“I loved it there. It was so spacious and nice and immediately felt like home.” – Jennifer, RMHC Mom
Garrett Gunto was born 10 weeks early and weighed only 3 lbs. 4 oz. Twelve minutes after his birth, he was taken by ambulance to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at WVU Medicine Children’s. It was more than an hour away. His father, Cory, followed behind. His mother, Jennifer, remained in the hospital.
“I never even got to hold him before he left,” said Jennifer.
Two days later, Jennifer met her son for the first time. As he stayed in the hospital, she settled in across the street at the Ronald McDonald House Morgantown. It would be her home for the next 64 days. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cory stayed home with their 3 year-old daughter, Rylee.
Upon arriving at the Ronald McDonald House, Jennifer felt a little scared. She had never been alone before and now she was far from home with her son in the hospital. But that feeling quickly changed to hope.
“I loved it there,” Jennifer said. “It was so spacious and nice and immediately felt like home.”
Jennifer also remembers the staff asking her every day when she came back from the hospital how she and her son were doing.
“Everyone was just so nice,” she added. “I would not have been able to hold myself together if I was anywhere else.”
As the weeks went on, Garrett grew stronger. And after two months, Jennifer received the news that she could take her son home.
“I was so excited that I cried for the next three days,” she said. “My family was going to be back together and Rylee was going to be able to hold her baby brother.”
It has been several weeks since the Gunto family has been reunited at home. Garett now weighs more than eight pounds.
“He is doing wonderful,” said Jennifer. “He is really developing his personality.”
And as for Rylee, she loves having her little brother home because she gets to hold him every day.