On November 21, 2012, I went into labor with my first baby—the night before Thanksgiving. I was in labor all of Thanksgiving and the next day. A few years ago, I had broken my tailbone, and this injury made child labor delivery very difficult. Finally, I delivered my baby girl, Clare. Overall, I was in labor for 42 hours before I finally delivered her. I was beyond exhausted and so was my baby. She was born with a strong heartbeat but otherwise unresponsive and very lethargic. Clare was admitted into the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at St. Mary’s Hospital Evansville for five days after birth.
Even though I was still exhausted, I was discharged from the hospital before Clare, so the best times to visit Clare was during feeding times, which occur every three hours in the NICU. Otherwise, it was best not to disturb or hold Clare, for she needed her rest. I also needed rest but desperately wanted to see her and feed her during meal times. The hospital waiting rooms were not comfortable enough for me in my state of health. Therefore, my husband and I stayed in the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) for three days. This was extremely helpful for us because the RMH is basically located in the parking lot of the hospital. If we would have stayed in a hotel, we would have had to stay across town and spent most of our time driving back and forth for every three-hour feeding.
The Ronald McDonald House was nicer than most hotel rooms and had kitchens. We were able to make coffee and use the facilities for mealtimes.Our room was private, clean, extremely comfortable, and felt like home. I slept very well there. We paid a nominal nightly fee to cover the room key. I am very grateful for this charity because it allowed me to be close to Clare and not stay in a hotel across town. I could only see Clare for a few minutes every three hours, so as one could imagine, I would have spent all of my time driving from the hotel to the hospital or trying to sleep in a chair in the hospital lobby.
I am thankful for RMH now because it was a HUGE relief to stay so close to Clare. Several volunteers also make RMH run, so I am thankful for their hard work as well. Since my visit, I have chosen to support RMH financially and have had fundraisers for them at my workplace. I encourage people to remember RMH for their charitable work that helps families stay closer together.
We all probably know how a comfortable place to sleep can help during a stressful situation.
-Keary, Michael and Clare Wilson