You’ve never met anyone in our little family, but I wanted to tell you about the impact that you made on us.
What I thought was my perfect pregnancy was interrupted with severe preeclampsia and I was admitted to the hospital where our son was born at just over 29 weeks. He was about 11 weeks early. He was a tiny 2 pounds and 8 ounces – almost immediately lost 4 of those ounces down to 2 pounds 4 ounces – and has spent over 77 days in the hospital so far. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how hard that is.
Those gifts of love that you donated or made with your very own hands comforted a family who has spent a lot of time scared, stressed, and emotionally, physically, and financially drained. They have made a huge difference during a very difficult time.
Specifically, here are some of the precious gifts that we received from some of you:
To the person who made the first thing that I saw when I was wheeled into my baby’s room in the hospital – a beautiful blue and yellow handmade quilt – THANK YOU. That quilt has followed him throughout this journey. It covered his isolette and guarded his tender eyes against harsh light when he needed to rest and was uncomfortable. It shielded him from noise and too much stimulation – something that can cause a lot of discomfort for preemies. It also provided a bright and colorful spot in his room to cheer his daddy and I. When he graduated to a crib, the quilt was put over his other bedding on his bed, like a sheet. It makes the room seem more like home and is a comfort to all of us.
To the people who made his little hats – THANK YOU. They kept his head warm when he was taken out of the isolette – a vital thing in such a tiny baby who can’t regulate his own body temperature. It also covered his fragile little skin and gave us a feeling of safety It helped us to feel a little more “normal.” Hats are often the only thing tiny preemies are allowed to wear, so something as natural and seemingly mundane as caring for your baby by dressing him in the normal way isn’t possible. You gave us the opportunity to care for him in that special and personal way and it gave us cheerful colors in the hospital room. It was something I wasn’t able to do for him (make little hats) at the time and I’m so grateful that you did.
To the person who made the little sweater in pastels with the green buttons – THANK YOU. I know how delicate those knit stitches are and how long it took you to make this. It’s beautiful.
To the person who made the little blue booties that are tied with matching ribbons – THANK YOU. The nurse had them in the isolette when we came back to the room and they really brightened my day. They helped to make the NICU feel more like a nursery instead of a hospital.
To the people who made the “mommy cloths” – THANK YOU. My husband and I wore them in our shirt and it gave us immense comfort knowing we’d be able to leave our scent with our little one when we had to leave or when he was hooked up to machines and we couldn’t hold him. The larger ones were put under his head while he slept and the smaller ones were poked through his pacifier so he could smell them directly. They also made it easier for him to hold his pacifiers – one of the few things that could give him comfort. They helped us to feel like we could do something to comfort him even when we weren’t able to hold him.
To the people who donated scrapbooking materials to the hospital art therapy project – THANK YOU. Your gifts helped many of us to make a memory book for our little babies to record their NICU journey. When we felt powerless to do anything to help our little ones, you gave us a way to feel like we were doing something for their future, which gave us hope. It was also a much-needed distraction in this roller coaster experience and a chance at fellowship with other parents who were going through the same thing.
One of the ladies in our group’s daughter was born with serious brain damage and was not expected to survive, one had no family in the area so she and her husband were all alone, one had just beaten cancer a short time prior to giving birth. Most of us were far, far away from home. Many of us had been there for over a month. These are just a few of the many stories that go through NICU every day.
I can’t begin to tell you how much these gifts meant to us.
Many of the mommies in the NICU never even had a baby shower because our pregnancy was unexpectedly whisked away. Things like “hat day” were really special moments. We knew that someone out there cared. Someone out there was thinking about us and do something to send comfort into our little hospital room.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your thoughtfulness. It meant more than you could ever know.
Update: Our son came home after 94 days in NICU. He is doing well and is now 3 years old. I still treasure the wonderful gifts that we received from anonymous and generous, kind hearts. God bless you for your thoughtfulness. I have kept every single one of these precious pieces and treasure them. I still continue to feel so thankful in my heart for what you did to help our precious little boy and us through one of the hardest times in our lives.