The Molleda Family

After countless rounds of IVF, Brittany, Shazay, and their daughter Olivia were soon to be a family of four. They were ecstatic. However, when Brittany was 28 weeks pregnant, she went into early labor.

When Zadakiel was born on February 19, he and Brittany suffered medical emergencies. They were rushed to Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital over an hour away from home. 

“I was having severe headaches and I later found out I had a mini stroke,” Brittany said. “I delivered him naturally because he was so small, but then we lost his heartbeat.”

Zadakiel regained his heartbeat with oxygen support and immediately went to the NICU. He needed to stay in the hospital for an unforeseen amount of time.

When they realized Zadakiel would be hospitalized for months, they faced an impossible decision: find a way to stay in Chicago – over an hour away from their home in Wisconsin – or leave their baby’s side. 

“We thought to ourselves, ‘How are we going to pick between not seeing our baby, or going into financial strain?'” Brittany said.

Thanks to generous donors, they could turn to Ronald McDonald House as a home away from home for the next four months.

“We wouldn’t be able to see our son if it wasn’t for Ronald McDonald House,” Brittany noted.

The family used it as a place to rest after long days in the NICU, spend time with their daughter, enjoy home-cooked meals, and more. Brittany’s also an avid baker, so having the kitchen to bake offered her a haven to relax and unwind.  

By spending time baking cookies for everyone to enjoy, Brittany met other families who became friends and sources of support. She remembers sharing a table with another mom, and how they didn’t have to explain the stress they were both experiencing. 

“Everyone here is so welcoming and friendly, Brittany said. “Ronald McDonald House has allowed us to be together as a family and connect with others in a similar situation as us. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

Zadakiel was discharged from the NICU at four months old. Today, he is nine months old, and though he still has a medical journey ahead, the Molleda family couldn’t be happier to have him home. They’re enjoying all the love, cuddles, and time together.

Thanks to your support, families can focus on what matters most this holiday season: The health of their child. Please make a donation so more families can have a peaceful place to rest, home-cooked meals, and the chance to be together.