“We didn’t have any warning that I was going into labor it just happened, so we were just so in love with her when we saw her we didn’t have time to be scared about her journey ahead,” said Katie, a new mom staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus from Cambridge, Ohio.
Morgan was born at twenty-three months and two weeks gestation and, since the moment she entered this world five months ago, she’s been in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. First at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, where she was born, then a week later at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital NICU. A social worker at Riverside requested a room for Morgan’s mom and dad, Katie and Devin, at the Ronald McDonald House across the street from the hospital where Morgan was getting care. Katie was discharged from Riverside while Morgan transported to the children’s hospital for tests and where her care would continue. “It was a very rough day,” Katie recalls. “We had just left her for the first time – she was still at Riverside – and her doctor called us to tell us about her brain bleed which was unexpected on our end. So honestly, we didn’t look at much of the house or remember much other than that call and headed straight back to the hospital.”
Now, Morgan has been seeing a lot of medical teams while in the hospital. Katie praised the hospital experts helping her grow, listing them off. “She has her neonatologists and nurse practitioners that see her every day, neurosurgery – who now check on her monthly for her grade 4 brain bleed, which has been stable – and an intestinal support team, who follow her for her bowel. She has had her normal occupational/physical therapist, music therapy, massage therapy…”
It takes a lot of work by a lot of professionals to keep a baby alive initially, then more to help that baby progress day by day. While the doctors & nurses at the hospital work to get Morgan to the point where she can leave the hospital, her parents Katie & Devin rearranged their lives to support her through virtually every waking moment of their lives. A lifestyle change Katie says couldn’t be done without being able to stay across the street at the Ronald McDonald House. “It allows us to be at her bedside from early in the morning until late at night to be there to take care of her as much as we can and also feel comfortable being close enough to get some sleep at night.”
Katie added that it’s tough to be away from her daughter as she struggles with medical issues, so being just a few hundred step from her room makes all the difference. “It has been such a blessing! We didn’t have time to think about where we’d be staying it all happened so fast, let alone resources to pay a hotel or rent a place to stay up here as long as we have been. I’ve never left since she’s been born and my husband went back to work after 6 weeks. I am so happy that I am just right across the street from her. I’m not someone who can sleep in the hospital, so it is a place for me to go and recharge for a little bit before I head back over to spend time with our daughter. They provide food so we didn’t have to waste time at first going to the store when all that we wanted to do was be with our daughter. Being able to do laundry has been fantastic as well I can’t tell you what we’d do without the laundry being available. We don’t spend much time at the house but it is nice that we have somewhere to go for a break but also not be too far for comfort from our daughter.”
Katie & Devin are looking forward to taking their daughter back home to Cambridge, Ohio. But, during this month of gratitude, they want to make sure donors of money & time to the House know they are thankful for these investments in the future of their family an so many others. “It helps to take extra stress off us during the most stressful time of our lives and lets us focus on our daughter and her healing and development. I don’t think I can truly put into words all the blessings this house has meant to us. They were able to get us in so quickly and easily we truly could just focus on our daughter and not worry about anything else. All the staff and volunteers are always friendly! It’s so refreshing to encounter friendly faces all the time here.”
Friendly faces she hopes to see again, even after her daughter’s journey leads them all back home.