A Story of Hope – The Hall Family
My husband Brandon and I have experienced our share of loss, concerning pregnancy. We had been pregnant four times—with two losses followed by two healthy, full-term pregnancies, resulting in our daughters, Celona & Bronwyn and we was pleasantly surprised to find out we were going to have a son in mid-April of 2016.
On January 9th of that year, I was taken by ambulance to Wesley Medical Center. The medical team hoped to hold off delivery of the baby until March 4th. However, Tobin Archer Hall was born via emergency surgery on January 19th, at 27 weeks and weighed just 2 lbs., 4 oz.
Not long after recovering from surgery, we were visited by hospital social workers who encouraged us to utilize the Ronald McDonald House during our stay at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Wesley.
In the first two weeks after Tobin’s birth, my family and I had to deal with his medical diagnoses and adjust to a new way of living. It was decided that Brandon and the girls would come to Wichita every weekend, so that my husband, Brandon could keep working and our daughters, Celona and Bronwyn could keep their routine during the week. I was able to take maternity leave and split all of my time between the NICU to care for Tobin and the RMHC Wichita Sleepy Hollow House, to eat and rest.
During his 103-day stay in the NICU, Tobin was diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosis (a heart condition), bleeding on his brain, seizures, chronic lung disease, retinopathy, hearing loss, two separate infections, and two separate hernias. He spent almost two and a half months on the ventilator and had surgery for a hernia. He was finally able to go home on April 20th. The first week of May, I took Tobin back to Wesley for a follow up appointment for his hernia surgery, where it was discovered that he would need a second hernia surgery and we would again be staying at the Ronald McDonald House.
The days and nights were very busy and highly stressful, but, the weeks did go by quickly. Celona and Bronwyn looked forward to making the drive to their favorite house, “Mommy’s McDonald’s House,” on Fridays. They always looked forward to eating in the dining room, playing with toys in the family room, or walking as a family to the NICU. We even were able to take advantage of a very mild spring and go for walks together through the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood when we needed to get away from the hospital for a bit.
Celona even celebrated her fifth birthday in the Family Room and it was a very special birthday, because it marked the day that two sisters met their brother for the first time. The family also shared their Valentines with one another in the dining room of the Ronald McDonald House and opened their Easter baskets out on the front porch. Celona loved to sit on the bench with Ronald McDonald or share a Dr. Pepper with her dad. Bronwyn always snatched up the Raggedy Anne & Andy dolls at the top of the stairs, on her way to Room 4 on Friday afternoons. One of our favorite things was to peruse the RMHC book in the front room, as we waited for guests to arrive. We could not believe just how unique some of the houses are and how far-reaching this charity has become.
These days, Tobin Archer Hall is doing amazingly well. For all of his troubles in the beginning, one might never know that he ever suffered any physically compromising conditions. He has no signs of retinopathy, hearing loss, or cerebral palsy. His PDA, brain hemorrhage, and seizures all cleared up before the family went home from the hospital. And, his doctor believes his lungs are not as compromised as was originally thought.
Both Brandon and I know that Tobin’s progress is owed, in big part, to Ronald McDonald House Charities Wichita and the community who lifted us up. Having this home as a place to go on living and making memories with our family while our world seemed to be falling apart, at times, was pinnacle to our overall well-being. It also took so many other burdens from us, including worries about finances, as well as cooking and cleaning.
RMHC Wichita has become a special place for our family. Each time the family travels to Wichita, for a follow up appointment for Tobin, for shopping, or for a movie, the girls ask if they can drive by and see Ronald McDonald, so it’s not unusual for us to drive through the parking lot and wave to Ronald, sitting on the bench and waiting to greet families.
Thank you so very much for giving our family a home and a place in which we were able to make memories! We are so humbled by your care and generosity.
– Calisa Marlar-Hall