Just like any new mom and dad, Angelica and Victor Montalvo know the joy of a new baby. The difference for them is they have to leave little Ethan behind.
Now, St. David's Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas are helping make the situation easier with brand new digs for mom and dad.
“For you to leave him at a hospital and to leave that hospital, you almost feel guilty at times,” Victor said.
Ethan only weighed a little more than five pounds at birth, so he has to stay at St. David's Intensive Care Unit. Any bonding time happens among a string of feeding tubes and incubators.
"When we have to ask the parents to leave their babies here, it’s awful for them," Neonatal ICU Director Rhonda Sageser said.
Now, when mom and dad have to leave ICU, they head to a home away from home, just downstairs. This is thanks to Austin's third and largest Ronald McDonald Family Room. It has four bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and toys for big brother and sister to play with.
“This is an ADA compliant bathroom; two bathrooms with showers,” Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Jerome said, “What this family room does is bring a small feeling of the Ronald McDonald House into a hospital setting.”
It’s a place mom and dad can hang out between trips to the ICU. The room just opened less than a month ago and saves long trips to and from the hospital.
“We believe this is the best thing we’ve done for our families in the 20 years I’ve been here,” Sageser said.
For the Montalvo's the family room is a life saver until it’s time for little Ethan to be able to go home.
“To be able to go downstairs, just have a seat, then an hour later, come back to see him that’s awesome,” Victor said.