"The Ronald McDonald House helped us at a time when I had little left to give"
Rachael and Kirsten’s first child, Scarlett, was conceived by IVF four years ago. She is bright, bubbly and adorable. To complete their family, the couple decided to try for another child, again using IVF. This second child was conceived using the same donors, both mum and dad, which technically means that the children are non-identical twins. Rachael told us their emotional story:
“My pregnancy was hard and complicated from day one. It was my fourth round of IVF, and was going to be my last attempt, so we were thrilled when this time it was successful.
However at 8 weeks I had a bleed and was told that I had been pregnant with twins but that one of them had not survived. I also suffered from further bleeds along the line but they turned out to be false alarms. I continued to carry my baby until 26 weeks when I was admitted to our local hospital and was told that I was suffering from Pre-eclampsia. This is a condition that relates to high blood pressure and often results in early delivery and can, if left untreated, have dire results for both baby and mum.
Luckily, the amazing doctors and nurses managed to keep me stabilised for another five weeks, despite the fact that Freddie was also suffering from intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). This resulted in Freddie being delivered by C-section at 31 weeks.
After the birth I had sepsis in the womb and was unable to see Freddie for the first four days. But slowly I recovered and was able to visit our amazing baby boy. The following weeks were some of the most trying weeks of our lives but our miracle boy just kept fighting.
When we finally went home I was so scared and relieved at the same time. Then Freddie was readmitted to hospital, just a week after coming home, and I felt my world crumbling down again. I really was on the edge at that point. I had not seen my daughter in 9 days, I couldn't pick up my son and I never really saw Kirsten.
The Ronald McDonald House helped us at a time when I had little left to give. I honestly don't think I would have made it with my sanity without them. It meant I could have a warm shower, eat at a table and have a nap in a bed. But more importantly it meant my family could be together, I could take Scarlett to play in the garden, sit and read bedtime stories to her, all the normal things she was missing out on.
Kirsten and I could take it in turns to stay with Freddie on the ward while the other actually slept and recharged. But it also meant we could speak to other people going through the same feelings as us.
It truly is an amazing place with incredible staff. I honestly think it saved me when I was at my lowest so I thank them for the work they do and will never forget their kindness and words can't really express how grateful I am for their support.”