"It was amazing to have someone that totally understood what I was going through"
Mum Rachel found herself being transported to a new place far from home when she was in labour with twins Jake and George.
In February I was airlifted to Southampton from the Isle of Wight when I went into labour at just 25 weeks and 6 days.
My twin boys were born at the Princess Anne Hospital that very same night; Jake weighing just 790g and George weighing a slightly heavier 870g, but still both lighter than a bag of sugar. Because they were so small it meant my beautiful baby boys needed to stay in Hospital giving them the chance to get bigger and stronger. For me, this meant I also needed to stay in Southampton, away from my home and everything familiar. I was worried and scared.
For the last six months I have been staying at the Ronald McDonald House Southampton and I truly do not know what I would have done without it. Having a room at the House has meant that my husband Alan and our little girl Millie (age 20 months) have been able to stay too, keeping our family together and close to Jake and George.
Staying at the House has also helped me build important support networks and even some great friendships with other mums. At the start of our stay, I was lucky enough to meet Ashleigh, like me she also had a George in hospital and another child Freddie that’s the same age as Millie. We were both staying on the second floor and Millie and Freddie became the best of friends; we all had mealtimes together and they played for hours. It was great to see them both just being toddlers and for me, it was amazing to have someone that totally understood what I was going through. Having someone to chat to about our children or even just the day to day ‘stuff’ helped to keep our minds occupied and made our situation just that little bit easier. Thanks to donations from supporters of the Charity we have also had Easter eggs (which Millie and Freddie loved), a pamper party with face masks and relaxing massages, a PJ and pizza party and Ashleigh and I even got to go and see Grease at the Mayflower Theatre with another mum, Kerrie. The generosity of other people has been amazing.
Jake and George are now six months old. Jake came out of hospital a few weeks ago, in fact it was six days before his due date. He still needs oxygen but is able to live with us at the Southampton House too which is great. George still needs a little more time in hospital as he has floppy airways and so needed a tracheostomy. As a family we are learning to manage our new situation, a situation that I cannot even begin to imagine coping with had we not had the Southampton House and its staff to support us. We are potentially still a long way off of going home but thanks to Ronald McDonald House we know we have somewhere to stay for as long as we have a child in hospital and we know that they (along with their supporters) will look after us.
They are all our superheroes!