The Nightingale family began their journey with RMHC Wichita on April 3, just 4 days after their tiny 3lb 7oz baby, Oscar, was born. Merilee and Quinton live with their children in Fowler, Kansas – almost 3 hours from the Wichita Metro area. After falling ill, Merilee tested positive for COVID-19 which caused her to go into early labor at 31 weeks. Merilee and Quinton rushed to Ascension Via-Christi St. Joseph Hospital on Sunday evening due to her being sick from the virus and her intense contractions caused from her sickness. The doctors felt comfortable sending them home but Merilee had a strong instinct that driving back home would not be the best decision for her and the baby. Merilee and Quinton decided to check in to a hotel that Sunday evening. Monday morning, they went back to the hospital because Merilee was still having very painful contractions. During this visit they finally admitted her and Tuesday morning she was immediately taken in for a C-section. Due to Merilee still testing positive for COVID-19, she was unable to see her new baby son for 4 days after his birth.
During this critical time, Merilee and Quinton had no idea where they were going to stay or what they were going to do and once Merilee received her negative COVID-19 test they were told about the Ronald McDonald House. “We really appreciated everything the Ronald McDonald House did for us. We can’t say how much it meant to us. We don’t know what we would have done without it,” explained Merilee.
Merilee and Quinton’s other children were finally able to reunite at the Ronald McDonald House with their mom and dad after 3 weeks of being separated. They had so much fun staying at the House! One of the highlights was being able to “shop” in their cool toy room. Merilee stated it “made the children’s week to each pick out a toy.” Because the Ronald McDonald House provided all the food they needed they were able to spend more time with Oscar in the hospital. The Nightingale family is so grateful of RMHC Wichita’s hospitality during their long 6-week stay.
Baby Oscar and his parents checked out of the Ronald McDonald House on May 13. Oscar was finally able to go home and meet his siblings for the first time just shy of being 7 weeks old. Oscar will still need to be on oxygen for a while, but he is growing strong and getting healthy in the comfort of his loving family.