It’s 3:00 a.m. My wife taps me on the shoulder. She tells me that we need to go to the hospital. We were 10 weeks from our baby’s due date. I kind of dismissed it as a false alarm. But as it turned out, Oliver was ready to enter this world. Ready or not.
I had no preconceived ideas of how the birthing process should go, but in the back of mind I knew our baby was premature – and that complications were a real possibility. Deep down there was this little fear that I might leave the hospital without my son or my wife. Just me walking away alone. Thankfully that wasn’t the case.
Several hours after the delivery, I began realizing we were going to be here awhile. The adrenaline was wearing off and I was getting tired. I remembered hearing about the Ronald McDonald Family Room® – a place where new fathers could go especially since newborns and their mothers are being taken care of by the hospital. As time wore on, the Family Room started to sound really good.
I was splitting time between Ashley, my wife and Oliver, so my time was valuable. I didn’t want to leave the hospital, but I still needed to eat and rest from time to time. I just needed to regroup, so I could be the best I could be for my wife and son.
The food and everything the volunteers did for us was phenomenal, but the best thing of all was the sense of community – sharing time with other families who were going through a tough time. It was reassuring to know that you weren’t the only one struggling. There were times when we spoke and many times when we didn’t.
But there was always a sense of understanding even if it was just a knowing look. For me, it was very important to know I wasn’t alone. That feeling always stood out in my mind as something that makes the Family Room unique and really special.
Caleb Knapp with Ashley and Oliver