Send Some Love to NICU Families for the Holidays

Send Some Love to NICU Families for the Holidays

From Michelle Budrow

Spread some love to families who need it over the holidays. Please consider making a donation to send some love and comfort to the families in the Special Care Nursery at Beverly Hospital.

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Spread some love to families who need it over the holidays. Please consider making a donation (even the smallest amount will help) to send some love and comfort to the families in the Special Care Nursery at Beverly Hospital..

If you know someone who has experienced life in the NICU, you may have an idea of how heartbreaking and difficult it is. If you’ve spent time as a NICU parent, you know.  It is one of the most physically and emotionally challenging things you’ve ever been through.  To understand what these families are going through, here are a couple of articles that give a pretty accurate summary >  When You Are A NICU Mom and The Reality of the NICU. (Or scroll down for personal accounts from myself and Jenn.)

YOUR DONATION - The money raised here will be used to bring a moment of cheer and a little bit of comfort to the NICU Families at the Special Care Unit in Beverly Hospital during the holidays.  Your donation will go towards a gift basket of items for each family to help them through this difficult time.  Baskets will include things like gas gift cards for driving to and from the hospital, journals for writing thoughts, milestones or questions for doctors, baby books, blankets, comfy things for mom and dad, etc.

Every family in the Special Care Nursery has a unique story. Maybe mom spent time in the hospital before giving birth or maybe baby came early and unexpectedly. Maybe they’ve been in there for one or two weeks or maybe they've been in for months. Whatever the circumstances, these families are struggling each day with worries, guilt, overwhelming love, hopes and setbacks. 

Our family wasn't in the NICU over the holidays but I can imagine that it is even harder to be there this time of year. Thank you to everyone who is able to contribute and help spread some love to families who need it.

My Story. (I’ll try to keep this as short as possible)

At 28 weeks, I went to my regularly scheduled appointment with my OB. It was immediately clear that something wasn’t right. My husband and I were told by a solemn faced doctor to get in the car and drive straight to the Beverly Hospital. Doctors would be waiting for us. With no explanation or answers, that 20 minute drive seemed to stretch for hours. With tears pouring down my face, my husband's steady hand on mine was the only thing keeping me from going into hysterics. After two days of testing and two rounds of steroids to help my baby’s lungs develop, I was put in an ambulance, taken to Boston and admitted to Tufts Medical Center.

There, I spent an entire terrifying month in one room. The diagnosis was preeclampsia. I was told that it wasn’t a question of IF my condition would get worse but WHEN and HOW FAST. Every hour, around the clock, for an entire month, a nurse checked my blood pressure. My blood work was done regularly, I had an IV placed somewhere in my arm at all times in case of emergency (it had to be used a few times), and I was often hooked up to monitors and non-stress tests for hours. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my life or the life of my unborn baby being monitored so closely. It finally go to a point where I was too sick and it was getting difficult to monitor my baby. The decision was made by my multiple teams of doctors to induce me. That didn’t go as planned either and I had an emergency C-Section at 33 weeks. It was a rough month. But… None of the above was the hard part.

The hard part began the moment my baby was born and we became a NICU family. Because I was on an IV of medication to prevent seizures, I couldn’t see my baby for the first 24 Hours. My husband spent time with our baby, while I sat alone in my room, and brought videos back to me so I could get glimpses of her very first day. She was born at 3 lbs 3 oz. She spent her days in an incubator among wires, tubes and monitors. In the first few days, my time was divided into rest and recovery and sitting by her side, watching her through the portholes in her incubator. Whenever possible, my husband and I would hold her and very gently snuggle with her. On day six, I was discharged from the hospital. After the unbelievably difficult journey I’d been through to bring my baby into this world, it was time to go home… leaving my tiny baby and just about all of my heart behind in a little incubator.

  • Imagine being an hour drive away from your newborn.
  • Imagine sitting at home and wanting desperately to be by your baby’s side
  • Imagine having to sign in at the nurses station, put on a badge, sterilize your hands the way you’ve been instructed to before being buzzed in.
  • Imagine being afraid to pick up your baby for fear of causing a spell or setting off an alarm.
  • Imagine the tears. Tears of sadness and worry, tears of joy and amazement. Tears of heartbreak because all you want, more than anything in the world, is to bring your baby home with you.
  • Imagine having to be strong for your family and friends by telling them you are doing fine because you’re too tired and too drained to explain that you’re barely holding it together.
  • Imagine weeks of all of this.

Weeks three and four were the most difficult. Our baby was moved from Tufts to the Special Care Nursery at Beverly Hospital. We were closer to home but still had a way to go. Even though we were told not to get our hopes up, every day my husband and I would secretly hope that our baby would come home with us. It was impossible not to get our hopes up. There were a number of times that we’d get so close. It would be one, two, then three days without a spell. We’d think - tomorrow is the day! But we’d call in the morning or show up to the hospital and there had been a setback. It would be a minimum of three to five more days. This may not seem like a long time to most, but when you’re living in this emotionally draining world of ups and downs, this news is devastating. More tears.

At the end of the fourth week, it was time. Our little girl had fought hard to meet her goals. She was big enough, strong enough and healthy enough to come home. We were scared. We were excited. We were full of love. We were happy.

Looking back on our time in the NICU at Tufts and the Special Care Nursery at Beverly Hospital, I realize that the experience has set the foundation for who we are has parents. It made us stronger and it brought us closer together. It made us look at our daughter with a unique perspective. Now, at a year and a half old, she continues to amaze and inspire us.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” 

- William Shakespeare 

Jennifer Eliot's Story.

Finding out I was pregnant. Exciting. 

Finding out it was twins. Unbelievable. 

Finding out at 34 weeks my blood work was "abnormal" and I'd be delivering my twins in two hours via emergency c-section. Terrifying. 

It wasn't the 24 hours of magnesium or 2 blood transfusions that broke me, it was hearing I'd be unable to see my babies for 24 hours. Then, being discharged and looking in the backseat to see two empty car seat bases driving home with me while my babies stayed in Special Care. 

If it weren't for the comfort, support and understanding of a friend who'd had a similar experience, I don't know how I'd have made it through the longest 45 days of my life. 

My story is one of many, and no one can know the true extent of each's journey. But one can share in on the power of hope. During this season, please consider donating and giving the gift of hope.

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