NewsRadio Savannah introduces you to the Florence family and their Ronald McDonald House Of The Coastal Empire experience:
I know everyone has had a moment in their lives where they were so nervous or scared that you felt sick. For me and quite a few others, it was seeing our children fight for their lives.
Like many other women during the time of COVID, I’ve had to cut back on my exposure to family, friends, and co-workers due to the pandemic. However, while some experienced a quarantine at home, my mother rushed me to the hospital due to high blood pressure, where unknowingly, I would remain. With this being my first pregnancy, I did not know what to expect. I checked in, thinking I would be there for a couple of hours, but that thought was soon crushed as the nurses and doctors continued to examine me. They stated they could not let me leave with my blood pressure as high as it was.
Knowing this, I begged and begged for them to let my mother into the hospital. They stated that I would only be allowed one person in, and if I let her, I could not switch out for my son's father. I informed them his dad was in basic training and would not be returning home until mid-September. With that news, they allowed her in with me. Over the next week, my mom and I stressed and prayed like we never have before. Every morning and every night, it was the same routine of nurses and doctors thinking that today was "the day." My blood pressure remained extremely high, with three or four different medications barely helping to maintain it. Then one morning, the doctor looked at my scans and noticed a significant change. My blood pressure remained extremely high throughout the night and with it came an unbearable headache. Most importantly, my son's heart rate began to drop. So, within a matter of 20 minutes, I was moved into the operating room for an emergency c-section.
I was extremely nervous about the fact that I was not quite 28 weeks pregnant. My son’s father could not leave his duty station with us being at the peak of a pandemic, and I couldn’t even notify him that child would be born that day. However, my mother was there, encouraging me to be brave every step of the way. The procedure was not long at all. After a few tugs, I was thrilled to be introduced to the smallest weeps my ears had ever heard. I only got a quick glimpse of this amazing little person before he was rushed off to the NICU.
Now the clock was ticking. A new mother, visiting her child in an unfamiliar area, with a crazy amount of different faces throwing information at her, not having the time to comprehend what is being said, because all you want to do is hold your child. On top of it all, I was being informed that I was being discharged from the hospital. Being forced to leave, while my child remained behind in the NICU at the Dwaine and Cynthia Willet Children’s Hospital at Memorial Hospital.
My heart was torn because I knew it was for the best, but I envied all the other new mothers rolling past with smiles as big as Texas, with both their significant other and their bundle of joy. As I finish packing up my stuff and visited my child one last time before leaving the hospital, I received a call from the Ronald McDonald House. I was thrilled that they had a room for me!
When my mom dropped me off at the Ronald McDonald House, I quickly moved everything into my room and rushed over to the hospital. I still felt heartbroken seeing my small child under the blue light with wires everywhere and a tube as tall as him down his throat. I could not hold and comfort him and didn’t fully comprehend all the medical terms used by the nurses. My heart dropped, and my eyes filled with tears every time I heard a machine go off. Numbers would flash in a harsh red color that would make me believe that this was it. All the worst thoughts would go through my head. To top it off, my son would give me a slight panic attack by pulling out any tube he could get his hands on.
However, as time progressed, I learned the nurses’ names and the medical terms, as well as gained unbelievable friends. I became a part of a community that understood the struggles, cheered for every accomplishment, and listened to every setback. Staying in the Ronald McDonald House made the entire experience a lot easier by meeting so many lovely ladies. Having weekly updates made me sit back and analyze the progress my child was making. The house slightly started to feel like a home, but it was bittersweet once women you’ve grown to know, and love, leave. You are happy because it is excellent news for both them and their child, but part of your RMHC family is leaving for good.
Eventually, my day came. After 100 days, I became the lucky parent whose child was graduating from the NICU. I was through the roof excited, yet in the back of my head, wondering how I can protect my child from the craziness that is this world. Months after being home, my son met his dad officially, not through a phone, but in person. The excitement on my fiancé's face was priceless. To look at our miracle baby and know how blessed we are. Being born at 27 weeks six days and weighing only 1 pound and 15.8 ounces, my child outweighed all the odds and fought for his life. Every day I am thankful for the doctors, nurses, receptionists, and members of the RMHC for all their help in the scariest moment of my life. Without this extraordinary mixture of people, I do not know if I would be holding my currently seven-month-old blessing.
How to help:
⏰ Accepting monetary donations between Now - December 11, 2020
📍 Please deliver all cash, check, and gift card donations directly to iHeartMedia Savannah, 245 Alfred Street Savannah, GA 31408
💳Forms of donations accepted:
- Click here to make an online donation to the RMH. Add "Shop With A Cop" in memo.
- Checks made out to Ronald McDonald House with "Shop With A Cop" in memo.
- Visa, Master Card, AmEx or Target cards.
Shop With A Cop is sponsored by Southern Motors Springfield and The Dewitt Tilton Group!