11 Feb Wing Family Story
Three months before our little Levi was born, we found out he had a hole in his diaphragm which allowed some of his bowel to crowd the left side of his chest cavity, a condition called Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. He was going to need surgery shortly after birth. Our doctors wanted us to be close to the hospital for at least a month before his due date. When you live in Northeast Oregon you are not close to much, so we started to make plans to move to Boise for a month before his birth and then stay there for an unknown time, 2-4 months, in the NICU. So, we brought our 19-foot camper trailer to stay in pre-birth and planned to stay at the Ronald McDonald House after he was born. I should probably mention Levi’s big sister, Hazel. She, like most 2-year-olds, is an unstoppable force of nature. So, there we are in our trailer, in January, without running water in the parking lot 50 yards behind the Ronald McDonald House waiting for Levi with our active toddler. I should also mention the amazing staff of the Boise YMCA for the countless hours of swimming pool time and gloriously endless hot showers.
The Ronald McDonald House became a character in our story long before we moved in. It was a place of light and warmth and kind people even when viewed from the outside. When it was time for Levi to make an appearance, an event accelerated by all of us catching COVID, we knew we could finally move into the House after quarantining. Levi was rushed off to the NICU, Hazel went to stay with her grandparents for a week, mom was in the hospital isolation room, and I was in the trailer in the parking lot. On day five in this world, Levi had his surgery to fix the hole in his diaphragm. The surgeon was very pleased with how everything went. He would still be on a ventilator and need constant care for awhile, but he was able to heal with correct anatomy. Mom was able to move in upon discharge while Hazel and I had to wait out our quarantine before we could move in, but after a few days we were all able to be together again.
Hazel was super excited to be in the House and what a place it is for a little kid. An entire playground outside, toys of all kinds in the playroom, lots of fish to talk to and so many people to turn into friends. Mom was thrilled not to be living in a trailer with a toddler, and I was amazed at the selection and 24/7 availability of cookies! As the days turned to weeks, we got to know the staff, a team of people who deeply care and whose mission truly was to provide a safe and supportive place for my family. Walking through the front door on our way back from some adventure Hazel and I would be welcomed by the staff with huge smiles and would often sit and chat for a while. It was just so darn great to have that unwavering support; we will forever be grateful. All the while Levi was recovering and getting stronger faster than we had expected. Everyday nothing but good news and we were able to be there for him every step of the way without worrying about anything except him. Finally, after 28 days in the NICU and a full month before we had dared to hope, Levi was discharged from the NICU and cleared to go home. Now Levi is a very happy and chunky 6-month-old who adores his sister.
The support extended far beyond the walls of RMH to the entire Boise area as everyday groups of people volunteered their time and energy to help with the mission of supporting families of children at the hospital. It was truly awesome to see the greater community come together to support and hold up an organization that provides a rock-solid base during such uncertain and stressful times. To be so close to the hospital in an environment so welcoming and supportive was a true blessing to our family.
~ Wing Family | Joseph, OR | 27 Nights at the House
Help provide a home away from home for more families like the Wing family!
For only $10, you can give families of ill or injured children a home away from home by providing a night stay at the Idaho Ronald McDonald House. Families are asked to contribute $10 per night, but no family is ever turned away because they cannot pay.