Here for You, Then and Now: Nina’s Story

When Nina was 16-weeks pregnant, she was celebrating with her husband and three young children, ages 14, 12 and 3.5. Her most recent appointment showed a normal pregnancy and revealed to the family that they would be having a baby boy!

But that joy was quickly replaced by fear and uncertainty. Just four weeks later, Nina learned that she had placenta previa, complications ensued and at 20-weeks pregnant Nina was airlifted to Santa Rosa hospital in San Antonio. And it was here, four hours from her home, her family and all that was familiar and comfortable, that she would spend seven weeks trying to save the life of her unborn child.

During those long weeks, Nina’s husband and three children would often stay the night in the hospital room – spending as much time as a family as possible given the difficult circumstances. At the time, Nina didn’t anticipate that more challenges were yet to come.

After an emergency surgery, Nina’s son, Jon-Carlo, was born weighing a scant 1.8 ounces, and with his birth came the news of his long hospital stay ahead. Nina, on the other hand, would be quickly discharged.

The idea of going home while Jon-Carlo stayed in San Antonio was unimaginable. “I just kept thinking I did not want to be so far away,” said Nina. “What if something happens? I need to be close to my baby.”

The Ronald McDonald House becomes a home away from home

Case workers at Santa Rosa hospital introduced Nina and her family to the Ronald McDonald House. It was conveniently located just across the street from the hospital – she could be just steps from her newborn baby. Along with the convenience, the Ronald McDonald House provided relief from the financial struggles the family was already facing. Nina was also able to have her youngest daughter with her, and they could easily walk to the hospital, leaving the family’s one car home with her husband.

After a long day at the hospital, Nina was so thankful to return to the Ronald McDonald House where she could shower, enjoy a refrigerator stocked with food to prepare for dinner, and sleep in comfort.

 “There are no words to describe how grateful I am for the opportunity,” said Nina.

In 2003, Jon-Carlo spent eight weeks in the hospital, while his mom and sister lived next door at the Ronald McDonald House. He went home with them, where the family, no doubt, celebrated his homecoming with even more excitement than the day his gender was revealed.

Today, Jon-Carlo is a happy and healthy basketball-loving young man who recently graduated from high school.


November is National Prematurity Awareness Month. Your support ensures we can continue to keep families like Jon-Carlo’s steps away from what’s most important – then and now.