“OUR FAMILY WAS JUST GETTING STARTED AND SUDDENLY WE WERE BEING RIPPED APART.”
Oesophageal atresia is a rare birth defect that affects a baby’s feeding tube (from the mouth to the stomach). The upper part of the oesophagus doesn’t connect with the lower oesophagus and stomach, meaning food can’t reach and the baby can’t swallow safely, if at all. Surgery must be carried out quickly or else they could develop life-threatening problems such as choking and pneumonia.
GUEST BLOGGER: MATT
Our first child Oscar was born with the condition Oesophageal atresia meaning he was unable to swallow anything. Though we were aware of the condition at our 20-week scan, it didn’t prepare us for being told that our hospital stay was likely to be ‘a few months’. Our family was just getting started and suddenly we were being ripped apart.
We found out about Ronald McDonald House Camberwell in our first week on the ward. I’d been sleeping on hospital floors and chairs since we’d been admitted so when the House staff took me to the room, with two comfy beds and a big en-suite; I broke down in tears. We finally had a place that felt like home, just a few minutes away from Oscar.
After being there for a few weeks, the House became a home. Our family would travel up to see us every weekend and we would cook them big family meals in the communal kitchen. We’re still close with some of the House families who stayed with us now. It was a very supportive atmosphere and it helped us through some dark days.
Staying in Camberwell House allowed us to be parents to Oscar. Sarah could be with him all day and I could see him before and after work. Being able to stay at the House with Sarah, as a family, made all of that possible. Without it, I’d only have been able to see my family at the weekends.
There was no way we were going to leave our first born on his own every day. If it wasn’t for the House, we would have had extortionate hotel bills, but they made all of that stress and worry disappear so we could focus on being a family.
After 117 nights, we were so happy to finally be going home as a family, but we were also so thankful to the House and the staff. Leaving the House made us realise how much it had helped us through this difficult time. Of course, we made sure Oscar visited our home away from home before we left!
A lot of people don’t realise that Ronald McDonald House Charities is an independent Charity, so if you want to fundraise for it – please do! I’m lucky enough to be on the Board of Governors as a parent representative. Our family actively fundraise for the Charity and we encourage all our friends to as well!