Friday, April 17, 2009

Pay It Forward

NICU babies are tiny and fragile. The parents are terrified.

When Robbie was born, we had exactly one thing bought for him. Every time someone asked if we had a _________, our response was the same. "We were going to do that in the third trimester." Only the third trimester never came. And once Robbie got here, the last thing we wanted to do was go shopping. We spent every waking hour at his side. When I TRIED to go out and do something to get ready, I was overwhelmed with guilt and worry.

And we weren't alone. We were surrounded by other parents who were just as terrified and unprepared as we were.

Sometimes at night, I lay in bed and think about and pray for the current NICU babies. I pray that their parents are comforted, that God holds them in His hands. And I pray for the caregivers that their decisions are guided and well thought out.

In our time, I was amazed that this... hell... was going on all across the world all the time. When I had been blissfully feeling Robbie kick my bladder, some parent somewhere was worrying about their tiny, fragile, sick baby in an isolette.

And it continues.

As I type this, parents are still going through it.

But there was so much hope. So much help when we were there. The nurses weren't just Robbie's caregivers, they were mine.

The day before I went back to work for a short period, I was at Robbie's bedside crying. Nurses that had never been assigned to Robbie came to pat my back, give me a hug and encourage me.
They made Robbie comfortable. They rubbed his head and stilled his hands. But they made sure I had water and they held my hand.

We watched nurses cry over other babies, hold other parents' hands, stop their paperwork to just hold a baby whose parents couldn't be at the hospital all the time.

My favorite doctor would come in and ask how I was and when I would say okay. He'd shake his head, sit down and respond "No. How are you REALLY?" And then he'd comfort me. I could tell him I needed a pep talk and he'd give me one.

And the parents around me, well, what can I say? They kept us sane. While our friends and family members did everything they could to comfort and support us, no one who wasn't living the day in and day out of apnea and alarms and test and pokes and tubes and oxygen could truly get it.

Even when Robbie was having a bad day, his NICU friends might have a good one, and it gave us something to cheer about. And when Robbie was having a good day and they a bad one, we were blessed to have them cheering for us.

As much as we were so ready to have our little guy with us, there are elements of the NICU that were truly special and are missed. The sense of teamwork, the support, the safety, the never-having-to-tell-someone-to-wash-their-hands.. it was special.

And that is why, with Robbie's birthday approaching (6 weeks, how did that HAPPEN?), we are hoping to thank the place that literally saved his life time after time, we are asking for everyone's help in donating some items to the NICU in Robbie's name.

We toyed with several ideas, but in the end decided we'd like to give anything.

Robbie received many donated items during his stay. From hand knitted hats to crocheted blankets, donated books, and tiny clothes, we benefited from generous act after generous act.

We'd like to pay it forward. We will be donating all of Robbie's outgrown preemie clothes and receiving blankets. And we'd love to have more.

A few people have expressed that they'd love to donate some blankets and a dear friend is going to make hair bows for the girls. We've had some ideas of books to read to the babies. We'll take it all.

If you'd like to give in Robbie's name, please Contact Us and we'll give an address for donations. It could be anything a baby could use. And if you aren't sure what to give, prayers are always welcome. Pray for the babies, the parents and their caregivers. Those were truly our most treasured gifts during our time.

Thank you for helping us pay it forward.

--Trish & David

And as a little pre-thank you: a little Random Robbie to brighten your day.


Meghan, Gary & Sophia H said...

That video made my day. Have I told you lately how adorable that little bugger is? Well he is. He's a doll.