You are using an unsupported browser! To get a faster, fuller, more secure experience on our site: please upgrade!
We are 26% of the way to reaching our target of supporting families in our Houses over Christmas
Please donate to keep families together this Christmas.
At Ronald McDonald House Charities UK our work doesn’t stop for Christmas. The festive season can be a critical time for families who rely on us to house them and keep them close to their child in hospital. As well as a private family bedroom just a walk from their child’s hospital bedside, our Houses offer families a communal kitchen, laundry and lounge area.
Our dedicated House teams are there 24/7 throughout the year to make sure our families can maintain normal family life and be strong for their poorly child.
Please donate to our 2021 Christmas Bedside Appeal to help seriously ill children have their families nearby.
Just £250 could help support a family for 10 nights.
“In November 2017, at 28 weeks, I dropped my little boy Hugo off at my mum’s house on the way to the hospital and I couldn’t have imagined what happened next.
Desperately needing to go to the loo, I headed upstairs and as I sat down I gasped in shock; one of the babies was visible between my legs – I was in labour. I screamed for my mum to call an ambulance, trying not to panic, scared that if I started shaking, the baby would be injured.
Dave arrived minutes after the paramedics and I was blue-lighted to Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral with my husband by my side – leaving a confused Hugo with my mum.
Already on his way, I pushed and pushed to give birth to Josh in the emergency delivery room. Eventually, with the help of forceps, he was delivered and immediately taken to the side of the room for doctors to check on him.
As my contractions came, the midwife told me to keep pushing, but when the doctors told Dave to let go of my hand and step to the side – I just knew Josh wasn’t going to make it. For the first time all day, the tears came. I’d always thought both of my babies would be okay and now Josh was gone and I haven’t even had the chance to see his face.
I had no strength yet, so it was almost a relief when I overhead the consultant saying I couldn’t deliver my next baby naturally. I was wheeled into theatre and Luke was delivered, weighing 2lb 8oz and placed straight into an incubator. Before he was wheeled into the neonatal intensive care unit, I could see that he was no bigger than the size of Dave’s palm.
Over a week later, I was preparing to leave the hospital when I started haemorrhaging and I was rushed into emergency surgery for my uterus. I’d suffered a delayed reaction to the infection that had caused my waters to break weeks earlier. Dave’s face had been pale by my bedside, he really thought he was going to lose me too.
Despite the setbacks, a few days later I was well enough to be discharged, but I realised that would mean leaving Luke at the hospital and I wasn’t ready to do that. We needed to form that maternal bond and being back home didn’t feel right, so when I was offered a room at Ronald McDonald House Arrowe Park, I accepted and felt a huge relief.
Being able to be one flight of stairs away from Luke meant that I could be by his side whenever I wanted, and I could take an active part in his care – helping meld that bond. Being able to be part of that care helped to reduce my anxiety and that horrible feeling of uselessness that creeps up when you’re a parent with a child in the hospital. As I was only seconds away from Luke, I could express milk for him throughout his stay – something that would have been impossible at home.
As it approached Christmas, our new family felt more distant than ever even though Dave would bring Hugo over to visit me most days. So, Dave and Hugo packed a bag and came to stay in my room at the Ronald McDonald House Arrowe Park – we were together as a family again.
Of course, I didn’t feel like celebrating, but when we woke up on Christmas morning there was a huge sack of gifts, organised by the House staff, including personalised outfits for ‘Big Brother Hugo’ and ‘Little Brother Luke’. Hugo even got a toy car which kept him occupied for weeks later!”