Ronald McDonald House stay forges lifelong bonds for Bombala family

When Meredith Page's waters broke at 25 weeks the "absolute panic and distress" was palpable.

The Bombala woman was rushed to Bombala Hospital before being transferred to Canberra.

TINY TOUCH: Millie Page at four days old. She was born at 26 weeks with her parents grateful for the enduring support of Ronald McDonald House Charities. Picture: Supplied

TINY TOUCH: Millie Page at four days old. She was born at 26 weeks with her parents grateful for the enduring support of Ronald McDonald House Charities. Picture: Supplied

She was in hospital for a week being monitored closely to make sure an infection didn't set in, before it was decided the baby had to come out.

"We had no idea you could have a baby that early," Meredith said. "But the hospital was very good at letting us know about what was needed every step of the way."

Millicent - Millie - was born 14 weeks early weighing 866 grams and could fit on the palm of her dad's hand.

She was in hospital for 123 nights - four months - before being well enough to head home.

Millie is now two years old and a "fantastic, feisty, wild, real country girl". And Meredith and husband Ross said they owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ronald McDonald House Charities.


In the lead-up to Ronald McDonald House's big annual fundraiser, McHappy Day, on November 16, Meredith couldn't speak more highly about their experience with the charity.

"Ronald McDonald House becomes your family," she said.

"Everyone there are all away from home, without the support of their families, and wondering if their baby is going to survive.

"You're in such a distressed state and trying to take in so much info.

"But you sit down at the end of the day and you could've had the worst day or the best, but you all support each other."

The RMHC facility in Canberra Hospital was only a doorway and short flight of steps from NICU meaning Meredith and Ross could be at Millie's bedside anytime day or night.

The "house" has all the conveniences of home, your own bedroom and bathroom, a communal kitchen and play area, with all linen provided and volunteers preparing meals.

"They take care of all the day to day things, you don't have to worry about anything. They are there to talk if you need to as well.

"It's not just care for Millie but caring for us as well."


Meredith said the charity also operates a retreat at Batemans Bay, at which they spent a week to "regroup" several months after Millie was born.

It's not just care for Millie but caring for us as well.

Meredith Page

The bond between the families all using the RHMC facility at the same time as the Pages is so strong they continue to stay in weekly contact, and even gather to share the combined birthdays of their children.

"We feel blessed." Meredith said. "We made a beautiful group of lifelong friends - it's like a huge share house.

"We're so grateful for everything Ronald McDonald House did for us. Every time we go through Canberra we stop in and say hi."

Those friendly bonds and emotional support as well as medical even gave the Pages enough confidence to try for another child despite what they'd been through.

They are happy to report a little sister or brother for Millie is due within weeks!

  • On Saturday, November 16, $2 from every Big Mac sold will be donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

This story Bombala parents' gratitude for charity support with premature baby first appeared on Bega District News.

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