Jilleanna Theobald never expected to be away from her home in Cadillac for six months. But when she was, she couldn’t imagine being at a better place than the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan (RMHWM).
Jill was put on bedrest at home when her water broke during the 21st week of her pregnancy. What she thought was a follow-up visit in Grand Rapids at 23 weeks turned into immediate hospitalization at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital where she stayed for over a month until baby Max was born at 27 weeks. When Max was admitted to the NICU at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Jill feared she would need to either sleep in the room with him and seven other babies or sleep in her car since she had limited funds for a hotel room. As a new mom, she wanted to spend every minute by his side and be involved in his care – driving an hour and a half each way every day was not an option.
When she was told about the RMHWM, she nearly cried with relief. “Having a place to call home, a hot meal waiting every night, a fully stocked pantry with anything we could need, a place to do laundry- and the support of staff, volunteers and other families…it was truly a blessing. Max would not be where he is today without the RMHWM keeping me close!”
Jill stayed at the RMHWM for 167 nights waiting for the day she could take her son home. During that time many ‘firsts’ were celebrated: the first time she was able to hold Max, his first smile and the first time she heard the news that Max was strong enough to leave the hospital. Most importantly, Max was never alone. He had the constant care and support he needed from his mom who was just minutes away at the RMHWM.