The Ouellettes were thrilled when they found out they were expecting their fist child. With a son due on December 31st, the family was prepared to experience the best Christmas present they could have ever imagined. Thinking they had plenty of time to prepare, Rob and Erin were taking their time getting everything ready. To their surprise, their holiday gift would be coming early…
Erin had been experiencing a strong pain in her back. Living in McGregor, ON, Rob took his wife to the nearby Windsor hospital on September 18th. After being admitted, medical staff determined in addition to having preeclampsia (specifically elevated blood pressure), her placenta had also stopped providing nutrients to the baby. Feeling ill and drained of energy, Erin was transferred to London Health Sciences Centre where medical staff could better monitor her and the baby.
After arriving in London doctors expected the baby to have another month to grow, but the baby had other plans. On September 21st little Jackson entered the world at 25 weeks, weighing just 1 lbs 5 oz. After giving birth, Erin remained in hospital and Rob was staying with her bedside—spending his nights sleeping (or at least tying to sleep) in the pull out chair. It was on September 25th when Rob came over to stay at Ronald McDonald House Southwestern Ontario. As he explains
Sleep wasn't possible in the hospital room—I was constantly waking up from the beeping, footsteps in the hallway and from just being uncomfortable. When I came to the House it was amazing to have a comfy bed and a private space to shower.
As mom began feeling better she also made the move over to the House. She and Rob would wake up every morning, grab a coffee and homemade muffin in the dining area before heading over to the hospital to spend time with Jackson. Often they would receive phone calls in the middle of the night from medical staff asking them to come to the hospital immediately, and by staying at the House they were always there in 2 minutes flat. Erin recollects “ Not only was everything taken care of, even homemade dinners that saved us from having to spend extra money, but the proximity to the hospital was such a Godsend.” When a parent has a preemie it is very important that they spend as much time as possible with their newborn while they gain strength in-hospital. Without having a “home away from home” this would have involved having to stay in hotel, pay for daily parking at the hospital and a number of other expenses that would have added up quickly.
Jackson had spent 32 days in LHSC Children’s Hospital, taking the time he needed to gain his strength. The family was very fortunate that he was a “healthy” preemie and just needed time to grow and have his lungs develop. During this time Erin and Rob spent 28 nights at Ronald McDonald House where they were able to focus all their energy on being there for their son. On October 23rd Jackson was transferred back to Windsor were he would need to stay for at least 3 more weeks, and Erin and Rob were able to return back home to McGregor. Now, instead of expecting their baby to arrive after the holiday, they hope to have Jackson home for his first Christmas!
Sept 17, 2015 from Erin Ouellette:
Jackson turns one on Monday. He is crawling all over the place and saying "mama" all day and all night! He's trying to walk as well. He is the happiest little boy who's been amazing us and all of his doctors by hitting all his milestones. He's our miracle!
Our three programs, RMH London, RMH Windsor and the RM Family Room London were able to provide supportive services to 4,517 families with sick kids.
RMHC-SWO provided 15,990 nights of comfort to families keeping them close to their child’s specialized medical care.
Each night a family stays close at RMH it is estimated they save $183 on accommodations, meals and other home comforts.
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