DAYTON, Ohio (RMHC Dayton) – The McGinnis Family felt like they still had room in their hearts for another baby after having three children and then a set of twins. When they went to the first ultrasound for that new baby, they received quite a shock.
“The doctor kind of joked, ‘Let’s see how many are in here’ and it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that there was more than one and more than two so we found out we were having three,” said Ryan McGinnis, dad.
Ryan started researching what a NICU stay would mean and what resources might be available to help their family.
“We came across Ronald McDonald House Charities pretty quickly,” said Ryan.
The McGinnis family lives in nearby Miami County so they wouldn’t need a place to stay overnight but they would still need a place to get meals, to do laundry and to rest and regroup. That’s exactly why the Ronald McDonald Family Room (RMFR) inside Emmett’s Place at Miami Valley Hospital is there.
Its doors were open to welcome the McGinnis family after their babies were born at 34 weeks gestation. Grant was born first at 4 lbs., 9 oz., and then came Heidi. She was 4lbs., 5 oz. Neal was the last one out and weighed 4 lbs., 8 oz.
“[The Family Room] is right outside of the NICU and provided every single meal while we were down there,” said Sarah McGinnis, mom.
“It was really a blessing because I stayed at the hospital for seven weeks after their birth.”
Sarah had initially planned to go home every night but quickly found there wasn’t enough time to do that.
“I would grab dinner at the RMFR before they closed and stock up on breakfast items to prepare for their 5 a.m. feeding,” said Sarah. “After I fed them, I’d go and get a full breakfast.”
“They found out that I have a soft spot for cinnamon raisin toast so they always made sure to have some there,” said Ryan.
But more than food, staff at RMHC Dayton provided the McGinnis family with a break from the lights of the NICU and with a supportive community.
“There are alarms going off, there’s people moving around, it can be very overwhelming,” said Ryan. “The (RMFR) allowed us that peace to take care of ourselves so we could go back refreshed to take care of the triplets.”
The McGinnises say seeing a smiling face at the RMFR front desk always helped them.
“I missed home and it was like a surrogate home for me,” said Sarah. “I could step out for a second and know that I was just a few feet from my babies and could go right back if needed.”
All that support is available to families at no cost to them.
“It’s something that until you utilize it, you don’t know what it means to someone,” said Ryan.
“It is the difference between somebody being able to spend time with their very young, very fragile newborn and them not spending the time and not being able to bond, not being able to do the skin-to-skin or the nursing, a lot of those things that are proven to help them get stronger and get out of the NICU quicker.
“Having something like the (RMFR) facilitates all of that. Closer bonds with kids, helping families and it meant a lot to us.”