Friday, March 23, 2012

Parents of Preemies Day

Another nonprofit helping preemies called Graham's Foundation is hosting a Parents of Preemies Day today March 23rd. 

Here are some helpful tips they posted on their website to say and do for parents of a preemie:

10 Things to Say to the Parents of Preemies
1. Congratulations! Your baby is beautiful!
2. You're stronger than you know, and your baby is strong like you.
3. If you'd like someone to be there with you in the NICU, I'd be happy to just sit with you.
4. Can I see a picture?
5. When can I come and visit him/her?
6. After this experience, your bond with your baby is going to be so strong.
7. Prematurity is not your fault and it's really unfair.
8. What can I do during cold and flu season to keep your family safe?
9. Cry if you need to; I can be strong for you when you need to take a break.
10. You're a great mom! / You're a great dad!

10 Things to Do for the Parents of Preemies
1. Go food shopping and then cook and freeze a couple (or a lot) of meals that are easy to reheat.
2. Look after a preemie parent's other children so she or he can spend that much more time in the NICU.
3. Visit the new parents and their preemie as soon as the time is right – and focus on the baby, not the equipment.
4. Reschedule a NICU or home visit when you know you've been exposed to germs but aren't feeling sick (especially during flu and RSV season).
5. Help them get to and from the hospital when transportation is an issue.
6. Walk the dog, feed the cat, mow the lawn… anything that gives a preemie parent less to do at home.
7. Just listen. Parents of premature babies may have thoughts or feelings you don't understand; you don't have to 'get it'.
8. Give a gift their baby can use right now – premature babies who aren't ready for clothes can often wear specially sized hats.
9. Be understanding when the mom or dad of a preemie doesn't have a lot of time for you, even if you've been missing them for weeks or months.
10. Request a Graham's Foundation NICU care package on their behalf by visiting the Graham’s Foundation website.......or from Ella's Halo!

They posted on their website some very interesting facts about preemies as well:

Nearly 13 million babies, or about 10% of total worldwide births, are born prematurely each year. Nearly one million infants die each year as a result of pre-term birth, or about 28% of all deaths that occur within the first month of life.

The roller coaster ride your baby takes while in the NICU gives parents emotional distress, and physical exhaustion.  I will never forget having spent 83 days in the NICU with Ella.  It is definitely a world all of it its own and no one can fully describe it to you unless you too have been a parent of a preemie in the NICU.  When a baby is born premature, parents and families find them in a whole different world faced with life and death decisions, uncertain futures for their baby and family, unknown medical issues, and a level of stress you have never felt before.

That is why we spend so much time trying to help NICUs here in the Twin Cities have small comforts of home for these parents and try to make the journey a little more bearable.  We understand all too well what it is like to be a parent of a preemie.

Today, March 23rd Ella's Halo helps to recognize the courage and commitment parents of premature babies have for their little miracles.   

And today and everyday we are proud to be parents to our sweet preemie Ella. 


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