Chad Carlson’s bear hunting trip was put on the back burner when his wife, Lindsay’s, routine prenatal appointment turned into an emergency procedure. The couple from Ottumwa, Iowa, learned that their baby was having complications, and he would need to be delivered at 33 weeks and five days. Their newborn son, David, spent the next month in the NICU at the UI Stead Family Children Hospital. When Lindsay was released six days after David’s birth, she worried about where they would stay and how they would afford to be close to their new baby. They found the support they needed at the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City.
Chad and Lindsay’s stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City lasted 25 days. Lindsay will never forget the Mother’s Room in the House. She would grab water and snacks that were available in the kitchen and sit in a comfortable armchair in a quiet space while she utilized the hospital grade pump to supply milk for David. The Carlsons were grateful that their every need was met. Chad explained, “Having a place to stay near the hospital was a tremendous relief. It was the small things that made the difference; a parking pass, a kitchen to use, a grill, cooked food, all of the day-to-day necessities. To have an opportunity to bring some level of normalcy to life during an uncertain time was really a blessing. It took away a lot of our worries and allowed us to focus on David.”
This was not Lindsey Carlson’s first experience with RMHC-EIWI. In 1993, four-year-old Lindsay had surgery to remove a brain tumor. Her parents and brother found a home at the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City during her 62 day stay in the hospital. Lindsay shared, “I was told growing up how wonderful the Ronald McDonald House was, but I had never stepped inside it. It wasn’t until September 2021 that I had the chance to witness what a blessing the House is for myself.” She explained that her parents have lifelong friends they made during their stay and found a community that has continued to impact their lives over the last 28 years. Lindsay expressed what a full circle moment it has been to find comfort and hope in the same organization that her parents used so long ago.