At a routine OBGYN check-up I was diagnosed with stage 4 Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome at 31 weeks pregnant with my twins, Oakleigh and Sawyer. My doctor quickly sent me to Wayne UNC Hospital. From Wayne UNC, I was rushed by ambulance to Vidant. This experience was traumatic, due to the uncertainty of delivery, and how sick my babies were. Sawyer was diagnosed with 2 stage 4 brain bleeds at birth, along with hydrocephalus at 3 weeks old. Oakleigh suffered from a severe blood infection which required two rounds of very intensive antibiotics. Sawyer was treated for her hydrocephalus by receiving a VP shunt. Oakleigh was treated with the use of antibiotics through two different PIC lines.

I’ve always heard stories of families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, but it wasn’t until it was time for me to be discharged from the hospital that I truly learned what RMH was all about. My first impression of RMH was how warm and welcoming the environment was. During check in, staff was kind and patient. My first day at RMH was tough, Sawyer was struggling, but having the reassurance of having a place to call home that was close by, reduced some stress. We stayed at RMH for roughly 45 days. We were also the first family to check into the new space after the 10,000 square foot expansion. The best part about staying at RMH was the warm hospitality. Whatever your needs maybe, staff will do their best to make sure families have what they need during their stay.

Our biggest hardship was leaving our older daughters behind during the twins NICU stay. We are an active duty military family with no immediate family in the area. It was stressful trying to find care for my older girls, while being in Greenville. Ultimately, our amazing family and friends were able support us during this time and we were able to go home one night per week, to stay with our older girls. Sawyer’s diagnosis has had the greatest impact on my family. Though hydrocephalus can be managed, it still poses some risks. Sawyer is now a courageous toddler who loves to explore. Her VP shunt requires us to be watchful whenever she gets a weird fever or random spouts of vomiting. Key warning signs her shunt is not functioning properly.

The availability of the RMH helped me stay close to my twins. The staff was extremely welcoming and helpful. They always had a smile on their face, and an eagerness to make me feel at home. If RMH did not exist, I would have been left with either commuting to Greenville each day, or staying in a hotel. Staying at RMH allowed me to feel like I was at home. It still allowed me to cook, do laundry, and other basic tasks that allowed me to feel in control of. Tasks staying a hotel does not offer.

I have stayed connected with RMH by becoming an intern in 2020! I started my bachelor’s degree shortly before having the twins. Upon reaching my senior year and needing to complete an internship, I just knew RMH would be the perfect place. Being an intern has allowed me to not only gain professional skills but has allowed me to give back to the House in a meaningful way. It has been a pleasure assisting families during their stay.

Today, Oakleigh and Sawyer are your typical toddlers, who are celebrating their 3rd birthday on March 1st, 2020.  They love to play, use their imagination, and explore. Looking at them, one would have no idea the difficult time they went through during their first several months of life. They have grown into such amazing little girls with the biggest personalities and heart. They enjoy spending time with their sisters, and both are very much daddy’s girls.