In August 2020, our lives changed forever when Ellie, our first baby girl, came into the world. She brought immense joy and love to our family. Eager to expand our family, we were overjoyed when we learned I was pregnant with our second child, Norah. However, routine blood work revealed low levels of a hormone called PAPPA-A, which raised concerns about preterm labor. Hoping for a full-term healthy baby, we crossed our fingers, but at 26 weeks, my water broke. Our fears became a reality.
With a rush of panic, we made our way to St. Catharines Hospital, where it was confirmed that Norah would require specialized care at McMaster. Our precious Norah, weighing only 1lb 8oz, entered the world via emergency C-section. We knew we had a long and challenging road ahead.
During this trying time, we discovered Ronald McDonald House Charities South Central Ontario (RMHC SCO). Our social worker, Beth, introduced us to the comforting haven provided by RMHC for families like ours. It was a place where we could find respite from the NICU's overwhelming stress, enjoy home-cooked meals, and briefly escape the constant beeping of monitors. RMHC SCO became our refuge, a place we could stay for as long as we needed during Norah's journey.
As a family from Welland, with Ellie waiting for us at home, we faced the heart-wrenching task of balancing our time between McMaster and our other responsibilities. Without RMHC SCO, we would have had to make difficult decisions about whether we could be by Norah's side each day. The option to stay at RMHC SCO lifted that burden and provided us with a safety net during challenging moments or inclement weather.
Staying at RMHC SCO brought a sense of togetherness and support we will always treasure. We connected with other parents going through similar experiences, sharing our stories, frustrations, and triumphs. This unexpected support system made supporting our sick child a little bit easier. It reminded us that we were not alone and brought out the strength and resilience we needed as parents.
Among the cherished memories of our time at RMHC, one stands out vividly. On our first night, Ellie had trouble sleeping, overwhelmed by the new surroundings. Taking a walk downstairs, we were met by a kind woman at the front desk who brought a smile to Ellie's face and eased her worries. We explored the House, made new friends, and immersed ourselves in the captivating fish tank—Ellie's favorite part.
Fundraisers and donations mean the world to families like ours who have stayed at a Ronald McDonald House. They provide vital support and enable RMHC to continue its incredible mission of helping families in their most trying times. We are forever grateful for the generosity of those who contribute, knowing firsthand the impact it has on families facing medical challenges.
Our deepest thanks go to Ronald McDonald House Charities for providing us with a home away from home during our most challenging days. The love, care, and support we received from the staff, volunteers, and fellow families will forever hold a special place in our hearts. By sharing our story, we hope others will understand the profound difference RMHC makes in the lives of families like ours.
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