A Mystery and a Miracle

Jason & I were playground sweethearts! Who would ever imagine that two young children brought together by mom’s who were best friends would ever be here over 10 years later, married with 3 children! It sounds like a fairy tale, but our “happily ever after” took a detour this past November.

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We were pregnant with our third child, eagerly anticipating our March 21st due date. My first two pregnancies were fine and there were no issues with my recent pregnancy: I was healthy, our baby was healthy. That all changed late November. I started having problems, but the cause was a mystery. Suddenly there was concern that our baby might not make it. On December 3rd I woke up and realized my water broke. Our baby was going to be born. My husband Jason, quickly brought our 2 young children, Juliet and Julian, next door to my mother’s and immediately returned to call 911. When EMS arrived, I was helped to a wheel chair to be taken to the hospital for delivery, but our baby had a very different idea. It was like a slow-motion fog, I was in our bathroom, propped up in the wheel chair, my husband was kneeling in front of me, I am saying “this baby is coming now”, and seconds later my husband was catching our son. Julius was born that December 3rd at 7:40am, he was four months early and weighted only 1lb-9ozs. We were both scared and worried. Think about it, my husband just caught our baby and I just had our baby at home – it was like an out-of-body experience until Julius opened his eyes and let out a cry. At that point in our hearts we knew that everything was going to be ok. Julius was in Oishei Children’s Hospital, in the hands of the best doctors and was watched over by an amazing nursing staff and God. Our little Julius was alive, still here and still fighting.

We live close by in Cheektowaga, so Jason was with me and Julius every day at the hospital. I’ll never forget when I was having one particularly rough day. That was the day when our Social Worker suggested that Jason and I take a break from my room and go to the 5th floor to visit the Ronald McDonald House Family Lounge.

We walked into the Family Lounge together that very day. I never expected a small Lounge to make us feel so relaxed. Suddenly we were surrounded by a positive energy and a sense of calm. The Lounge volunteers were so welcoming and supportive. They really listened to us and cared. We began to visit the Lounge every day and continued to after I was discharged for the 7 months that Julius remained in the hospital. On each visit, we were greeted by the same warmth no matter what volunteer was there that day. Many times we brought our other children who happily played with a great assortment of toys and their new Lounge volunteer playmates. Our kids still to this day talk about going to the room with the “red shoes” outside the door!

img_20180801_183151_393But what Jason and I never expected was that the Family Lounge and the volunteers became like family to us. They encouraged camaraderie between us and other Lounge visitors who also had preemie children. I suddenly had an outlet and an additional support system. We could share our story with other mothers and couples going through what we were. We exchanged phone numbers and spent many hours talking, crying and laughing together. I don’t know what we would have done without the friendships forged in the Ronald McDonald House Family Lounge.

Julius is home now, but we still visit the Family Lounge on our follow-up appointment days. Jason and I are so thankful for RMHC, the Family Lounge and the positive friendships and support system. The Lounge became a part of our family and it is and always will be a beautiful thing.

– Javannah & Jason Brooks

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden passing of Jason Brooks on August 2nd. We share his story at the request of his wife as a tribute to the memories they shared together in our Family Lounge.