ‘normal’ until late December, I started to experience some complications but nothing that was highly concerning. It was at 26 weeks gestation on Wednesday March 23, 2022, mid afternoon when I began feeling very sick and had immense pain. Jonathan rushed me to Good Samaritan hospital where my medical team discovered I was beginning to have premature labor contractions; at this time my care was handed over to Westchester Medical Center as my pregnancy had become high risk because there were many factors playing into a possible premature birth predicted to occur within six to ten weeks. Exactly six and a half weeks later at 32 weeks gestation I began to undergo premature pregnancy contractions once again. This time my medical team exhausted all measures to try to stop the premature labor and birth however it remained unsuccessful, resulting in an emergency cesarean section delivery (this would be cesarean number three for me), and the birth of my beautiful baby boy, weighing four pounds four ounces.
At the time of his birth he encountered complications as most premature babies do. I was not able to see my son for almost 24 hours after delivery because he was in the NICU and I had just received a major operation to deliver my baby safely,
It was so hard being discharged from the hospital and not being able to take our baby boy home with us, it was even harder leaving him and not knowing how he was doing every second of the day, not being able to feed him, hold him, touch him, change his diapers and listen to his newborn cry. It was difficult seeing our baby with so many tubes and wires. Being about 25 miles away, and not being able to be closer to our son was harder than I could have ever imagined. Family encouraged me to focus on my recovery. How could I when all I can think of is our son’s health and critical care. Going and visiting late nights after dad got home from work for about an hour or two, leaving never got easier. One day I rang the bell of Ronald McDonald House, and opened the door a house staff member, Celeste, with open arms and a big smile she brought me into the house and is very attentive to my family’s current situation. Which at this exact moment, on this exact day we were actually visiting our son in the NICU with our two daughters who were not allowed into the hospital due to COVID. We laid the seats to our car flat so that way the girls could have some space to sit and play comfortably outside their car seats, so they would entertain themselves from ourtrunk as dad and I would take turns going in to visit the baby. Celeste was able to get us on the list to potentially have a room to stay on hospital grounds, footsteps away from the NICU, footsteps away from our son!
Our family spent exactly 30 days in the Ronald McDonald house. Our daughters had a hard time leaving home. However not a day went by that the staff at the Ronald McDonald house did not make my daughters feel right at home, with soft plush to hold and cuddle close, fun activity games and coloring books, warm meals for lunch and dinner, tasty, sweet breakfast items and snacks too and warm hot Chocolate chip cookies baked by Celeste that my daughters will never forget. The Ronald McDonald house also made us feel safe with locked and secure entrances, house staff members around the clock. Our health was also at the top of their priority list, all that entered the house were required and asked to wear a mask, and there were required daily health and temperature checks to ensure no one in the house was ill. The Ronald McDonald staff always made sure that if my family needed anything at all they would make sure that we didn’t have to worry about anything other than the health of our baby in the NICU, they took care of the rest and they sure did. My family and I will forever be grateful for the Ronald McDonald house, what they were able to do for my family is something that I will never forget and always try my best to give back.
Going into the Ronald McDonald house I felt that it was going to be like staying at a hotel, this was no hotel, it’s a home, a family, The Ronald McDonald House Family.
– The Jones Family