Our son Levi was born December 20th, 2016 at Yale New Haven Hospital. He was born with a recessed chin and cleft palate. We were told he would need to stay in the NICU, until he could have his first surgery to bring out his chin. This would ensure his breathing issues would be corrected.
My husband Tom and I live about one hour away from the hospital. I was out of work due to having the baby and my husband was laid off from his job at the time. We knew making the daily commute would not be an option due to the amount of money we would be spending on fuel. But, we also knew that Yale was the best hospital in that area for our son to receive the care he needed. We voiced our concerns to the hospital; we told them that we were concerned that we would not be able to see him as much as we would like. Staying at a hotel was out of the question because we simply just did not have the funds. That is when a social worker at the hospital recommended the Ronald McDonald House.
I will admit, at first we were a bit hesitant but as soon as we checked in, all of our worries went out the window. We were kindly greeted by the staff and they took us on a tour of the house. They showed us to our room. They were kind, courteous and made us feel welcomed right away.
The Ronald McDonald House is truly a “home away from home.” The staff is so caring and they all understand that dealing with a child in the NICU takes a toll on the parent. On more than one occasion, I have sat down with a staff member in the kitchen over coffee and told them our story. They try to cheer us up when they know we have just returned from a tough visit with Levi. They want to hear all about our visits good or bad. The point I am trying to make is, they get it. They know that a family staying at the house is going through something difficult and they do everything they can to make it better. The staff has created a positive and comfortable atmosphere while we are here.
Levi still has a long road ahead of him to recovery and will have a few more surgeries to overcome in the future, but he is doing well. We have the Ronald McDonald House staff and volunteers to thank for helping us get through this bump in the road and for taking such good care of us. I would highly recommend the Ronald McDonald Charity to anyone that is willing to donate. They truly do great things!
The Stanis Family