Today’s guest post is by Carl Hose. He’s here to talk about a subject dear to his heart – The Ronald McDonald House. Please join me in welcoming Carl!
My wife Marcee had an appointment with the baby doctor. Her mom wanted to go along to hear Ireland’s heartbeat. Since it was supposed to be a routine visit, I stayed at home to write and watch our other kids. I’d heard baby Ireland’s heart beat a lot of times. I figured I could let someone else listen for a change, especially when nothing was supposed to happen beyond the ordinary.
Then the phone rang.
It was about 5:30 p.m. My mother-in-law was on the other end of the line. The instant I heard her voice, before I even knew what was going on, I knew the visit had not been ordinary.
She asked if I was sitting down, to which I replied, “No,” and without waiting for me to do so, she said, “Marcee’s in labor.”
Ireland wasn’t technically due until March 3rd, but since Marcee would be having a C-section, the doctor scheduled Ireland’s delivery date for February 13th. This all took place January 27th—six weeks before Ireland was supposed to be here.
I met my wife at the hospital. The plan was to stop her labor by hooking her up to an IV and giving her magnesium sulfate. The room the hospital assigned to Marcee, however, wasn’t ready for her, so we had to wait. It was 6:00 when we arrived at the hospital and 7:20 by the time they actually got her hooked up and the magnesium sulfate going.
It looked like it might work. Just to be on the safe side, the hospital moved Marcee into a regular room as opposed to the triage area. Marcee’s mom left then, to take care of our three boys, Seth, Ethan, and Caleb, who were with their poppa. She figured we’d be home soon enough.
Shortly after she left, everything started going to hell. The contractions didn’t stop. They got worse. Marcee started bleeding, and while the nurse attending to her tried to tell me there was nothing to worry about, I could see the concern etched on her face. The blood coming out of my Marcee wasn’t a trickle. She was gushing blood. The sheets she was lying on were drenched with it.
“We’re keeping her,” the nurse finally said.
“Is she having the baby tonight?” I asked.
Without committing to an answer, she said, “I wouldn’t go anywhere.”
I stepped out of the room long enough to call my mother-in-law and tell her she’d better come back. By the time she arrived, Marcee and I were in the delivery area and the doctors were preparing not only to deliver our child, but to perform surgery on Marcee should the need arise.
I should mention here that Marcee had complete placenta previa, meaning her placenta was blocking the birth canal. This isn’t necessarily an issue unless the previa turns into accreta, which means the placenta attaches to body organs and actually begins to grow into them. When this happens, there can be severe hemorrhaging during delivery (which is always by C-section) and can require a partial or complete hysterectomy.
Ireland was born at 10:35 p.m. Marcee did have accreta. As soon as Ireland was in my arms, the doctors went to work on Marcee and a nurse escorted Ireland and me out of the room.
The placenta had begun to attach to Marcee’s insides and had to be cut away. She ended up with a hysterectomy. While Marcee was in surgery, I took family and friends to see Ireland in the nursery. She was six weeks premature and fighting to adjust to a world outside the womb, but by all accounts, she was doing a good job.
Marcee was out of surgery by 12:30 a.m. and in recovery until three in the morning. I got to see her right away, but she was still out of it from the surgery. It wasn’t long before she was asking to see Ireland, but I wasn’t allowed to wheel her to the nursery until three. Ireland was hooked up to a lot of cords and Marcee was in a wheelchair. One of the nurses said, “We might not be able to get her to you,” and Marcee said, “I’ll stand if I have to.” No way they were going to let her stand, so they made sure to get Ireland in her arms.
The smile on Marcee’s face when she looked at Ireland the first time is something I will never forget.
The next day we were told Ireland was being transported to a hospital better equipped for her needs. The doctors weren’t going to release Marcee just a day after surgery. As much as we hated the thought of the three of us being separated, Marcee and I felt my place was with our baby girl.
I followed Ireland to the new hospital. I was going to sleep by her side in NICU, but the nurses convinced me that would only wear me out and that I would be no good for my daughter in that condition. They pushed the Ronald McDonald House, so I checked into one late that night. The next day, after a C-section and hysterectomy, and definitely against doctor’s orders, Marcee joined me at RMH and we began our three-week stint in a world away from home, where hospital corridors and the Ronald McDonald House became our world.
We were lucky. Our three boys, Seth (11), Ethan (5), and Caleb (2), were staying with their grandparents. That took some of the worry off Marcee and me, although it saddened us to be away from them. Being with their grandparents minimized the break in their routine, but they weren’t accustomed to being without Marcee and me. Each of them handled it in his own way. Seth stepped up and helped out immensely; Ethan was simply sad and very vocal about missing us; Caleb, the wild child, began tossing everything he could into the pool to get attention.
We spent three weeks away from home, living at the Ronald McDonald House with people we didn’t know. Strangers who soon became friends, simply because we all had something in common—a sick child. We made friends there, spent many hours consoling others and being consoled by others. During that time, we counted ourselves lucky. Ireland was in NICU for a relatively minor reason compared to some of the children, and believe me, we heard our share of sad, tragic stories.
After we came home, of course, there were doctor’s appointments and working double time pulling together the stories for the Dark Light anthology. Reading and editing forty-two tales by some of horror’s finest was a time-consuming job.
On June 21st Ireland went through surgery to correct an issue they wanted to correct when she was born. The surgery went well. She is almost five months old and already such an active, strong little girl.
I believe the Ronald McDonald House played a large role in her early development. By making it easy for Marcee and me to be with Ireland around the clock, Ireland was able to grow strong and healthy.
“Dark Light” is about trying to give back to them in some small way all that they have given to us.
Enjoy this short, inspiring YouTube Video!
Buy Link: Amazon
Dark Light Anthology
Dark Light is the light that shines through when some of the finest writers in horror use the power of their words for something good. That’s the case with this anthology—42 writers coming together to help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities and all the good the organization does for families every day of the year.
Make no mistake, though. These are horror writers and the stories they’ve written are not pretty. Traditional and non-traditional horror, dark humor, ghosts, serial killers, alternate universes, magic, zombies, and other creatures of the night hide between these pages. Shadows move and dead fingers stroke unsuspecting flesh, razor sharp knives shimmer in the moonlight, and unknown things hide in closets and under the bed. The stories here are as varied as the writers themselves. If you’re a fan of horror, you will not be let down.
Despite the horrific nature of these tales, however, their very existence in Dark Light stands as proof there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel.
Turn the lights down low and enjoy the show.
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About The Author:
Carl Hose is the author of the anthologies “Deadtown and Other Tales of Horror Set in the Old West,” “Fematales,” “Fematales Supernatural,” “Dead Horizon,” the zombie novella “Dead Rising,” the crime fiction novella “Blood Legacy,” and the erotic anthology “Pornocopia.”
Carl’s work has appeared in the zombie anthology “Cold Storage,” which he co-edited. His work has also appeared in “DeathGrip: It Came from the Cinema,” “DeathGrip: Exit Laughing,” “Loving the Undead,” the erotic paranormal anthology “Beyond Desire,” the “Book of Tentacles,” “Through the Eyes of the Undead,” “Silver Moon, Bloody Bullets,” and Lighthouse Digest magazine.
Carl’s poetry appears in the zombie poetry anthology “Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes.”
Carl’s nonfiction has appeared in Writer’s Journal and the horror film essay anthology “Butcher Knives and Body Counts.”
Carl also edited and published the “Dark Light” anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Connect with Carl on his Website