Rathbun House Wishes Jacob a Happy 5th Birthday!
Recently, former guests of the Rathbun House, the Soucie Family, stopped by the House with a Heart to say hello and deliver snacks and pantry items for current guests to enjoy. We asked Sara Soucie why she made this special visit five years after she and her husband first stepped foot in the hospitality house. We are happy to share her story in her words:
The Rathbun House was such a blessing in one of the scariest times of our family’s life. My husband, Ryan, and I decided to take a “baby moon” to Asheville from our hometown of Gainesville, Florida. The first day we were there, I showed some signs of labor, and we decided to go to the hospital. I was only 24 weeks pregnant. I was admitted to Mission Hospital, and doctors were able to stabilize me for four days. During those nerve-wracking four days, a social worker talked to us about the Rathbun House and how it provides free lodging for families receiving care at local hospitals.
Our son, Jacob, was born on August 28, 2018, weighing 1lb 7oz. We were so unsure of his future and how we would even get back home to Florida, let alone where we could live while Jacob remained at Mission’s NICU. We only cared about how he was doing and what we could do to learn about his diagnosis.
The day I was discharged from the hospital, we were informed that a room was available at Rathbun House. That was such a weight lifted off our shoulders! Having such a short drive from the hospital to Rathbun House was a blessing. Rathbun gave us a place to shower, eat, and rest. I had a c-section, and there was even a wheelchair available for me to use. Even the smallest touches like toiletries, towels, a community fridge, and a private balcony in our room for a few minutes of peace were so thoughtful and appreciated. Rathbun House allowed us to focus on Jacob while trying to take care of ourselves.
We stayed at the Rathbun House for six weeks before our home NICU flight-team could transport Jacob back to Florida. He remained in the Gainesville NICU for another five months — a total of 6.5 months in a hospital. We are happy to report he is now a silly, monster truck loving little boy! He is still overcoming developmental delays, relies on his G-Tube (feeding tube) for nutrition, and has Chronic Lung Disease. He’s overcome his share of obstacles, but we are so proud of him.