Our two RMHC Toronto Family Rooms at Credit Valley Hospital helped the Nguyen family stay together.

Aaron wasn’t expecting to feel relaxed after his wife, Nichapa, gave birth to twins prematurely. But the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto Family Room in Credit Valley Hospital (CVH) gave him the moments of comfort and relief he needed.

On Feb. 15, Elsa R. Nguyen and Edwin R. Nguyen were born a minute apart and were immediately transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). As new parents, this was a difficult experience for Aaron and Nichapa.

“Those first few weeks are critical for bonding, but there was no space for us in the NICU. When we discovered the Family Room, it was so convenient for us since it’s literally steps away,” says Aaron.

The RMHC Toronto Family Room in the NICU is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with sleep rooms for overnight use. It also has a lounge area, kitchenette and washroom with showers.

“It was a big relief that we didn’t have to worry about basic things like grabbing a snack or finding a place to rest. The Family Room helped us take care of ourselves and stay close to our babies.”

Aaron and Nichapa with Edwin

Aaron says the warm and comforting environment in the Family Room kept them feeling positive during the long days at the hospital.

“With twins, our stress was doubled. But the supportive environment gave us a positive mindset. We also found that talking with other families in similar situations put us at ease.”

He also credits the volunteers for helping both himself and Nichapa along the way.

“The volunteers made us feel at home. We had great chats with volunteers, which brightened my day.”

On March 2, Edwin and Elsa were discharged and the Nguyen family went home. But two days later, Edwin wasn’t eating and was re-admitted to the Paediatrics Unit at CVH.

While in the Paediatrics Unit, Aaron was surprised to see a volunteer from the Family Room walking down the hall. Confused as to why she was in this area, he followed her to the other RMHC Toronto Family Room at CVH in the Paediatrics Unit.

“I was surprised to see a second Family Room just steps from where we were re-admitted. It was such a relief to be in a cozy room and see a familiar face with everything else going on.”

On March 8, Edwin was discharged, and the family returned home. Since being together as a family of four, Aaron has enjoyed watching his children grow and develop.

“Elsa is laid back and independent while Edwin is perceptive and sensitive. They have different personalities, but they make a great team, especially when they cry together,” he jokes.

Reflecting on those stressful first weeks, Aaron says he’s thankful for the support his family received.

“We never imagined we’d need to use both Family Rooms, but I’m so grateful they were there for us.”

Learn more about the RMHC Toronto Family Rooms.