When the doctor says, “We have to take the baby now…”
When the baby weighs barely one pound at birth — when she’s only 11 inches long… When Mom is discharged from the hospital, but little Scarlett Grace has to stay behind in NICU, fighting for her life…
No, it wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. Bethany and her husband had tried and tried to have a baby, and when she finally became pregnant, they were thrilled. It was so much fun to spring the surprise on their families! They even threw a grand Christmas Eve gender-reveal party.
But Bethany developed severe complications. The baby somehow wasn’t receiving the nutrients she needed to grow properly. Two weeks after the party, Bethany found herself being rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section. Scarlett Grace would have to stay in the hospital, learning to breathe on her own, learning to take a bottle — even maintaining her body temperature was a huge challenge.
And the day soon came when mom and dad would have to leave the hospital. “Until you have to experience it,” Bethany says, “you have no idea the awful, gut-wrenching, guilty feeling you get from leaving your newborn baby in the hospital.”
Their home was far away. The commute would be rough. But Bethany’s doctor told her about Ronald McDonald House. Scarlett Grace needed countless transfusions, medical tests, two surgeries: She was in the hospital for a seemingly endless 189 days. But Mom and Dad were close at hand, thanks to you, making Ronald McDonald House available to them.
“The Ronald McDonald House made it so much more bearable,” Bethany says. “I can’t imagine how different this time would’ve been without it. Every morning and every night, when I went through the Ronald McDonald House doors, I was always greeted with a warm smile. The people who work there are so genuine, always asking how Scarlett was progressing and how we were doing. When you’re going through a difficult time in your life, it means so much to be surrounded by friendly, caring people.”
And the day finally came when their feisty little miracle rolled out of the hospital! Today, she’s a year old. Eating, smiling, giggling. She has a future! Scarlett Grace’s first year was “nothing like I’ve ever experienced before,” Bethany says; but it was “an experience that I believe made my husband and I stronger,” one they will never forget. “I’ll also never forget the amazing Ronald McDonald House, and the people who were there when we needed them most.”