Some of you already know that I have partnered with the Ronald McDonald house to offer complimentary mini newborn sessions to families that have used the house as a resource as a result of having their baby in the NICU. Today I want to share Charlene and Asher’s incredible story of birth and survival with you! Asher is now 5 years old and my hero! The photos in this post were taken to promote the upcoming Red Shoe Gala to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. You should most definitely look into attending this event or checking out the Ronald McDonald House website to see how you can help. You can also follow the house on Facebook. They are always looking for people to donate meals and items for the house.
Here is Asher’s birth story in him Momma’s words! Thank you Charlene for sharing with us!
Asher was born at 25 weeks and 5 days in the parking lot at the Army base I worked at without medical aid. He weighed 1 lbs 14 oz. He was immediately sent to the Renown Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where he would spend the first 146 days of his life. At the time he was born I lived in Susanville, Ca which was about an hour and a half from Renown. I also had an older son Landon, who was almost 2 years old at that time. NICU life is a roller coaster. Asher had heart surgery at 22 days old and was intubated/extubated 14 times. Due to this, he ended up with paralyzed vocal cords, which required a tracheotomy at almost 3 months old followed a month later with a g-tube placement, fundoplication, hernia repair and one other surgery all in one.
During this time the Ronald McDonald House provided a home for myself and my older son Landon, who was to young to be allowed in the NICU. Right out the back gate of the house I could walk over to see Asher at anytime. They provided a safe haven from the chaos and nightmare of the hospital where Asher was fighting for his life. For $10 a night I was provided all of the amenities of home for myself and my family. The solace this house provides for families with a child in the hospital is nothing short of miraculous. It saved me financially and gave Landon normalcy during such a stressful time. He had a safe area to play, home cooked meals, and a warm bed to sleep in. While I left half my heart in a scary, foreign world of monitors, equipment and uncertainty, I could escape to the RMH and give Landon a bubble bath and read him a bedtime story. On 3 different occasions I faced losing Asher. During those times the RMH provided me the privacy of being able to break down and drop my strong front, to get my emotions out so that I could go back and continue to be strong and composed next to Asher. Until you are in the position, you will never realize the difference that $10 can make for a family.
I now live in the Reno area, but Asher was hospitalized an additional 148 days on different occasions. The RMH continued to provide a home for myself and Landon for 138 of those days. I strive to teach my boys to give back, pay it forward if you will, and are dedicated for life in helping in any way we can for the RMH. They are and will always be considered family.