Very Precious Cargo
Home away from home.
Very precious cargo
When Timaru parents Kendall and Joshua MacDonald found out they would have to stay at our Christchurch House, they were apprehensive.
Unsurprisingly so – their little family of three was about to become a family of seven, with the impending arrival of New Zealand’s first set of quadruplets in over two decades.
Kendall had been taking the fertility drug clomiphene to help ovulate. However doctors were unsure if this caused the pregnancy, or if they conceived the quadruplets naturally.
Already overwhelmed by this news, Kendall and Josh were told by Timaru Hospital doctors they needed to move to Christchurch with their then 3-year-old son, Brooklyn, so they could be close to specialised medical care necessary to safely monitor the four babies.
Kendall describes a feeling of anxiety when she was told they needed to go to Christchurch when she was only 25 weeks pregnant.
“There was so much anxiety, not knowing anything about Ronald McDonald House and being away from home – it was so scary we didn’t want to do it.”
Their fears evaporated when they walked into our Christchurch House, which became their ‘home-away-from-home’ for 96 nights.
“Staying at the House was such a relief. The team was so amazing and immediately made us feel at home,” says Kendall.
Josh says the team helped them enrol Brooklyn in a Christchurch preschool, and put them at ease.
“We had no daily living stresses – dinner was cooked almost every night, and the team could help us organise everything we needed.”
We also made some amazing friendships, especially the other families with babies in hospital.
Then on August 15, when Kendall was just over 28 weeks pregnant, she gave birth to four healthy babies – Molly, Quinn, Indie and Hudson.
“It was surreal,” recalls Kendall.
“I was still a bit out of sorts from the C-section. The doctors had prepared us for the worst, but the babies were born at a healthy weight and we were so happy.”
The four precious MacDonald babies then spent time at Christchurch Women’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, where they received specialised care, and help learning to feed.
“It was always emotional leaving the babies in hospital, but it was so much better being able to stay so close to them at Ronald McDonald House.”
Then when they were strong enough, the babies were transferred to Timaru Hospital, before the MacDonald family was able to settle their family into a ‘new normal’ at home.
This meant a new car, extra support from nannies, and learning to balance feeding, nappy changing, and time for big brother Brooklyn.
Telling the quadruplets apart has been a challenge at times, laughs Kendall and Josh.
Since their birth just over six months ago, Kendall says Molly, Quinn, Indie and Hudson have defied the odds, and are growing into happy, healthy little individuals.
Looking back, Kendall and Josh don’t know what they would have done if the Christchurch House was not available, just moments away from the hospital.
“We always say we don’t know what we would have done had this place not been available. Especially being so close, it was such a relief,” says Kendall.
To the generous good sorts who donate to Ronald McDonald House South Island, Kendall says her family is evidence the giving makes a difference.
“Thank you – it really does help to keep families close.”
To keep up-to-date with this family’s incredible journey, follow ‘Quad Mum Plus One’ on Facebook or Instagram.