Giving birth can lead to a series of life-threatening complications and hefty hospital bills. That’s what happened to Amanda McQuillan and Adam Revetta after they welcomed their third child into the world. They were already the parents of two boys and were surprised to find out they were having a girl.
“Super surprised because after having two boys you just expect you’ll have another,” Adam said of their daughter Rosie.
“And when it was a girl, we both were shocked and taken back and very excited,” Amanda said.
The birth went smoothly back in July, but Amanda noticed something strange when she tried to give Rosie a bath at home.
“She was just twitching. It was something little in her arm, nothing too crazy. Just a little twitch,” said Amanda. They brought Rosie to a pediatrician and the twitching stopped, but the problem worsened once they returned home. They finally wound up at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburg.
“I think at that time we were trying to convince ourselves, better safe than sorry, better to go in, get it checked out and then say everything is fine and just come on home like it’s a normal day,” Amanda recalled. But what started as a one-day visit led to 22 days in the hospital. Rosie received dozens of tests and an MRI during that time.
“Her brain and the lining of her brain was swollen. So, if you have Acute Meningitis, the lining of the brain is swollen, and if you have Acute Meningoencephalitis, your brain is swollen; and unfortunately, she had both,” Amanda explained.
The couple watched as their newborn was hooked up to wires and tubes for the next several weeks. Amanda said every day was excruciating, not knowing whether their daughter would survive.
“Fortunately, we had a lot of great doctors that really gave us things or me things in layman’s terms. I also had her really start to explain things so that it kind of made you feel a little better about things,” said Adam.
Rosie’s condition eventually improved after several procedures. She stopped twitching and started breathing on her own. But the couple was already close to reaching their breaking point. They felt overwhelmed trying to manage their daughter’s care while figuring out how to pay for the exorbitant hospital bills likely headed their way.
That’s when a case worker at UPMC offered to schedule Rosie’s appointments on the couple’s behalf, which ended up making a world of difference.
“It just made the difference because we went through so much and we were so overwhelmed, so just having somebody say, ‘I can take this weight off of you,’ is huge,” Amanda said.
Rosie qualified for the hospital’s Free Care Fund program, which provides financial relief to those struggling to pay their medical bills. She is now four months old and only getting stronger.
Amanda said the compassion and help they received at the hospital will stay with her for the rest of her life. “There’s so many nurses and clinics and secretaries and housekeepers that we’ll never forget,” she said.