Thomason Twins’ Parents Celebrate Ronald McDonald Family Room’s 1 Year Anniversary by Sharing Their Story

By Erika Thomason

The Thomason Twins

Our little adventure started April 16th at 6:27am and 6:29am when our little precious babies entered the world very eager at 26 weeks gestation. Our son, Reid weighed 2lbs 3.5 ounces and our daughter, Raelyn weighed 1lb 15 ounces at birth.

We had many visitors that first week of our twins’ lives and sometimes too many to fit in my recovery room. We were very fortunate to have access to the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital to allow some of our guests to hang out, grab some coffee and give others time to visit.

Our kids continued to grow and reach so many milestones. While most children are born with the ability to suck, swallow, and eat on their own, we have had the opportunity to watch our kids fight for breath with a furrowed concentration that was immediately followed by relief, as they taught themselves to do something that the rest of us take for granted. Not many parents are fortunate enough to watch their children achieve these types of milestones.

Our children were born 14 weeks early, which means we have had a long journey ahead of us here at the Riverside Hospital. The Ronald McDonald Family Room has been such a blessing for so many reasons during our daily visits to the hospital. I pack my lunch most days and the Family Room allows me to store my food in the fridge. They provide snacks and water everyday and during my long hours at the hospital (usually 9:30am to 10pm) I am in desperate need for little snacks. The room has also allowed me to get away from all the beeps of the hospital room, to take a break, to sit down in some comfy chairs and just give my mind a break.

The volunteers have really become friends and I look forward to seeing who is working that day or afternoon. They are all so friendly and welcoming and so helpful. Recently, my son got to come home and I bring him to the Ronald McDonald Family Room at the hospital for lunch and the ladies are soooo happy to see him and always offer help to cooking my food for me, holding my baby and I just enjoy their company so much throughout the visits.

The Family Room has offered some fun things for the moms of the NICU and High Risk such as a Thirty-One Gifts party that gave some great goodies for the mothers. The room has offered free beauty nights with volunteers coming in to style hair.

Another piece that we love about the room is Pizza Night for the NICU families. It’s a meeting that takes place twice a month for NICU parents to get together, share what is going on, a place to lean on one another or to have many laughs. My husband and I have made good friends throughout these nights and we are always looking forward to that next Wednesday.

Our journey in the NICU is hopefully coming to an end as my daughter is eating more and more consistently. We have been here for 86 days. The nurses have been absolutely amazing to our children. We really are so grateful for the opportunity to learn to take care of our children in the NICU as it has really prepared us to be better parents at home.

My husband and I really want to thank Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio for everything they provide not only for our families, but for so many other families. They offer laundry, showers, play area for kids, meals and so much more for families at the Ronald McDonald Family Room here at Riverside Methodist Hospital. The volunteer staff is absolutely wonderful and we will cherish all the delightful conversations with the people who keep the room operating to provide families comfort and a chance to feel a bit at home.

 

Editor’s Note: The Ronald McDonald Family Room wouldn’t be able to provide a place for families to recharge just steps from the patient’s room over the last year without it’s volunteer staff. If you would like to learn about how you can volunteer at our family room, email program manager Vicki.Chappelear@rmhc-centralohio.org.

Kathy & Bill stand in the kitchen area of The Ronald McDonald Family Room. The couple has volunteered with The Family Room from it’s start one year ago this week.