Olivia and Derek never expected to need the Ronald McDonald House. But when their daughter, Everly, made an early arrival into the world, it became the place they called home.
Their unforeseen journey began while they were on vacation. Olivia was 32 weeks pregnant, and her water broke in the middle of the night. Searching for the closest hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), they arrived at WVU Medicine Children’s. Everly was born that night, weighing three pounds, seven ounces.
For the next two weeks, Everly remained in the NICU. After two days of respiratory support, her medical team focused on feeding so that she could gain weight and build strength.
“They took good care of her,” said Olivia.
Wanting to be near their daughter, but living three hours from home, Olivia and Derek were faced with the challenge of where they were going to stay. A nurse told them about Ronald McDonald House Morgantown.
“The Ronald McDonald House was a huge help,” said Olivia. “It was right next to the hospital, and we could see our daughter every day.”
In addition to having the physical comforts of home like a warm bed and homemade meals, Olivia and Derek found support in meeting other RMHC families. Sharing their experiences with each other provided extra comfort.
“It’s something that stands out to us,” said Olivia.
Two weeks after Everly’s surprise arrival, she was strong enough to be transferred to a hospital closer to home. There, she stayed two more weeks and then joined her big brother Cole at home.
“Cole adores her,” said Olivia. “He always asks to hold her and gives her hugs and kisses.”