a Family Story

This family shares their experience with our Ronald McDonald House program.

the Larson Family

Larson Family

“They came raring bright and early, but not quite ready yet…both weighed 2.5 lbs.
It was the happiest and scariest day of our lives.”
“They came raring bright and early, but not quite ready yet…both weighed 2.5 lbs. It was the happiest and scariest day of our lives.” Family of four: mom, dad, two twin baby girls.

Amanda and Kyle Larson met their twins, Brayden and Joslyn on February 24, 2017 – the exact day the two got engaged five years prior. Though Brayden and Joslyn were born early at 28 weeks, the Larsons had been long awaiting their arrival.

Amanda and Kyle of Williston, ND, tried for 3 ½ years to expand their family after which they tried IVF (In vitro fertilization) at Sanford in Fargo. They were overjoyed to find out they were expecting twins in September 2016.

When Amanda was 22 weeks along, the Larsons learned their babies would be born early. Since Williston does not have a NICU, the couple relocated to Fargo at the end of January unsure when they would return home. A short time later, they were connected to the Ronald McDonald House where a room soon became available at the former North House on Broadway.

Preterm labor started when Amanda was one day shy of 27 weeks. She was admitted into the hospital and given meds to help stop the contractions which made her terribly sick but thankfully worked.

Brayden and Joslyn were born 8 days later at 28 weeks. Of the experience, Amanda shared that “As a new Mom you want nothing more than to meet your new baby and hold them for the first time. Unfortunately, I was not able to see them for 8 hours after birth and was not able to hold them until 24-48 hours later.”

This time was very difficult for the Larsons – their babies were attached to breathing machines, feeding tubes, and heart/oxygen monitors. Amanda and Kyle couldn’t take their babies home and Amanda said, “Leaving them at the hospital every night for 3 months about broke my heart.”

Furthermore, they said, “We were focused on the health and care of our children, trying to learn all this new medical jargon and understand their needs and care, while Kyle also traveled back and forth to Williston to keep things going at work.” Kyle owns a painting business in Williston and was often making the 811-mile round trip drive.

In total, Amanda and Kyle stayed at RMHC for 3 ½ months. During this time, RMHC was a place of comfort, security, and calm. The Larsons appreciated the home-cooked meals and said, “Having volunteers cook meals was so wonderful. It’s such a difficult time for families and not having to worry about cooking on top of everything else was so great.”

The Larsons were grateful for how close RMHC was to the NICU and said, “We were able to spend as much time as possible with our babies, holding, reading, singing, snuggling… This helped with bonding and providing consistent love and care, which helps babies to grow and develop.”

Additionally, the Larsons also gained stability and support from other families going through a similar situation. They’ve got together with the Dockters (who also had twins in the NICU and stayed at RMHC) for a fun outing at the Minot Zoo in Minot, ND. The two families “had lots in common during our stays and were so glad to have met each other.” Finally, the Larsons were able to take Brayden and Joslyn home on May 5, 2017 (their actual due date)! Amanda and Kyle were “relieved, happy, excited, exhausted and terrified.”

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