“THANK YOU SO MUCH PREEMIE PROJECT” an essay by Sheri Null
That is what I heard several times during the last several months of my experience with a Foster Baby in NICU. Mothers and Staff pointed out this heart-felt emotion when learning of my connection to the Preemie Project.
I have been working with the Preemie Project for over a year, primarily with the Bereavement section, but also making blankets and a few hats and booties to go along with the rest. Until I got a request to be a Foster Mom for a baby in NICU, I hadn’t seen our donations in use. The first sight I had of this darling girl was of her laying in an isolette on top of one of the blankets I had cut out and help to sew! The stark room with all the monitors, wires and hospital equipment was brightened up with bright baby colors surrounding a bundled baby downing a soft knit baby hat. What a treat to see what effect our items made to this difficult situation.
Some of the Nurses were not clear about how these things were made available to them to use, but all praised the effects they had on the visitors (and I gathered how fun it was to make the beds for the Nurses). I spied the baby’s name on the corner of the blanket to help staff and laundry separate the blankets from hospital linens. This baby had spent 6 of her 7 months of life in the NICU having been born at 1 lb. and 4 oz., 12 inches long. Her Mom now has a crib full of special blankets and a bag of baby hats and booties in sizes from tiny to now full term. Tangible items to bring back memories and match with the photos.
While awaiting in the NICU family room during a surgery, I passed my time knitting a newborn size Christmas Santa Hat. A tired Mom came up to me to chat about crocheting vs knitting. Upon learning that I was making a hat to add to the Preemie Project Christmas donation she began conversing about how wonderful these items were from her aspect. She told of her little boy, struggling with a fever was naked in his bed except for his pumpkin hat. Tears welled up in her eyes with the thought. She made several hints that her boy would be going home after Christmas and would be so proud to have a hat like the one I was making. She knew the hat I was making would fit him! I am unsure whether he or my baby got the hat and booties, but bet he proudly boasted his hat on Christmas. The Nurses tried to add Christmas and Santa outfits with the hats for pictures as a present for the parents.
I have in my home today, two blankets and a Hawkeye hat which proudly sits on the oxygen tank valve, making even that piece of equipment marked by the baby and the Preemie Project. One of these blankets was the one I mentioned with fairies and I hope to make a Memory Box out of the material scraps I kept to keep her hospital tokens in. I wanted to share this with you to boost your morale while making these items with your TLC. They are a valuable part of these families experience.