The Campaign to help families stay close and better together.
This year we begin our 30th year of doors open to families in need of a “home away from home” close to their sick or injured child in the hospital. With so many people impacted by the health and financial crisis in 2020, we know even more families will need our help in the coming months. We are asking you to celebrate and help by increasing your
monthly gift during 2021. Become a member of the Caring and Comforting Hearts Club and increase your gift to $30 a
month this year. You will help 5 families like the Hayes’ stay close. It equals out to just $1 a day! Sign up now!
Whether you give one time or join the monthly giving club, your gift will help a family stay close to their child in the hospital. THANK YOU for giving families HOPE and helping keep them close!
Will you support the Share-A-Night Fund with your donation? Help families like the Hayes’ TODAY.
Meet the Hayes Family: Annie, Adam, Jack and baby John
25 NIGHTS AT RMHC
47 days in the high-risk unit + 74 days in NICU = 121 days at Erlanger Hospital
Annie, Adam and Jack (big brother) Hayes, were expecting a new addition to their family in 2020. In a year where many were feeling isolated and anxious during a pandemic, the added fear of a pregnant mother not knowing if her unborn child would live was unexpected by the Hayes family.
At 17 weeks, Annie believed there was something wrong, but when her OBGYN didn’t seem concerned she assumed she was being anxious after she’d already had several miscarriages before. At 22 weeks Annie went to a previously scheduled appointment with a specialist in Chattanooga only to find out:
“As soon as I got there I knew it was strange because I couldn’t see the baby on the ultrasound. [The doctor] left and came back after a long time with one of the main doctors who had to tell me my water had ruptured and the reason I wasn’t seeing the baby was because I had no amniotic fluid at that point. After looking at my file, they believed I had ruptured at 17 weeks. They had to tell me “if” I was still pregnant in two weeks they would admit me to the hospital for the last term of my pregnancy. They also had to tell me there was a significant chance that my baby would not be viable even if I could could continue the pregnancy.”
During her appointment, Annie found out she’d suffered from PPROM which meant the sac or amniotic membrane surrounding the baby ruptured before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Sadly, the cause of PPROM is unknown in most cases and if doctors had known at 17 weeks they most likely would have encouraged Annie to terminate the pregnancy.
While the pandemic continued, the Hayes family moved into a new home, settled their toddler into a new day care, and Annie wrapped up work as best she could in the short amount of time she had left before checking into the hospital.
Annie was admitted on June 1, 2020 to stay at Erlanger Hospital for the duration of her pregnancy. At this point she was 26 weeks pregnant. With COVID, there were strict rules and only Adam was allowed to visit. This was tough because he not only became the only provider for their household at that point, but had to care for their son, Jack. Eventually Annie was able to have her mom visit AND even her cat, but throughout her time missed seeing her little boy.
A little over a month later, John Clayton Hayes was born on July 13 weighing 3 lbs. 11 oz. Though he was still tiny, John was bigger than expected for 30 weeks! John’s primary complication was tachypnea – abnormally rapid breathing. Because his lungs were underdeveloped, he would take abnormal shallow breaths trying to get the oxygen he needed.
Annie shared how the most difficult part for her was, “Just how isolating it all was. Normally you would be able to have others, even if they weren’t allowed in the NICU, to come by the hospital and visit you between the times you’re there to give you that visual and physical reminder that you’re not alone and that other people are cheering for you. With COVID, no one else is allowed in the hospital. It just put a lot of stress on me, knowing if something happens and I’m not there with John, no one is with him.”
When it was time to check out of the hospital, the Ronald McDonald House was open but had specific guidelines and times families could check-in. Annie made the difficult decision to do the 45 minute drive daily from the hospital to and from her home in Dalton until John was ready to feed so that she could be home to see her husband and Jack. After almost a month of traveling back and forth, Annie checked in to the House.
Having all of this happen during a pandemic was surreal for the Hayes family. For any mom, it’s isolating in the best of circumstances, but with COVID there were times where Annie felt completely isolated. Staying at the House gave her “the encouragement and the support” and “love and faith that it was going to be okay”.
“I think especially during COVID times when you have the support of being able to sit down and share with other families in the House that just gave me so much comfort. It really helped rebuild me and gave me the space I needed to keep going and doing what I needed to for John. Some of that was just invaluable to me. There was just something about being at the House that it wasn’t just a place to rest, it was also just a place to restore my faith and gave me the peace and support I needed to keep going.”
THANK YOU for helping parents like Annie stay close to their child during a tough time! A Share-A-Night gift is more than a donation, you help families receive the care and comfort they need to focus on their sick child’s needs – right across the street.
As we continue our 30th year of providing a home for families to stay while their child is in the hospital across the street, will you continue to support these families and help us continue to focus on family-centered care? With your help, we are providing more than just services to a lot of families. Your gift provides a “home away from home” and allows families to be better together!
Update on baby John:
Because John was lacking amniotic fluid he wasn’t able to move as normal, so he has trouble stretching and moving certain ways. He goes to physical therapy for something called contractures. He still continues to grow the way he should.
Annie and Adam are also looking into follow ups on gastrointestinal issues, continued inflammation on his lungs and potential aspirating after eating.
“He’s our little miracle blessing baby and we were so blessed to be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House and have that love and support and be right there with him. All his doctors and nurses commented that they don’t always know why, but just having a caregiver there helps them so much. We always saw that with him. He always seemed so much more relaxed and content when I was holding him. His breathing rate would be a bit better and he was able to just relax and feel safe so he could just sleep, which is just one of the number one things he needed to grow and get strong.”