Nothing prepares you for having a sick baby. Those are two words you never want to hear together. Unfortunately, those were some of the first words we heard after our son Freddie was born. He came out floppy and blue and had to be resuscitated. Shortly afterwards, the doctors confirmed he needed to be transferred from Guelph General to the NICU at McMaster Children’s Hospital. We were devastated and in shock. I should’ve been holding him in my arms, enjoying skin-to-skin and figuring out breastfeeding. Instead, we were heading down highway 6 to the children’s hospital in Hamilton.
My husband and I had actually met at McMaster University. It was surreal thinking of how our love story had started just steps away and then we found ourselves almost 15 years later at the children’s hospital, praying that our first child would survive.
When we arrived at the NICU we were introduced to a social worker who told us about Ronald McDonald House. At that point we didn’t really know much about the House. We recalled walking past it during our time at university since it’s just across the street from the campus. All those years ago we had no idea what that place really was and how much it would mean to us now.
Thanks to RMHCSCO, there is a place where parents like us can be supported when they are dealing with all the emotions of having a sick child, and not to mention all of the hospital visits and meetings with doctors and nurses. Figuring out where to eat or sleep was the last thing we wanted to think about. We were just trying to put one foot in front of the other as we walked back & forth from RMHCSCO to the NICU. That was all we could manage. So to say that we needed RMHCSCO is such an understatement. There really are no words that can accurately describe it. But I will attempt to do so and help you understand the importance of your donations.
Instead of going back and forth between Hamilton and Guelph, spending hours in the car driving an exhausting commute, we were able to rest in a comfortable bed, take warm showers and eat home-cooked meals just a 5 minute walk away. The staff and volunteers at RMHCSCO were so incredibly kind and supportive. Each time we went back to RMHCSCO, we were nourished and re-energized. Because of RMHCSCO we could muster up the courage to face another day in the NICU. Staying close to the hospital meant that we could spend more time with our son. We were right there by his side, talking to him, holding his hand and finally holding him in our arms, as much as possible.
We truly believe that because we were able to spend so much time snuggling with our son and doing skin-to-skin with him that he recovered quickly. In the end he spent just 2 weeks in the NICU so we didn’t stay that long at RMHCSCO compared to some other families. However, the early days are critical days for a newborn and they need to know they are loved and that their family is there for them. Thanks to RMHCSCO we could do that for our son.
Freddie is now 7 years old and is full of life, and is adored by his younger brother Henry. We are honoured to be part of the Pay It Forward FUNdraiser this year so that we can help other families get through the tough time of having a sick child in the hospital. Thank you for helping keep families together when they need each other the most.
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