The Purdy Family

Written by Nicole Purdy, Kailen’s Mom (03-15-2023)

My name is Nicole, and my husband is Jeff. Our son Kailen arrived after a three-day hospital stay and hard labor. Very shortly after that he was taken to the NICU at Carilion Memorial. We had no idea how long he would need to stay and still were not sure when I was discharged from the hospital a few days after. We live in Franklin County but wanted to be close by to be with him during his care times to bond and provide breast milk. Also, because we live so far, and I was physically recovering myself the reality of driving to Roanoke multiple times a day was not a good option. We were looking at other options including hotels in order to be close enough to make everything work but not knowing how long he would be there it was not very affordable. The hospital social worker mentioned the Ronald McDonald house and offered to call.

Within a few hours I had a call from the Ronald McDonald House and we checked in the next day. The opportunity to be so close and available to spend as much time as possible with him was invaluable. We were able to attend most of his care times, he was able to receive loving attention and breast milk from us as often as possible. Most babies in the NICU did not have parents that could spend as much time with them. We learned so much about taking care of him and honestly got on his same schedule from being able to visit so often. For me not having to sit at the hospital between care times and being close enough to rest in between helped my physical recovery a lot and allowed me to be more present for him when I was there.

The house itself was great. The ease of being able to stay and come and go as needed was a bit unexpected. Having dinner available daily was very nice even if dinner itself was during his care time so we often grabbed leftovers. After eating out most meals for days and weeks having other options was a welcome break. Having the common areas and laundry available was also really nice and the spaces were great. Comfy couches and play areas made it feel homier. Our little guy ended up staying in the NICU for two weeks and we were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald house for the time we needed to and honestly it made those two weeks so much easier on us both physically and mentally.

I did not know much about the Ronald McDonald house before our stay and am very grateful for the hospital social worker connecting us and for the house’s support and availability. Thank you so much for all that you do!