Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Help us Help Babies this Christmas

After reading Anne's post (see link on last post) I have been thinking what we can do for the NICU that cared for Elizabeth. Every year as Elizabeth''s birthday approaches I want to do something for the NICU but life never seems to slow down for us. Elizabeth still averages 2-3 appointments weekly for therapy (speech, PT, OT), her medical appointments and with her gymanastics, hippotherapy and dance we are always on the go. So 6 years later I am now determined that we will finally help the babies and their families who will spend their first Christmas in NICU.
Elizabeth was born December 17 and as you know it was 3 1/2 months too soon as she was due March 29. Elizabeth's first Christmas was not one I want to relive, Christmas Eve she became very unstable and the Doctors and Nurses were quite concerned about her. I sobbed to her Dad that I hated Christmas and I never wanted to see another Christmas. As we did not anticipate a Christmas baby we also had not bought one present for her 1st Christmas and I was upset that she would not have anything on such an important day.
On Christmas day 2 cherished moments happened; when we arrived at her bedside she had gifts to open and I held her for the first time. I was so touched that complete strangers had bought her gifts and we continue to cherish these gifts each Christmas.
This year we would like to make Christmas day a little better for babies who are spending their 1st or even their 2nd Christmas in the hospital and for their parents who are spending Christmas day not with their families having turkey dinner but with their sick infant in the hospital.
The NICU that Elizabeth was at is a large facility with almost 50 beds so this is a huge undertaking that is why we are asking for your help. We would love to have donations of babies first Christmas ornaments, blankets, a cherished book, Christmas stockings or small bright baby toys (please no stuffed animals as they can carry germs). We will deliver these gifts Christmas Eve and Santa's Elves (the NICU Nurses)will deliver them Christmas morning.
We hope to put a smile on a parents face and let have a little bit of normalcy on their baby's first Christmas. If you would like to contribute please e-mail me or leave a comment here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I couldn't have said it any better

November is Prematurity Awareness month and Anne a very dedicated Mom to Eliza who was also born too early sums it up click here to read her post.
Elizabeth will be 6 years old next month and still her prematurity continues to affect her and will unfortunately affect her throughout her life, it has also affected our family in so many ways. The mantra 'they will catch up by 2' will never be her case and not for many other babies born early and the Health Professionals giving this message give false hopes and do not prepare parents for the difficulties they will face.
Living in Canada has allowed us to access top notch medical care and not to have to worry about mounting medical bills. We are so thankful for the amazing care she received in the NICU and we attribute her daily successes to the care she received.
I would love to be able to do something for the NICU that Elizabeth spent her first months in but each year I find the running to and from appointments has not slowed for us and free time continues to be at a minimum. I have an idea and I hope it will work out so stay tuned.
Thank you to Anne for your honesty, it reminds us that we are not alone.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On the Bench

As Elizabeth is doing better at gymnastics and has a young fearless coach I now get to sit on the bench with the other parents and watch (at the edge of my seat). Usually I had joined her and helped her as needed. As I sit on the bench I get to watch other kids and listen to their parents.
I am sure other parents of children with disabilities agree that they often feel very conscious of what others think about their children. I am very aware of when others stare at her or make comments about her. I see how some parents roll their eyes when she takes longer and causes the other kids to wait their turn. I am aware of the complaints to the staff regarding Elizabeth being in their child's class but fortunately for us their 'fair play' rules allow Elizabeth to participate with her peers. I see the kids rush to get in front of her so they don't have to wait and I have even seen a child step over her when she has fallen down just so she could ahead of her.
What I was not prepared for at her last class was to sit by a Grandfather who did not know Elizabeth was my daughter and listen how he was describing to his son a little girl with 'determination, spunk and perseverance' he remarked over and over again how much she improved over the past couple of weeks. He noticed me giving her a thumbs up and asked if I was her mother. Trying to fight tears I told him she was my daughter and thank you for seeing her how we do; determined, spunky and a girl who tries hard in everything she does.
Check out the clip below, she wowed us with walking along the wide balance beam and stepping over obstacles while in her Superwoman suit.


Monday, November 01, 2010

Happy Halloween

Elizabeth had another great Halloween, I think she has more fun at Halloween than Christmas. Trick or treating should happen weekly as it is a great way for her to get exercise, all the uneven surfaces and the walking is great for her. Despite Elizabeth being a child who loves to get dirty there is still no way she will touch to the insides of the pumpkin but she happily drew a T-Rex on her pumpkin. She went trick or treating this year with her cousins who now live pretty close to us which is great. We made our ritual witch finger cookies which turned our pretty gory. I got to go to her school and see her Halloween dance, it was great to see all the new friends she has. I had to laugh as she was chasing all the boy superheros around pretending to beat them up as she was Superwomen. Daddy even got dressed up and looked quite handsome in his bikini and hula skirt. After sorting her loot Superwoman passed out and I am sure she had many dreams of all the delectable treats she picked up.
Hope everyone had a good Halloween.