"We were able to be together over Christmas"

Guest Blog: Lee Burlton

On 29 September 2014 unbeknown to my wife Lisa and I our world was about to change drastically. Lisa was pregnant with our twin daughters Molly and Maisy and was 25 weeks in to a perfectly textbook pregnancy.  At about three o clock in the morning it was clear that things had taken a turn for the worse and we were rushed to the Princess Royal Hospital in West Sussex where she shortly gave birth to our baby girls. Both Molly and Maisy weighed in at 1lb 6oz and required ventilating and serious life support.  They were soon transferred to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit and the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton.  It was soon evident that it was going to be many months before they would be in any state to come home and be with their elder sisters Ellie and Ruby.  Life was about to get very tough with two sick premature babies in hospital and two older children aged six and three at home who needed to go to school and be taken care of too.

Whilst on the Baby Unit I was informed that a room had been arranged for us at Ronald McDonald House Brighton across the street and that I should pop over and meet the staff for a tour and pick up a key. I had no idea what was going on to be fair and certainly had no idea that this was to be the home of Lisa and I for the next five months.  To our amazement, we were given a room free of charge with comfy beds, shower, and a TV. We were told that it was our room for as long as we needed it.  I can’t begin to tell you what a relief this was.  It meant that at least one of us was able to be at the hospital at all times. 

This turned out to be probably the most important offer of help we have ever and will ever receive in our lives.

On 3 October we tragically had to say goodbye to our daughter Molly, as her prematurity had led to a number of complications which she was unable to overcome. However thanks to Ronald McDonald House Brighton we were able to be there for Molly and spend her last moments with her in a private room without machines, wires and other parents around. We have final memories of Molly that we are able to cherish, despite the sadness of the occasion. These are memories that we would never have had if we had not been staying at Ronald McDonald House Brighton.

Molly’s surviving twin sister Maisy continued to make slow progress despite the odds being stacked against her for many months. During her stay in hospital and our stay at Ronald McDonald House Brighton we saw two family birthdays pass, along with Christmas 2014 and New Year.  Due to the house we were able to be together over Christmas with Maisy when things would have otherwise been nearly impossible! Without them helping us be at Maisy’s bedside every day she would not have made the progress she did. Without them we would not have made the special friends that we now consider the staff to be. Most importantly though is the fact that the House kept my family TOGETHER.

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