On January 2, I was transported to Vidant Medical Center by ambulance for preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM). I was 31 weeks pregnant and in preterm labor. My healthcare providers were able to stop my labor and keep Myles “baking” for a few more weeks. Our goal was to get him to 34 weeks gestation, so I spent from January 2 until January 20 hospitalized on bedrest.  Although our goal was to get Myles to 34 weeks gestation, he still came a little early on January 20, at 33 weeks and 5 days (SO CLOSE!). He was still a preterm infant, weighing 4lbs, 8oz at this point, so after delivery he was placed on my chest for less than one minute then quickly taken away from me and rushed to the NICU. Due to being premature and so little, he required oxygen therapy via BiPap/Cpap. However, he was a little fighter and was off of oxygen in less than 24 hours. He also required tube feedings for two days before he was able to eat by mouth. He required four days of light therapy for jaundice as well. He spent a total of 11 days in the NICU.

It was heartbreaking not being able to hold and bond with my baby immediately after birth like I had been looking forward to, but his health was the top priority. For the next 2-3 hours I stayed in labor and delivery recovering from labor and he was in the NICU without me, requiring oxygen due to his premature lungs. My fears were of course his health outcomes and how long he was going to be required to stay in the NICU. I wanted to hold him and be with him nonstop, but the equipment and his medical care made that very hard and I feared we were going to miss out on the very important bonding time that babies and mothers’ benefit from.

I learned about the RMH from the hospital staff. I first learned while I was hospitalized from Jan 2-Jan 21 when I was told about my access to the laundry facility on site. Then, once I was discharged but Myles was still in the NICU, a social worker helped set my fiancé and I up with a place to stay. We spent the first night at the off-site house. It was very clean, and the staff were very nice. We were very impressed with how quickly and easily they got us settled in. The second night up until Myles was discharged, we stayed in one of the rooms within the NICU. This change was made because I began to breastfeed Myles, so I had to be with him at least every 2-3 hours. We were AMAZED at how quickly and on the spot the change was made, and we were able to get moved. Not only was it fast, it was during a night shift. They did not make us wait until the next morning when more staff were available to coordinate the change, and for that we owe our thanks to Myles’ nurse that night who advocated for us and coordinated the change.

The availability of the RMH helped provide us with a place to stay and get some much-needed rest, laundry facilities and showers, as well as meals and snacks. It made taking care of ourselves easier so we could be there for our baby and provide him with the best care and attention possible. The staff were always available to answer questions and provide any services requested. They were always helpful, nice, and respectful. If we did not have the services of the RMH, I would likely have spent the 11 days Myles was in the NICU (trying) to sleep in a chair beside him. Acie would not have been able to spend as much time with us in the NICU as paying for a hotel to stay in for that many nights would have been out of the question. Additionally, without easy access to meals I probably would not have eaten like I was supposed to and therefore breastfeeding Myles may have been compromised due to decreased milk production and stress. Overall, the best service was hands down the availability of rooms in the NICU!! I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it would have been traveling back and forth every couple of hours to ensure Myles could breastfeed as well as being able to get some rest for myself. Being able to be by his side in just a 30 second walk down the hall was such a relief!

We were two hours from home while at Vidant. Hardships included being away from family and I had to unexpectedly be out of work sooner than we planned and therefore a reduced family income.

We just want to say ‘Thank You’ again for providing us with a bed to get some rest, the availability of clean laundry, a nice hot shower when needed, and many meals to keep us going and able to be there for our sweet baby Myles.

– The Burkes Family