I have always had a heart for service; there is nothing I enjoy as much as lending myself to others, especially in a time of need. After my first NICU stay I knew I wanted to do something for families who were in the throes of NICU life. I knew I wanted to reach out and somehow comfort those moms and dads. I had so many plans, but I didn’t quite know how to execute. So I prayed and I journaled and I prayed and I journaled some more. I wrote down everything. I called hospitals, spoke with nurses that headed their hospital’s NICU. They were thrilled about the ideas I threw out. I spoke with families who were preparing for early births, families who were transitioning out of the hospital (that can be just as scary as learning that your LO has been admitted to the NICU), and families that were in the thick of it. Nothing I did seemed like enough. I knew I couldn’t take the pain, worry, and fear away. That was not my intention. I just wanted to provide something tangible for those families. I wanted them to know that they were not alone. That their helplessness, fear, panic, and uncertainty resonated with me.
After I had my daughter I knew exactly what I needed to do and how I needed to do it. So I got to work. I grabbed my list and I headed to Target. 3 different Targets! Lol. I was a woman on a mission! It was everything I needed, having dealt with birth trauma and PPD, it was a great way to escape my own pain and drown out the constant voices in my head. Valentines Day was rapidly approaching and it was my intention to use that as a theme to keep from going overboard – which, as we all know is far too easy to do in Target. I found those adorable pink and white bags in the bullseye playground and filled them with goodies, stationery, and a few other items. There were just over 60 families in my NICU, so I had my hands full! But it was worth it! The actual delivery was emotional. It was cathartic; seeing those other moms, hugging them, it was an indescribable feeling. Seeing the nurses who I had come to know and love; it was everything I didn’t know I needed. I wasn’t able to get photos with all the moms, but I did manage to speak with them and just share their space and listen to their stories. It’s something I will carry with me forever.
I am always looking for new ideas and items to include in care packages. Some of my faves are journals, pens, treats, gift cards – food, gas, and shutterfly, quarters for vending machines, diapers/wipes for families that are transitioning out of NICU, personal letters from former NICU moms, preemie literature, and so many other things I can’t even think of right now. I also try to include a big basket for the nurses, as they care for our tiny survivors around the clock. They need love and support too!
Let me know what you’re doing or what you would like to do. You can also send me a message if you would like to get involved (write a letter, sponsor a family, etc…).