We are the Roeder family from St. Clements, Ontario and we are honoured to be able to share our story with you. Our family of 3 consists of myself, Lynsey Roeder (mom), Justin Roeder (dad), and Layton Roeder.
Layton was born on January 7, 2022, weighing 1.6 lbs born at 25 weeks gestation to the day. As a result of Layton being born early so underdeveloped, she was classified as a micro preemie and diagnosed with chronic lung disease.
Justin and I stayed at Ronald McDonald House South Central Ontario (RMHC SCO) for a total of 81 days following the birth of Layton. Our stay was a bit delayed since Covid-19 had been going through the house at the time. During this time, Justin and I stayed in a local hotel for 16 days before getting a room at RMHSC. Just for reference so you can understand the benefits of RMH SCO, we paid approximately double in 16 days staying in a hotel than we did in the 81 days at the RMH. Since we lived just over an hour away from McMaster Children’s Hospital, commuting back and forth was not a feasible option for us. RMH SCO kept us close to Layton so we could be there for her every step of the way. It also allowed us to properly advocate for her, and not fall into a financial hardship. It’s because of all the RMH generous donors, we were kept warm, safe, and fed at the end of each day.
Unfortunately, Layton was at high risk to be born preterm due to me having a multi fibroid uterus. Luckily, I was being monitored as high risk with this being known. Also, later finding out I had a short cervix as well. At 22 weeks and 6 days gestation we were admitted to McMaster Children's Hospital after finding out I was 3 cm dilated. I was placed on bed rest to try and prevent going into labour. During this time, we had several frightening conversations with doctors about the survival of Layton if I went into labour at this gestational age, what a preemie looks like, and the complications they will most likely have.
Layton held on for approximately two weeks which made survival percentage a bit stronger.
On January 7, 2022, Layton made her big entrance into this world. She gave a little cry and a wiggle, so delayed cord clamping was possible, and off she went in a plastic bag. Sounds scary, and that it was, but it was necessary as it kept her little body warm. From there, she was placed in her “home”, an incubator. Approximately 6 hours later, we officially met her for the first time.
Being a first-time parent, you don't realize how different having a baby in the NICU is. Your dreams of what having a baby is like look a bit different - there’s no holding your baby right away, no being wheeled back to your room with them in hand, no time to take those quick photos... the “no's” are endless.
In the next few months, Layton sustained 3 major infections. First a lung infection, then a blood infection, and finally, a stomach infection.
Since Layton's lungs were so underdeveloped, they kept collapsing. In order to keep them inflated, she was intubated and extubated several times over a 4-month period. This posed concerns for her eyes later in life, but was necessary to keep her alive.
The blood infection, although unknown how it happened, required antibiotics to resolve itself. Due to all blood work and low hemoglobin, Layton had to get a total of 7 blood transfusions.
The stomach infection came later, which gave us a scare that surgery might be required. Layton underwent a lower GI but nothing concerning was observed!
As a result of all the infections, Layton started on tube feeding, then stopped to control infections, before starting again. Layton was given donor breast milk until my supply came in which we were so grateful for. Since Layton was slowly given my breast milk through tube feeding, I was able to donate over 40,000 mls of breast milk to Preemies in need!
Finally, on April 30, 2022, Layton was discharged to embark on her life at home and go for her very first car ride!
Layton's hospital stay was a total of 114 days. I don’t know what we would have done without RMH. If not for this wonderful place, families would spend less time together, suffer financial hardship, and not have the added support needed during the most difficult and challenging time in their lives. RMH takes out a lot of the additional thinking and planning families from far away have to deal with, on top of coping with having a child in the NICU. Another benefit to living at RMH was that we made lifelong friends from different parts of Ontario that we may not have ever met. We felt all the love the house provides, including the homemade meals, little gifts left at the door, and birthday celebrations, just to name a few.
We had heard about RMH in the past but never would have understood the impact it has on families without staying there. We will be forever grateful to this place, the wonderful staff, volunteers, and thoughtfulness provided during our stay. We will never be able to repay what was given to us during this uncertain time but are forever thankful. We truly believe that when families stay close, sick children get better!
Layton is a true miracle! She recently celebrated her first birthday and is beautiful and thriving.
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