Supporting Parents with Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

James Theodore Clutz, “Theo”, made his way into this world on April 2, 2021 but nothing about his birth was expected. These gushing parents-to-be were on cloud 9 when they found out they were expecting, but that all came crashing down when Amanda’s water broke at just 17 weeks pregnant. At the emergency room, the doctors gave a bleak outlook. They expected Amanda to go into labor within 48 hours and if Theo was born at 17 weeks, he would have less than 5% chance of survival.

Thankfully, Amanda did not go into labor and was sent home on bed rest. At 22 weeks, Amanda was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio (CHOSA) to allow constant monitoring of Theo. At 31 weeks, Amanda went into labor and needed a Cesarean section. She called her husband, James, at 4:30am to break the news. After an hour drive to the hospital, James arrived just as Amanda was being taken into surgery.

On April 2, 2021, Theo was born weighing 3 pounds and 8 ounces with underdeveloped lungs. Theo was immediately admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and placed on a ventilator with oxygen. A few days later, Amanda was discharged from the hospital, but Theo’s stay was far from over.

Luckily, Amanda was able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of San Antonio located on the 4th floor of CHOSA just one floor down from the NICU.  Theo remained on the ventilator for 13 days and oxygen for 7 weeks.

Amanda shares, “Being able to stay just one floor down from my son gave me peace of mind. My whole heart was in the NICU and there was no way that I could leave the hospital. I needed to be close to my baby. Knowing that I could be by his side in under 5 mins, took a lot of stress away. I was able to give Theo my full attention and be there for him all day and night.”

After 9 intensive weeks, Theo graduated from the NICU and was able to go home! We followed up with the Clutz family and are thrilled to report Theo is 8 months old and is meeting every milestone. He is a happy kid who loves playing and being with his cousins.

How Ronald McDonald House Charities® of San Antonio Helps Families

After a baby is born prematurely, the mother is typically discharged within 3 days, while the child requires additional time in the NICU for weeks or even months. The amount of stress and strain this puts on a family is unimaginable. Parents want and need to the by their child’s bedside but the cost of a hotel, food and transportation is $5,000 each month. Few families can afford this but the thought of leaving their child alone is unbearable.

This is how Ronald McDonald House Charities® of San Antonio can help. When a parent is focused on the health of their child, nothing else should matter, not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night.

Families with children receiving medical services in San Antonio can stay at our House, at no cost to them, for as a long as their child is receiving treatment. Our homes provide safe and secure lodging, meals, and transportation to and from the hospital.

Our homes can accommodate up to four family members per room so families are not separated. Thanks to the support of our community, our families never have to sleep in their car, eat out of a vending machine or contemplate leaving their child alone in the hospital.

Donate today and join our community to keep families together when it matters most.