The infographics in this post came from another preemie Mom who has an amazing blog that chronicles their journey, but also provides an immense amount of support and information to the Preemie community. Many Thanks to Tatum at aintnorollercoaster.com .
I hope none of you will know another family going through the trials of a NICU journey, but with 1 in 8 babies being born prematurely the odds are that you will. Below are some wonderful ways that you can help. Ill add some additional ones below as well.
We were lucky that we had many people that reached out to us in the ways that Tatum listed above. Some additional things that we found helpful and loved were:
- Personalize: Anything personalized with Virginia's name made our home away from home for 4 months feel better. We received blankets, preemie hats, signs, and crosses. She was the only "Virginia" in the NICU so it meant that her things did not get misplaced as well. We also loved personalized items because her official name in the NICU was "baby girl kent" and I liked when the doctors and nurses readily recognized and knew her real name. A bit of a rant: I know it was simply hospital procedure (because the babies are admitted to the unit before they have a birth certificate) but I HATED that she was refered to (mostly on paperwork, during rounds, etc) as baby girl kent. It felt so institutional and she was a real live human and had a name afterall!
- Gift Cards for gas or parking: We had many people who very generously gave us gift cards for gas and paid for our monthly parking at the hospital. Many families live a significant distance from the hospital and the financial burden of the travel can be overwhelming. We were lucky that our trip was "only" 55 miles round trip, but we often made multiple trips per day.
- Visitors: Not everyone feels this way but we appreciated visitors. We obviously did not have time to cook for or entertain anyone, but we really appreciated when people would meet us out for a lunch or dinner, stop by our house with breakfast or sat with us in the waiting room in the hospital.
Much of what was mentioned was also a huge help to us while I was on bedrest. Ill dedicate a post next week to helpful ways to support a friend on bedrest at home or on hospital bedrest.