At 2 lbs 5 oz, Ethan was too small to operate on
Ethan was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at the 20 week scan, so the family knew that they would be coming to Glasgow for surgery. As a twin, Ethan and his brother Thomas were born 10 weeks premature. The family had to wait over the Christmas season for Ethan to put on enough weight for his surgery.
However, Ethan became quite unwell prior to his scheduled transfer to Glasgow. He ended up being moved through to the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow urgently, just after New Year. Mum, Natalie explained “It was very daunting packing up and heading through to Glasgow as new parents with a two-month old baby”.
The family’s first stay at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow…
Thankfully, there was a room available at the House for Ethan’s family, helping them to stay together and close by his side. The cosy en-suite bedroom was set up ready for Natalie, dad Ryan and Thomas. “Ronald McDonald House Glasgow was simply amazing. The facilities and environment in general provided us very much with a home away from home. The staff were superb – so kind and caring” Natalie told us.
Ethan had plenty of ups and downs in the hospital over the six weeks he was there. It was an incredibly difficult time for the family. However, finally came the day when they were taking their little baby boy home for the first time.
Natalie was so happy that “Ethan got to stay with us for our final night at Ronald McDonald House [Glasgow] before discharge – the staff were so excited to meet him finally! And then we went home, but all the time knowing we would be back for Ethan’s full heart repair later in the year.”
The family’s second stay at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow…
The family went home in February but by the end of September they were back in Glasgow for Ethan’s surgery. Natalie recalls: “We were back and feeling incredibly anxious about Ethan’s surgery. The surgery went on for about 17 hours, which was much longer than planned. He was very poorly following the surgery and all in all spent five weeks in intensive care. It was the hardest of times, and truly nothing can prepare you for it”.
Again the family had to endure many ups and downs. Leaving Ethan every night was extremely difficult. Having a room at Ronald McDonald House Glasgow meant the family could stay close by, helping to ease the pain a little.
Ethan’s twin brother Thomas stayed at the House too. He enjoyed interacting with the staff and playing with other children staying there. “Being around other families each going through their own individual torment definitely helped build a support structure – we are still in touch with many families now” said Natalie.
The family finally get home
Ethan showed incredible resilience and strength. Over the course of a week he suddenly turned a corner and began to get better. Finally after six weeks, the family were going home again. “We will be forever grateful to Ronald McDonald House Glasgow and the staff for giving us a place to stay, but also for all their kind support during our two stays”.
The family were so happy to get home. Natalie said “…most days I certainly think about the House and what the people staying there must be going through. Ethan continues to go from strength to strength and we know how lucky we are that he has come home with us”.
Everyone at the House felt emotional about Ethan’s journey and are so thankful that he made such a great recovery. The thought of Ethan and Thomas together always brings a smile to our faces.
If Ethan’s story has touched your heart and you would like to help families like his, please donate.Back to Stories