The House Saved My Family

On February 2, 2018, my husband and I anxiously awaited the arrival of our daughter, Jahira. We knew it was going to be a high-risk pregnancy when we found out she had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and I would need to deliver her at the hospital in Macon, 45 minutes away from our home. Jahira was born by emergency cesarean and was rushed to the NICU immediately.

After she was born we learned that Jahira was in critical condition and was being prepped to travel to Egleston. The previous conversations we had with doctors indicated that the Macon hospital would be able to handle her congenital diaphragmatic hernia and if things became critical she would be transferred to Augusta.

Transferring Jahira to Atlanta was a surprise for my family and one we were not prepared for mentally, physically or financially.

As I watched the doctors and nurses prep her I became more and more upset because I couldn’t be with her. They transported Jahira an hour later. I could not sleep that night. All night I worried because I needed to be with my baby but that meant we would have to travel over 200 miles each day. I followed every direction the nurses gave me so I could be discharged early and we drove straight to Atlanta. My feet were swollen, my joints were aching and I could not stand up straight, but I made it to our baby’s bedside.

We were overwhelmed by the number of people we spoke to during those first few days at Egleston. We discussed how many organs were in her chest instead of her abdomen, surgery dates, lung capacity, heart issues and so much more. But one conversation made a remarkable difference. The one that explained the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House.

The House provided a comfortable and quiet place of solace away from the turbulent, tumultuous emotions and events of the hospital. Being able to return to the House after a day of worrying was a gift. The House allowed me to focus on Jahira and be active and present in her care and recovery. Without the House, we would have exhausted all of our resources.

The care, comfort and relief found at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House is priceless. Having our two older daughters visit was so special and helped ease our feelings of being inadequate because we were not able to be in two places at once.

Whenever I share Jahira’s journey with others, I always include the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House and its support because the House helped us be the best parents that we could. Simply put, the House saved my family.

—Sharrica Wafford, Mom to Jahira

Thank you. You made the Waffords’ stay possible.