When you are pregnant, motherhood kicks in almost instantly. You often dream of all the special moments you'll get to create with your little one before they even arrive. In full nesting mode, you decorate the nursery, buy all the baby things, and plan out every little detail imaginable for the 40 weeks they grow in your belly. 9 months passes by quicker than you know it, and they finally arrive. Although being a new parent is challenging, life is pretty perfect. At least for most parents, this is how their story goes. For others unfortunately, not so much.
When I found out I was pregnant with twin girls, my life changed forever! I was on cloud nine and started planning immediately. Worrying about frivioulous things like how many diapers I would need, baby gear and coordinating outfits-- the last thing I ever imagined was loosing one of them. Barely half way through my pregnancy, without even thinking this could ever happen to me, I delivered my babies via emergency c section at 23 weeks gestion on November 13, 2012. Within seconds, my life changed forever, yet again. My sweet angel baby Abigail passed an hour after she was born, while her sister Olivia was rushed to the NICU--fighting for her life, for the following 5 months.
As a first time parent, this was not part of my plan and looking back 6 years to date, it was indeed one of the most horrific moments in my life, that I wish no parent ever has to experience. The future was so unknown, and the NICU is a world of it's own.
It was just around the Holidays, and I was feeling helpless. With the loss of one daughter, and the unknown of my other, it was hard to be postive, let alone celebrate Christmas. I remember sitting in the NICU, holding her tiny little hands through the plastic isolette, praying that Olivia would survive. In that moment, a woman walked in with a christmas bag, and a card. She saw me crying and said "I know how you feel, please know that even though you can't see it yet, your baby will be okay! Although they are tiny, they are mighty! Here's a little something for you for the Holidays."
It was a care package, just for me. A bag filled with things that are essential but you don't expect you'll need.
- A tooth brush and toothepaste: because you'll sleep overnight many times.
- Handsantizer: because germs are the enemy for the NICU and your baby who is fighting for their life.
- Hand lotion: because after scrubbing your hands as many times as you need to in the NICU, your skin starts to peel.
- Granola Bars & Snacks: because the thought of leaving your baby to eat seems unthinkable after those scary times of alarms, emergency surgeries, and code blues.
- Tissues: because the tears never seem to stop.
- A Journal & Pen: because writing & documenting this journey is therapeutic and good for the soul.
- Gift cards for gas and a local grocery store: Olivia was transferred to CHOC Childrens, which is 45 minutes away from my home, so going home to eat wasn't an option as I would stay at the hopspital for 12-16 hours at a time, and it was quite a drive every day for 5 months.
- A childrens Story book: That I would read to Olivia!
- A Christmas Ornament: That I hung on her Isollete, and we have hung on our Christmas tree every year since she came home!
- A beautiful handknitted micro preemie hat that reminds me just how tiny she was, but 5 years later, is even mightier.
- A card with the sweetest note of a her journey that gave me hope, when I didn't seem to have any.
I can't express in words what this care package did for me in that moment, but I remeber thinking that one day, I will do the same for those who will have to sit in that same chair and face those same tramatic, life changing moments.
Even though these past 6 years have been challenging with our new normal as a NICU graduate and a mother to a micro preemie, I am blessed with a beautiful, thriving toddler–who is defying odds every single day that were medically placed against her. I was also inspired to build a children's clothing company in honor of Olivia & Abigail, that not only gives back to CHOC Childrens & March of Dimes, but also raises awareness while doing so.
With Christmas approaching, I'd love to be able to make care packages and share our positive story for the NICU familes to provide hope and support! Every single portion of your donation will go towards the care packages which will include items such as giftcards for gas & food, journals and pens, several snacks, water bottles, lip balm, warm socks, our LMD Christmas preemie knotted hats, tissues, toothpaste and toothbrushes, gum, chocolate, hard candies, hand sanitizer, handmade ornaments, etc. I will be putting anything I can think of that will help brighten someone's day when they are on constant watch of their sweet baby in the NICU.
'Tis the season to give, so please join us in spreading some hope with these holiday care packages to all those families in need this year!
Thank You & Happy Holidays!
You can read more about our tiny buy mighty mission here: https://www.littlemissdessa.com/pages/tinybutmighty
My personal NICU stories here:
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