Giles Family Story: Thriving and growing with RMHCA

Gracie and Mom

Gracie and Mom enjoy kangaroo care!

Baby Gracie was born at 26 weeks weighing 2 pounds and 4 ounces.

“She always has her eyes open,” proud mom Ambrosha shares. “She has fire.”

Ambrosha’s family is no stranger to preemie babies.

“[My mom] went through the same thing with me, as a 26 weeker,” Ambrosha says.

Gracie was born on August 24 but Ambrosha was unable to stay in Birmingham with her until September 15. Ambrosha recalls driving to Birmingham twice a week from her hometown of Livingston, Alabama to visit her daughter.

“Traveling back and forth was very stressful and expensive. Those two weeks I think I had more tears than I had cried in my whole life, just because I couldn’t be here with Gracie,” Ambrosha says.

When Ambrosha did get to visit her daughter, it was only for about an hour at a time before she had to leave to go back home.

However, all of that changed when Ambrosha was able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House.

Gracie and Mom in the NICU

Gracie and Mom in the NICU

“My first day [here], she didn’t have that c-pap [and] I was so excited. The nurses told me, ‘Now that she knows you’re here, she is going to move faster.’ She knows my voice and she loves to hear it. Most of her weight gain started when I got here,” Ambrosha says.

According to March of Dimes, physical contact, sometimes called skin to skin care or kangaroo care, has many benefits for premature babies including weight gain, improved breathing and more time in deep sleep. Parents can also benefit from kangaroo care as it can help reduce stress, make them feel closer to their baby and may help some moms make more breast milk.

Ambrosha says the Ronald McDonald House has many features to make her feel more at home, but she really appreciates the family kitchens.

Gracie Giles at home

Gracie Giles at home.

“I like to cook. I get up and cook grits, eggs. It makes me feel more at home,” she says.

And if she doesn’t feel like cooking, Ambrosha knows she can enjoy a home-cooked meal, prepared by volunteers.

“The meals definitely help, especially when your finances are not where you want them to be. Every little bit counts,” she says.

Ambrosha says she really believes being able to visit Gracie every day has helped her grow. She hopes that the community understands how much their time or donations mean to families like hers.

“On behalf [of myself] and the other guests, I just want to say thank you. People don’t understand how much of a gift – even $10 – makes a big difference to someone that doesn’t have anything,” she says.

If you would like to help us keep mothers and babies close to one another, consider making a donation today!