October 10 was a regular, beautiful autumn day, and one we will now celebrate forever. It is the day my son and his wife gave birth to twins, Jack and Eloise “Ellie,” at 34 weeks gestation.
I could never have imagined the novel I wrote about the inception of the infant incubator would become so personal to our family.
All of the years of research I did on prematurity, on organizations that support premature babies and their families, and even the days I spent as an RN working in the NICU are now acutely and indeed life-saving and important to us.
While Jack was able to go home last week, little-but-mighty Ellie has been in the NICU for over three weeks now gaining enough strength and weight to eat. We so hope and pray she can come home soon!
Even as a grandma, a NICU stay is a tsunami of heart-wrenching emotions: celebration of new life, the ache of watching your son and daughter-in-law having to leave their babies to go home for much needed rest, the double ache when one twin goes home and the other must stay, the first holiday (Halloween!) spent in the NICU, and all the hard and joys of new parenthood exponentially intensified because nothing about it is what is “supposed” to happen. How much more all of this is true for the mother and father!
(I’m fiercely protective of my family, even moreso my grandchildren, so I won’t be posting public photos of them except for ones like this of sweet Jack holding my finger. But believe me, they’re the cutest little pumpkins in the world!)
According to the March of Dimes, “November is Prematurity Awareness Month—an important time to raise awareness of the maternal and infant health crisis of preterm birth and ask for lifesaving donations in honor of World Prematurity Day, November 17. The U.S. remains among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth. Prematurity affects too many moms and babies and is fueled significantly by disparities in our health care system, communities and institutions.”
As such, please consider donating to one of the organizations listed below which provide crucial support to those impacted by prematurity.
To the first five people who donate and provide a receipt of that donation, I will send a free, signed copy of Miracle at the Sideshow.
Hand to Hold® is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) parents with personalized emotional support, educational resources and community before, during and after their baby’s NICU stay. NICU support is available at no cost to NICU parents.
Dear NICU Mama is a non-profit designed to connect, encourage, and create community with past and present NICU moms. Whether a NICU journey was 16 years ago or whether caregivers are still sitting in the hospital today, Dear NICU Mama brings together a beautiful sisterhood of women that are waiting to walk alongside of each other and hear each others’ stories.
March of Dimes‘ mission is to lead the fight for the health of all moms and babies. Their goals are to end the preventable maternal health risks and deaths, end preventable preterm birth and infant death, and close the health equity gap.
Another website with wonderful support for NICU caregivers is Blooming Littles. Kate is an occupational therapist committed to educating and equipping NICU caregivers with practical, hands-on, and evidence-based strategies that support development. A mama and certified neonatal occupational therapist with a heart for NICU babies & their families, Kate believes in equipping caregivers with the tools needed to navigate infant development in the NICU and care for babies with confidence.
Stay tuned to my Instagram and Facebook Page for more specials as the month goes on.
In the meantime, we would certainly appreciate prayers for our little warriors, Jack and miss Ellie, and for our son and daughter-in-law as they walk this courageous journey of prematurity and new parenthood.