When Minerva Romo’s daughter, Hanna, was born on July 13, she was 16 weeks early and weighed only 25 ounces. It was another two days before this mama was allowed to touch her tiny daughter – and as Hanna somehow managed to clutch Minerva’s finger, she marveled that something so small could struggle so fiercely to hold to life. Another three days went by before she could hold her new bebé in her arms. Those next few days in a St. George hospital were filled with uncertainty and careful observation, with losses and gains, hope and discouragement – but by day 12, not even two weeks old, a pierced intestine meant that Hanna would need emergency surgery. She was taken by LifeFlight to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
The doctors had told them that the little girl needed specialized help, but the desperate mother knew they had no money for a hotel, no family or friends that could help so far from home, and still had difficulty speaking English. For her child, though, there was no other choice, and they headed to the big hospital up north. And there, in Salt Lake City, they found the Ronald McDonald House.
Against all expectation, Hanna made it through a successful surgery – and Minerva knew she had a little warrior on her hands. The next few weeks continued to be difficult, as the bebé needed help to breathe and her pre-term body needed time to grow and adapt and become strong. In the meantime, Minerva settled into the Ronald McDonald House and found (to her surprise) Spanish-speaking staff members and other parents also supporting children in difficult circumstances. She began to make friends, to cook and laugh and listen to other family stories, as Hanna healed from her surgery and her system began to be able to tolerate food. For 5 months the Ronald McDonald House was home, and Hanna finally breathed on her own. This is, Minerva says, ‘the best story of my life.’ She continues, ‘the Ronald McDonald House was a blessing for us. Without the aid they would have been a much more difficult five months that we spent in the hospital. We will be eternally grateful to all the staff for their human warmth – we keep each and every one of you in our hearts.’
We love you, Minerva, and are so happy for your family!