How Ronald McDonald House helps families with multiple births

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan is facing a unique situation they haven’t seen before. Since August, the house has welcomed 10 families with multiple births.

“We have never seen this many at once. To me, it’s just a funny blessing,” said executive director Ellen Carpenter.

The mission of the RMHWM is to act as a home-away-from-home for families that live more than 30 miles away from Grand Rapids and travel to the city to get medical care for their children. 

“Our mission is to help these families in any way that we can,” Carpenter said. “We provide food and transportation and clean rooms, etc. But when there are multiples it is unusual for the babies to be discharged from the hospital at the same time. So when that happens, we have these brand new babies that are coming back to the house.”

The facility provides items that a mother needs to take care of her newborns, like bassinettes and things to use in the room. Carpenter said they also like to supply them with other baby necessities like sleepers, preemie diapers and bathing supplies.

Since they don’t normally have this many babies in the house, they’re running low on some of those supplies. 

“We’d like to be able to give our families that are bringing these babies back just a little set of tools and things that they can use to care for their new babies,” said Carpenter. 

RMHWM is looking for support from the community to help the families staying there. There is a wish list of baby supplies on Amazon that can be purchased and sent directly to the house. You can also purchase the items elsewhere and drop them off at the facility.

They also accept monetary donations and meals for families

For one family who recently had quadruplets, the support means the world to them. 

Carrie and Devin Imm, who are currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan, welcomed quadruplets on Sept. 20, 2021. (Courtesy RMHWM)

“Throughout the whole pregnancy, I feel like we’ve just been so provided for, supported, like kind of loved on by our community. It’s really like brought us together, strengthened our faith, just to see how everyone you know has kind of become our village,” said Carrie Imm. 

Between the commute from Kalamazoo and hospital visitor restrictions on their older two daughters, Carrie Imm and her husband Devin Imm said if it wasn’t for RMHWM, they aren’t sure what they would have done. 

A set of quadruplets born to Carrie and Devin Imm on Sept. 20, 2021. The parents and their two daughters are currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan. (Courtesy RMHWM)

“Right now children aren’t allowed to visit siblings in the NICU, that’s kind of a new COVID visitor restriction, so our time here with our girls is just really great bonding time,” Carrie Imm said. “We can be outdoors in this really beautiful environment, they have activities that they can participate in and I just feel like this is so much more than lodging. This is support for our growing family, this is support for us growing as parents.”

She added that while a multiples pregnancy can be scary, with the resources out there it doesn’t have to be. 

“Our experience throughout the whole thing really has been amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she said.

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