Erik and Sarah Tillberg
On December 18, 2006, my son Emery was born just shy of 26 weeks gestation weighing 597 grams. He was very sick in the beginning and he was born exactly one week before Christmas. The last place my husband and I wanted to be was in a hospital wondering whether or not our child would survive.
What a blessing The Preemie Project is! Each day that week there was a gift left to us by The Preemie Project volunteers. We had booties, hats, candy and even our very own Christmas tree as well as an ornament. Those days were long then, and sitting in a NICU during the holidays is surreal. I remember one day in particular though.
While sitting there watching our son (in those days there was nothing else we could do as he could not be held or touched because of his young gestation), our nurse, Mandi, found University of Iowa booties and a hat knitted by Jamie C. We dressed our son in the clothes and she made a banner that said “Born to Be a Hawkeye”. At a time when things were grim and serious, we all laughed quite a bit at this (our families are University of Illinois fans). We took pictures to tease them when they visited, and for the first time since my son was born, my husband and I laughed and enjoyed the day.
He had a long hospital stay - 225 days. We were there for Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and July 4th… each time receiving a gift from The Preemie Project. My closet is filled with unique and beautiful soft blankets that came as gifts from the volunteers, which my son still loves and uses to this day. The smaller ones we now have as keepsakes.
The University of Iowa is a class-act children’s hospital, and The Preemie Project volunteers contribute to this. Thank you for your wonderful gifts and for your time. I don’t think my husband and I will ever be able to explain how nice it was to receive your gifts. Noe, he’s 1 year old and a very busy active baby ... and wouldn’t you know? He’s still a Hawkeye fan!
Thank you so much,
Erik, Sarah and Emery Tillberg