Ronald McDonald House
“My Mother is Amazing!”
By Gene Davis
Twenty–three–year–old Ashley Benz of Kihei, Maui wasn’t supposed to be able to conceive children because of her bout with cervical cancer some six years earlier, so when she found out she was pregnant with twins, it was a total surprise. “I guess they didn’t think I had an adequate cervix,” Ashley said, displaying her wry sense of humor. “Needless to say, they were wrong.”
Her pregnancy was not typical either. She lost 20 pounds the first four months and became diabetic in the process. Then her babies came nine weeks early, weighing less than four pounds each. They had barely made it to Oahu in time for the delivery, and both infant boys had typical preemie issues requiring weeks of intensive treatment.
All through her pregnancy Ashley felt that she was communicating with her unborn babies. “We got along fine, and they made it as easy as it could be for me. They filled me with so much joy and energy that nothing could faze me.” When she arrived at the hospital on Maui, she had begun having contractions and within an hour, she was sent by air ambulance to Honolulu. “So two hours after being admitted to the hospital on Maui, I was admitted at Kaiser Moanalua on Oahu. Within 15 hours of my first contraction David was out. Jase came out screaming a few minutes later.”
The boys needed to feel their mommy’s touch, hear her voice and feel her presence, as they struggled to gain strength. That was made possible because when she was discharged, Ashley stayed nearby at the Oahu Avenue Ronald McDonald House with her own mom, Kathleen, along to help. When the first twin, David, was released, they relocated to the Judd Hillside Ronald McDonald House, and Grandma would look after him at the House, while Ashley spent long hours attending to David’s brother, Jase, who needed a little longer to develop.
“My mother is amazing and I appreciate her so much. I just can’t imagine what I would have done without her,” Ashley said with admiration. “And if it weren’t for the Ronald McDonald House, I would have been lost. Coming here is like walking into your own home. There’s such a warm feeling.”
Kathleen said that the new friends they have made, and the caring and sharing at the House has meant a lot. “This House is filled with angels,” she explained. “And I know our lives are enriched because of the experience. This has probably been one of the best experiences of our lives.”