"On February 7th, 2011 my husband, my 2 boys, Josh (age 14) and Brian (age 11), and I woke early. We had to be at St. Edward Mercy at 5:00 am to induce. We were all very excited for the birth of our baby girl! We arrived at the hospital and after checking in were taken to a labor and delivery room to prepare for the birth of Elyssa. Everything went really well and the day seemed to go by quickly for the four of us. Around 2:30 pm, Josh and Brian were taken to the waiting room and at 2:33 pm I gave birth to Elyssa Bella Martin who weighed 6 lbs. 4 oz and was 20 inches long. She was 36 weeks but pink as a rose, and just as pretty as one. She was just perfect and my family was complete- all 5 of us. Josh and Brian just loved her. She was taken to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for testing and family came by to see her. Life was perfect... until late that night.
That evening we received a call from the NICU. The nurse asked if I was Mrs. Martin and said that my baby was sick and that Dr. Cheshier had turned her care over to Dr. Coloso. My heart sunk as she told me that the doctor wanted to speak to us. We quickly made our way to the NICU and upon entering saw Elyssa in a big plastic box with a lot of tubes in her body. The world just stopped. I felt warm tears fall as the doctor explained our problems and what we needed to do. We brought Josh and Brian in to see their baby sister because from what we were told, this might be the last time they would get to see her. Brian put his hand on the top of her little head and said, "Sissy you have to fight because when I got third degree burns I had to fight. So you have to fight, because we love you and have been waiting for you a long time." From the time Brian said this, Elyssa started doing better. I sent my boys to my brother's house while my husband and I stayed at the hospital. I was discharged on Thursday and soon after met Ginger, a Family Room staff member, who told me about the Ronald McDonald Family Room. I remembered thinking "what a great place for families" when I had first heard about the Family Room opening on the news but never dreamed we'd be in a situation to use it.
The Ronald McDonald Family Room was the best place we could be during that hard time in our lives. We had a place to eat, shower and sleep. We bonded with the staff and other families and those bonds will last a lifetime. Thank you so much to the staff at the Ronald McDonald Family Room and the entire staff of the NICU and Labor and Delivery at St. Edward Mercy- and of course Dr. Riche'. We took Elyssa home 11 days later on February 18th, 2011 and she has been putting on weight steadily and is still doing great one month later!"