Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten Bucks

Now that December is here, it’s impossible for me to think about the holidays without remembering what we went through this year. Last year this time going into labor was the furthest thing from my mind. After all, I wasn’t due until April. But life is funny that way. Four days before Christmas I was admitted to the antepartum unit of our neighborhood hospital and stayed there until the twins were born nine days later—at 25 weeks’ 3 days’ gestation.

Talk about your life-changing experiences. How can you thank someone adequately for saving the lives of your children? And how can you help other Moms who haven’t been through the worst of it?

I don’t know either, but I’m trying to find out. I have become the parent liaison for our hospital’s Partnership Council and our hospital’s Family Advisory Council. From time to time I talk to parents in the NICU or moms in antepartum. Just to do what I can to help.

From time to time my husband still bakes cookies for the NICU nurses, even though the boys got out of the hospital seven months ago. On Thanksgiving he cooked a whole turkey along with gravy, potatoes, and asparagus, and for dessert, fresh pineapple. We brought it to the NICU and Matt carved the turkey for the nurses who were working that day. Just as a small way to say thank you.

I’m not the only one looking for a way to give back. In October of 2008, little Loki Sky was born at 24 weeks’ gestation and weighing 1 pound, 5 ounces. He spent his first Christmas in the NICU. In fact, he spent his first four months of life in the NICU. After he went home, his mother Kat became very involved with parent/hospital relations at our Alta Bates NICU (the role that I now have since Kat and Loki and Dad moved back to the Netherlands in August).

Kat knows what it’s like to spend the holidays in the hospital, so last year she started the Loki Sky and Friends Holiday Gift Drive. She raised over $1500 and put together gift baskets for families who were in the NICU over Christmas. (We just missed this party by a week as the boys were born on Dec 30th). You can read all about it here. And if you’d like to give, she’d love to have your donation. Kat is very organized. The site even takes PayPal!

Moms on hospital bed rest are scared, depressed, bored, and uncomfortable. And if they’re in there over Christmas, even when they try to make the best of it, they’re probably still scared, depressed, bored, and uncomfortable. I know; I’ve been there. If you’re a nurse working on Christmas, yes, you get the holiday pay, but it’s still a drag to work on Christmas.

This is why my twelve-year-old niece and I are starting our own gift drive. She and I won’t be together for Christmas; the twins can’t travel during flu season because of their delicate immune systems. It’s a bit tricky, but my niece and I have selected a hospital in Tampa (she will be spending Christmas with her family and my in-laws there in Florida).

My niece has complete creative control. She’ll buy presents for either: Moms on bed rest during Christmas or nurses working on Christmas day. Our gift drive doesn’t have a name (yet) and right now my niece only has one donor (me), so our budget is significantly less than $1500.

Today, just a month before their first birthday, the twins are happy and healthy and chubby. I know you’ve been following on the blog tracking our progress; you’ve shared the ups and felt the downs. Vicariously, our joys have been your joys; our victories have been your victories. Now let your thanks be part of our thanks. If you’d like to help us give back to the nurses who work during the holidays or help us give to the Moms who will have to spend Christmas in the hospital away from their families, we’d love to have your contributions. After all, you’ve supported us this far. Why stop now?

Drop me a line and I’ll tell you how.

Thanks for reading,

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