Imagine this. You are 11 weeks pregnant on your fourth child. You are so excited to soon welcome a new bundle of joy to your family. You’re glowing with happiness!
One day while going about your regular daily activities, you start to have contractions. You rush to the hospital only to find out that something is wrong.
Your obstetrician, Dr. Rhemtula, says, “There’s complications. There’s only a 5% chance that your child will survive.”
You are shocked. Speechless. You don’t know where to turn. Your world has been flipped upside down.
Despite a tear in the placenta- your child’s lifeline- the heartbeat is strong. Your child is a fighter!
You know you need to do everything you can to welcome her into the world. A 1% chance of survival is all you need.
This is my family’s story. I’m Laura and our little fighter, Remi, was born at 24 weeks.
Living in Fort McMurray at the time, we knew that with a high risk pregnancy, we would end up leaving the community for the birth of our child.
My water broke at 21 weeks. My husband, Cayley, said he’ll never forget that moment. Fear for the unknown and little Remi’s well-being overtook us. Being so early in the pregnancy, we knew the only chance of survival for our child was dependent on us getting to Edmonton to a neonatal intensive care unit.
After miraculously reaching the 24 week mark, I was airlifted to Edmonton. Just a couple of days later, Remi was welcomed into the world with an emergency C-section.
She was less than two pounds and her fight was just beginning. I vividly remember the first picture I saw of her as I recovered from her birth. Cords, tubes, and ventilation equipment covered her small body in hopes of saving her life.
Remi spent 17 weeks in the hospital and for the good part of that, my family was separated. It was hard. I missed my other children. I missed my husband. I missed my community. I missed having that strong support network close by.
During this struggle, I learned of the Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton. They were known to be a home away from home. I would soon find out that this is an understatement.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got there. It was calming. It was a normal household and offered such a feeling of warmth.
What I remember most was the social aspect. You could cry because the people around you knew what you were going through. You could rejoice because you got some good news and everyone wanted to celebrate with you. Somewhere in the House, someone is feeling the same thing.
My entire family could stay there. We had our own family suite. My family was welcomed immediately and my kids jumped right away and made friends. It was so welcoming. There’s so much love in that house.
While the doctors and medical professionals were looking after Remi, there were people at the Ronald McDonald House looking after everyone else in my family, including my husband. Food was prepared and there were activities all the time. My son was even able to go to a hockey game. He wasn’t even sure which team he was cheering for but he remembers that game to this day.
Our eldest kids didn’t fall behind in school and in some cases they were actually ahead because of the attention they received in the classroom at the Ronald McDonald House.
Our eldest actually started to enjoy school. This wasn’t something we expected.
What a treasure the House is for families like mine going through medical challenges with their children.
This was our very first opportunity to stay together as a family. It was the only opportunity for us to be together that didn’t bankrupt us.
Your support ensures that families can stay close during the time when they need it most. Ensuring families are welcomed with open arms at Ronald McDonald House is made possible by generous donations made each day.
Please consider making a financial investment today. An investment in a safe haven for families like mine is a sound investment.
Remi is now three years old. She is our little fighter and an incredible inspiration to everyone around her. She is working hard to catch up on her development and lives a very rich life surrounded by family and friends.
On a recent trip to the Ronald McDonald House, she climbed over the jungle gym and really enjoyed a trip to the Magic Room with her brother and sisters where they all got to pick a toy of their choice.
Our kids are absolutely everything to us and having them all together at the House during such a difficult time was something we’ll never forget.
Our family is eagerly awaiting the arrival of twin boys and it feels good to know that if we ever need the Ronald McDonald House, they will be there to support us. This is only possible with continued support from donors like you.
From my family to yours, thank you.
Laura Tkach, mother to House Hero Remi