Unexpected News for Young Parents
Carlsbad parents Eva and Kyle Stafford were at a prenatal checkup for their third child when they got some terrifying news: “Your baby’s lungs have fluid in them. We don’t know why. If they keep swelling, he’s not going to survive.”
They were in shock. Their first two pregnancies had been easy. Now, they were being asked to prepare for in vitro surgery — an operation on their baby while he was still in the womb.
Doctors went through Eva’s abdomen and into baby Declan’s back to put a shunt in his tiny lungs. Eva stayed under monitors in the hospital for three weeks until Declan wouldn’t hold back any longer. He entered the world and was rushed to intensive care. They couldn’t even hold him.
A Time of Crisis
Declan was fragile, and his condition could change at any time. The Staffords couldn’t bear to leave him when he was struggling so hard to survive. But the rest of life kept going. Their son and daughter back home needed them, too. They traveled day and night from Carlsbad to the hospital, filled with anxiety, so very exhausted.
Their lives brightened when a room opened for them at the Ronald McDonald House. Everything they needed was on hand. Fresh meals prepared daily. It made life so much easier during an incredibly stressful time. Eva observes,
People at the Ronald McDonald House are willing to help you every step of the way.
New Peace of Mind
Staying close to the hospital gave the family more time together, instead of being stuck in traffic. Their older kids, Hailey and Aiden, could stay with them and even go to school at the House. Best of all, they had peace of mind, knowing they were just steps away from Declan.
The Ronald McDonald House helped the Staffords stay at Declan’s side to see what worked best in his care. They could advocate for him as nursing staff changed with each shift. Eva was available to Declan for regular feedings to help him grow stronger.
After a month in the hospital, Declan was strong enough to go home. His lungs look good now, and he’s growing bigger by the day. Declan’s birth brought unexpected blessings to the family.
“We are grateful and appreciate the small things, because you never know when it can all change.”