The Ellis Family, with twins in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at HSHS St. John's Children's Hospital.
After a very complicated obstetric history and subsequent losses our twins decided it was time to arrive, despite being 2 months early. Having experienced previous preterm complications, we knew what we were up against.
With over six months of bedrest that had resulted in severe muscle atrophy coupled with one twin delivering and the other twin being a c-section, I found normal daily activities such as standing for a short period of time and walking to be exhausting. It would have been impossible for me to commute 2 hours round trip to visit our babies we had longed for over many years. The nurses suggested we contact the Ronald McDonald House®, which was a true blessing.
Out of all of our trials, it was so comforting to know one thing we would not have to worry about was where we were going to stay while our daughters were in the hospital. We found the Ronald McDonald House to be one form of constant comfort in a time we felt so emotionally vulnerable due to our daughters being premature. It is extremely difficult to enter the hospital with babies and leave empty armed, a feeling we knew all too well from previous complications. But this time we had hope we would eventually leave with both our arms and hearts full. This feeling of emptiness we had felt before was fulfilled by the comfort the Ronald McDonald House offered from many different perspectives. First, we found so much comfort knowing we were just across the street from them. It was very reassuring to know we were minutes away if we were needed immediately. This eliminated a lot of mental anguish that resided within due to our obstetrical history. From a physical perspective, I was able to visit them far more frequently than I would have been able to if I had to commute.
It was very reassuring to know we were minutes away if we were needed immediately. This eliminated a lot of mental anguish that resided within due to our obstetrical history. From a physical perspective, I was able to visit them far more frequently than I would have been able to if I had to commute. - The Ellis Family
The Ellis Family in 2018
Those initial moments and days of bonding are irreplaceable, a time parents will never get back. I am forever thankful that Ronald McDonald House made every moment possible for us. Finally, from a financial perspective, we were so thankful for the generous donors who made it possible for us to stay, particularly since I had been on unpaid leave my entire pregnancy due to bedrest. The fabulous meals and food items donated by local businesses and community volunteers were greatly appreciated throughout the day and made the blessings seem even more abundant. They even had donated toiletry items since most parents, such as ourselves, end up at the house unexpectedly. The Ronald McDonald House and staff fostered a truly healing, peaceful and restful environment that welcomes and cares for families, so the families may provide care and focus all of their time and attention on their hospitalized child(ren). Their service to our community is truly priceless to those parents and families in their time of need. It was a tremendous relief to have the burdens of basic living needs met by complete strangers who suddenly became family.
We were fortunate that our daughters were discharged after a relatively short, fifteen day, stay in the hospital. As we departed the House, we knew we would return, but next time in order to give back. My husband and I have been guest chefs, both with co-workers and now with our daughters. Over the course of our daughters' upbringing, we have shared the important role Ronald McDonald House played in their arrival. After all it was our home for the first two weeks of our daughters’ lives. We have emphasized the importance of sharing our gratitude to the Ronald McDonald House so other parents can receive the same blessing. I am proud that both of our daughters have chosen to give of their time and talents to show their gratitude back to the House and honor other families who find themselves in need by serving on the Ronald McDonald House Teen Council. We remain forever grateful to Ronald McDonald House for making families a priority in central Illinois.
You can join in on Thursday, March 21, 2019 by texting HOUSE to 700-00 to give and spreading the word with #AllinforRonaldMcDonaldHouse