In what I've come to learn, the NICU although always busy, is even busier here in the summers because mainly the heat. Those temperatures we all come to dread, well I guess the babies don't like them either or actually maybe they get confused as think its just as warm outside the womb as it is inside so what's the difference. :-)
The truth is that the pregnant momma's bodies don't like it!. Many women have pre-term labor and contractions as a result of the high temperatures. While there are other factors as well, I remember learning that many women go into pre-term labor and have PROM (Pre-mature rupture of membranes- what I had with Noah) as a result of the high temperatures (although we don't know exactly why mine ruptured).
This year is no different and I understand that they have almost all of their beds full. It is for that reason we are hoping to help gift them some items they use frequently for the most precious tiny patients. Those are:
It may seem strange to think about gifting sheets and blankets to the hospital, (don't they come with your stay?). The truth is, the standard sheets and blankets that are for the newborns in the hospital, most of them won't fit the premature babies in the NICU. For perspective Noah was 12 inches long and weighed only 1 pound, 11 ounces. His hand was the size of a quarter (his entire hand) and while 12 inches long, all curled up, he was about the length of a 20 oz soda bottle. He would have drowned in a regular sized sheet.
I understand they are in true need for sheets. These are cotton rectangles that just have the edges "finished", either by surging the fabric or folding it over and running a quick line stitch around the edges. Most of the sheets are made out of fabrics with print materials and feel similar to the sheets we sleep on at night.
I can attest that within the NICU some of the things we often take for granted in life, are BIG deals in there. One of those fun things is getting a change of sheets.... from our experience with Noah, and now some of the other NICU families we've come to know, having the nurses pick out cute sheets and blankets were some of the fun things to look forward to when so many other things were scary and overwhelming.
If you'd like to help us make some sheets, please make them in the size of 35 x 41 inches. Here is a sample sheet that was given to us when we had Noah.
They are pretty easy to make, even I can do it (I think). :-)
For more information on how to make them, the Premie Project gives great instructions..
The incredible nurses in the NICU have duties that extend far beyond their medical skills and training. The titles they could hold are many... nurse, counselor, mother, friend... and yes even craft expert. The nurses do so much to make you and your baby feel welcomed, create a home environment with signs and pictures, and yes they even make scrapbook memories when big things happen or on holidays. When Noah was in the hospital it happened to fall on Father's Day and when we got to the hospital that morning, a card to Jarrett from Noah was waiting for him (thanks to Noah's incredible nurse Melanie!).
We still have and cherish that card and I know so many other NICU families love their cards too. To help the nurses, with their ever shortage of time with overwhelming lists of duties, we will be making up generic NICU scrapbook pages with places for photos, stickers of celebration and letters the nurses can use when making memory pages for other families.
If you'd like to help support us in this project, please feel free to donate scrapbook pages, any stickers or letters you have, adhesive page tabs, anything that can be used to help make up some celebration pages for the babies in their accomplishments.
We will be making up pages for the NICU on that Saturday morning before heading to the hospital. If you'd like to make up pages on your own and share them with us, I'd be happy to pick up or set up a time to drop off.
Remember babies are in the hospital all year round, so even if you don't have baby prints or stickers, that's okay...any holiday, or celebration type paper will work.
To see some sample NICU pages or to get ideas you can visit Pinterest and search for NICU Scrapbook page ideas. There are so many!
We also decided to spend the night as a family making up some pages of our own. I wasn't sure how the boys would feel about "family craft night" but actually it turned out to be a ton of fun for all of us. Here are some photos from tonight.
And remember you don't have to create the whole page, just a template basically, the nurses will personalize for the babies.
If you'd like to join us for any of these or make for your own NICU in your area I'm sure they would appreciate anything. We'd love to have you join us!
Until next time,