Creating Joy out of Fear: NICU Drive

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I want Ev to be raised to give back. I want her to find happiness in donating her own time, money and abilities to help others in need. I had the great joy and opportunity this past summer to put my money and time where my mouth is.

I hosted a drive through Evvie+Me for support in creating NICU Care Packs for the families of the Cardinal Glennon Children’s NICU. The reason I chose this particular unit and hospital was in large part to my Mother’s occupation. She’s an RN at Cardinal Glennon and currently supports the NICU Follow-Up clinic. Growing up, she would often tell us stories about the families and children she would see come through the NICU and it always touched a nerve of sadness with me.

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The lion-share of the families she saw were struggling. Burdened with low incomes and no transportation or emotional support, having a child with very special, expensive needs was often unexpected and terrifying. She would tell us that these babies would come to the NICU so young, so fragile and in need of serious medical intervention. Hearing about these poor, innocent children fighting for their lives always broke my heart. Now, having a baby of my own, I feel sick to my stomach when I imagine my own child lying in an incubator.

But she always made a point to continue on with her stories, telling us what the whole family had to endure when a child was born prematurely. Parents would spend weeks to months living out of small hospital rooms worrying over their children. Or, in even sadder cases, babies would only seldom be visited by their parents because their mothers and fathers lacked transportation and/or the ability to leave their jobs to stay with their baby long-term. Many of these babies had older siblings who longed to hold their younger baby brother or sister and simply couldn’t.

I quickly realized while pregnant with Ev that pregnancy comes with many, MANY fears. When Ev was born both on time and healthy, I realized how blessed we were. It was then that I knew I had to find a way to give back.

The summer NICU Care Pack drive was a success and twenty, filled-to-the-brim Care Packs, plus many extra goodies, including puzzles, games, diaper boxes and wipes, were delivered to Cardinal Glennon’s NICU.

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Each Care Pack contained:

  • One “NICU Graduate” onesie (I had so much fun designing and creating these!)
  • Bibs and Burp Clothes
  • Socks
  • Dr. Brown Preemie Bottles
  • One WubbaNub stuffed toy/pacifier (these are comforting to small infants and help them keep the pacifier in their tiny mouths)
  • Board books (for parents to read to the babies and for siblings to enjoy)
  • Notebooks and Pens (for grieving and stressed parents to write out their experience and emotions)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Diaper Wipes / Diapers
  • Stress Relief Lotion (for parents)

The staff was beyond grateful for the contributions of my wonderful family and friends. I was so inspired by the outcome of the first drive that I’ve extended this to a Holiday drive.

I can’t imagine living out of the NICU, let alone over the holidays. Traditions are often skirted due to bills, grief and limited time. Who can think about cooking a big family dinner, buying and wrapping gifts or playing Santa when your sweet child is at the hospital hooked up to monitors around the clock?

Similar to the summer drive, we’re asking for any of the above items to help these families who are struggling emotionally and financially. But this go-round, we’re also looking for HOLIDAY items. Holiday books, “Baby’s First” ornaments or frames, or even general holiday goodies will help bring the holidays to the NICU. A full list of needed items is detailed below.

If you have any interest in helping us make this drive a success, PLEASE reach out to us today via email to tell us how you can help. No amount of money is too small and no gift is too little – even $1 can get us a Holiday toy or bib from the Dollar Store!

We’re accepting donations NOW through November 30 to ensure we can deliver the packs at the very beginning of December. This will allow the families to celebrate the season with their goodies throughout the entirety of the month.

Many thanks in advance for your consideration and support.

LOVE and JOY,

Kayleigh + Ev


WISH LIST FOR CARDINAL GLENNON NICU

HOLIDAY CARE PACKS

  • Socks (Newborn or 0-3 Mos)
  • Bibs
  • Burp Clothes
  • Cotton Caps
  • Diapers (Packs preferred; Size 1)
  • Diaper Wipes (To-Go packs preferred)
  • Hand Sanitizer (Travel Size preferred)
  • Small Notebooks + Pens
  • Holiday Stuffed Animals (must be new)
  • Holiday Books
  • Holiday Puzzles
  • “Baby’s First” Ornament/Frames

 

 

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