It was an absolute godsend at a horrendous time in our lives.
When baby Lydia was born on 4 April 2013 at Sheffield Jessop Hospital, mum Jane Cowen and husband Lee White, from Totley, Sheffield, were delighted. Mum and Dad were looking forward to taking home their little girl the following day.
However, when a student midwife carried out a routine examination on baby Lydia, she was alarmed to find her an unusual blue colour. After emergency tests, doctors quickly diagnosed Lydia with a disorder called Pulmonary Valve Stenosis – when the pulmonary valve does not open properly and affects the blood flow to the body.
Doctors told Jane and Lee that to save Lydia’s life, she needed to be operated on immediately. Lydia was rushed to Birmingham Children’s hospital - 90 miles from Sheffield – where there was a free bed.
Lydia was taken to ICU and the parents were told that they would need to look for accommodation. That night, they stayed in a nearby hotel which cost £80 and they worried about how they would afford a long-stay. Being apart from their baby was not an option.
Lydia had her heart operation at one day old and thankfully, it went to plan. At this point, a nurse on ICU told the family about the Ronald McDonald House and that he would organise a room for them. They moved in that day and stayed for three weeks whilst Lydia underwent one more surgery and recuperated.
Jane says, “Ronald McDonald House Birmingham was an absolute godsend at a horrendous time in our lives. We would never have been able to afford hotel accommodation for three weeks and the House took away that stress. But it was more than that, it was cathartic, we found it so comforting to talk to families who were going through the same thing as us.”
Lydia will still be under the hospital’s care until she’s a teen but she is doing excellently. She is a lovely, bright girl with bundles of energy.