What had started as an easy pregnancy quickly turned into a traumatic experience for one family having their first child. With nine weeks to go before her due date, Jessica was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia, and her son Aiden was born premature at MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

“There are so many things you miss by having a baby that early,” Jessica said. “We didn’t get to have a baby shower, feel him kick in my stomach or get the nursery ready to go.”

Aiden was immediately placed in the NICU, where he learned how to eat and grew stronger for four weeks. Jessica, however, still had a long recovery. She had to have a C-section with no painkillers, suffered an infection in her uterus and ultimately developed PTSD and postpartum depression from the scary ordeal.

“If it wasn’t for the Ronald McDonald House and the community of families staying there in Columbia, I’m not sure I would be here today,” Jessica said.

Jessica and her husband Keith are from Holts Summit but were able to stay at the House the entire time Aiden was in the NICU, as well as while Jessica was recovering from her difficult childbirth experience.

“We were hoping for a miracle when our son was born premature and God gave us the Ronald McDonald House,” Keith said. “They made the most difficult time in our lives feel like we had a cheering section rooting for the health of our family.”

Aiden is doing well, and Jessica has worked on both her physical and emotional recovery from the experience. Jessica and Keith both say they are grateful for the support received from the House and hope to pay it forward by volunteering at Ronald McDonald House in the future.

Because of you, we can continue to keep families together and offer them a wonderful sense of comfort and care in the midst of their crisis.