Baby Brody wrapped in a tortilla blanket in the NICU

From Fragile Beginnings to Bright Futures: A Valentine’s Day Love Story

Dad James, Mom Jessica and Baby Brody in front of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit sign.

Mom, Jessica, stayed at the House while Dad, James, held down the fort in Susanville, while driving to Reno every few days.

After baby Brody was born 10 weeks early, his mom, Jessica, was ready to sleep in her car to be close to him while he grew stronger in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Renown Children’s Hospital, one of our House Heroes. Luckily, that wasn’t necessary since the Ronald McDonald House was right there for her. Her room at the House allowed her to be near Baby Brody’s isolette, while giving her a comfortable place to recover from her emergency C-section.  

Jessica stayed at the House for eight weeks, while her husband, James, drove down from their home in Susanville every few days. “We are so grateful for the amazing and supportive staff who helped us with anything and everything we needed,” she says. “And that includes the gas cards we received from the Travel For Treatment program.”

“I would spend sunup to sundown with Brody, come to the House for meals, and do it all over again the next day,” she says. “After spending 10 hours a day in the hospital, going back to the House and finding a warm meal was always such a blessing.” 

Nurse Heather wrapped in a tortilla blanket matching Baby Brody's.

Brody’s favorite Renown nurse, Heather, gave Jessica parenting tips, which she shared with the other moms.

Since Jessica was one of our long-time guests, she had the opportunity to get to know many other families staying at the House. “Nobody wants to be in this situation, and it was nice knowing we weren’t alone,” she says. 

Brody’s favorite nurse, Heather, taught Jessica many parenting lessons, which she was able to share with the other moms staying in the House. 

“It was nice that we could all support each other,” she says. 

While Baby Brody arrived as an early Christmas present, he got to go home just in time for Valentine’s Day. He’s now nestled snugly within the warmth of his family’s love, all comfy and happy in his Susanville home. “It’s nice to be home,” Jessica smiles.

We’re so grateful for the support and generosity we receive from our community — from our volunteers and donors to our staff and House Heroes. We’d especially like to thank our Volunteer Guest Chefs, who were such a big part of helping Jessica and James feel like they were cared for when they stayed with us. And those Guest Chefs aren’t professionals. They are often community and school groups, families and friends, or local companies that volunteer to cook for our guest families. Each and every one of our volunteers helps us keep so many families close.