Lynnsee’s Full Circle Journey

"I never imagined that I would one day be the one receiving help from RMHC. It was a profound experience."

Lynnsee Boyse is a Senior Project Manager at JE Dunn Construction and has volunteered for several years at Ronald McDonald House Charities Greater Houston by serving meals, organizing donation drives, and facilitating Bingo nights. What began as a civic activity with friends and colleagues became a full circle journey when Lynsee experienced a medical emergency and found herself in the care of a Ronald McDonald House.

Lynnsee and her husband, Kyle, were thrilled about the impending arrival of their first child.  Around 6 months into her pregnancy, the couple drove to Oklahoma for a baby shower thrown by college friends, past coworkers, and in-laws who were eager to celebrate the expecting parents. The night before the shower, Lynnsee woke up at 3am, alarmed that her water had broken. They rushed to Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, where doctors determined that her membranes had ruptured prematurely. She was immediately admitted in an effort to extend her pregnancy – each additional day was critical.

“I’m a planner – I like to have a plan, but this situation was completely out of my control,” Lynnsee says. The treatments to extend her pregnancy made her ill, she was on complete bed rest, she was unable to move more than a few feet, and her hospital room did not have windows. “It was physically, mentally, and emotionally grueling.”

She carried her pregnancy for six additional days, and on March 9th, Nora, was born at 27 weeks, weighing 2 pounds, 11 ounces. After Lynnsee and Kyle briefly held their daughter, she was whisked to the NICU. Amazingly, Nora was born breathing on her own and scored an astounding 9 on the APGAR scale – nearly unheard of in a micro-preemie.

With little more than an overnight bag, Lynnsee and Kyle moved to the Ronald McDonald House inside Oklahoma Children’s Hospital to stay close to Nora.

“Being able to go see my daughter at any time was pivotal for me, especially from a mental health standpoint. We could be at her side every night before bed during her final ‘touch time,’” Lynnsee recalls. “The RMH staff knew I was struggling day to day, and they went over and beyond to make us feel at home. They took care of everything from clothes to toiletries to food. They even baked me a cake, decorated our bedroom door and gave me the sweetest birthday card, which I still have.”

It was on Lynnsee’s birthday, and after one month in the NICU, that Nora was transferred to Methodist West/Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where she completed her 86-day NICU stay before finally going home with Lynnsee and Kyle.

“I had always been on the other side of the table,” Lynnsee says. “I never imagined that I would one day be the one receiving help from RMHC. It was a profound experience.”

Lynnsee’s journey transformed her perspective on volunteering. “Now, when I volunteer at RMHC, I really “see” the parents instead of just focusing on the children. I know what they are going through, especially if they are NICU parents. I want to encourage them, offer a prayer, a hug, a sense of community – anything that lets them know they are not alone. I’m thankful that JE Dunn is deeply involved in our communities and supports me so I can continue to give back. Today, volunteering at Ronald McDonald House is my way of saying ‘thank you’ for being there for me and my family during one of the most difficult periods of our lives.”