Friday, November 18, 2011

Love 2 Preemies

As the parents of two micro preemies, we know how difficult and isolating the NICU experience can be. My husband and I have decided to start our own organization to provide support for families in Bay Area NICUs by delivering care packages, practical information and opportunities for scrapbooking that celebrate each baby's journey through the NICU.

Yesterday we delivered 30 care packages to babies at a local hospital. It was a wonderful experience and we hope to start building the program so we can do it more often.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight For Preemies

I have two children. They were born born too soon and too small. Their combined birth weight is less than 3 pounds. And I am not alone. Today, 1 out of 8 babies are born prematurely. That's scary. We need to find out why and we need to find out how we can prevent premature birth.

Like so many other women, I did everything I was supposed to do. I took my vitamins, I ate what I was supposed to eat, went to the doctor for every check-up, asked many (many) questions and still, I had babies who came early.

To find out more about our experience with having babies born prematurely - check out our video that was made by the March of Dimes.

Beyond sharing the story of our children's premature birth (in the video above), I want to talk more about what prematurity can mean long term. Dealing with prematurity goes far beyond the NICU stay. Many preemies come home with long term medical issues - our daughter came home oxygen and feeding tube dependent. As parents we have to quickly learn often complex medical issues and how best to navigate the complicated and confusing world of doctors, insurance and medicine.

In addition to medical issues, most preemies need additional support for development including gross motor, fine motor, speech, etc. My kids have both had PT, OT, developmental therapy, speech therapy, and more. Six years into this prematurity journey and I'm still amazed how parents of full term babies don't worry about most of that because their kids naturally develop those skills.

Most of the stories we see in the news are about miracle babies that are now "perfectly" healthy. And I'm happy for those babies. Ecstatic really. But I think sometimes in our want for happy endings we end up avoiding the larger issue. Many preemies (especially those that are born weighing less than 2 pounds but even some that are bigger) end up with long term problems including eating issues, CP, developmental delays that extend long past the "catch up" age of two, and more.

Thankfully my son was able to catch up developmentally by age three. Time will tell if any other issues crop up. Although my daughter is still feeding tube dependent and has some developmental and speech delays, I still consider her one of the lucky ones. Things could have been much worse.

I'm grateful for both of my children. They have taught me more than I can imagine about what true strength means. Both of them had to fight just to survive. They fight every day to learn new things.

Let's all join the fight for preemies so that one day all babies can be born healthy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Calling All Bloggers

Hi fellow preemie moms and dads.

As many of you probably know, November is Prematurity Awareness Month. I invite all of you to come join me at Bloggers Unite. They are partnering with the March of Dimes in support of Fight For Preemies. The goal is to have 500 bloggers posting on and before Prematurity Awareness day - November 17th.

So consider this your official invitation. Please post a special story about your own preemie miracle. We want everyone to learn why it is SO important to support the ongoing need for prematurity research funding.

You can also grab a badge or banner for your blog. Now get posting!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Little Blog Vacation

Life has been hectic in the Preemie Parent household lately.

Colds, my son starting Kindergarten (where we have jumped into activities with a full body cannonball - no toe dipping here), new schedules and a pretty bossy two year-old have all combined to take over my schedule.

So I'm officially calling a vacation through next week. By then I plan to have my new schedule set so that I can get a bunch of blog posts up that have been patiently waiting. Like all of you.

Stay well everyone!!

BTW - I found this great section on the March of Dimes website about when to call the doctor: For some reason it's not letting me format correctly so I apologize for the full link in the text). There is some good basic information that's highly useful when you're at home not knowing what to do.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Favorite Product: Crayons

Who doesn't love a box of crayons? I've seen people old and young alike sit down and instantly start coloring. They are one of the most basic items because they are great - you can nurture creativity and work on fine motor skills while having fun.

Here are some ways to use crayons to help encourage your preemie's development:

1) Start early - as soon as your preemie can hold an object, give him/her a crayon. Place a piece of paper in front of your preemie and help him/her make a mark on the page. Any effort should be praised. In the beginning your preemie will probably just make light, random marks or dots. And that' great!

2) Drawing lines - once your preemie can hold the crayon somewhat effectively, encourage him/her to draw a line across the page. And then down or up. It helps to draw dotted lines to follow or at least show a start and stop point.

3) Learning colors - since crayons come in pretty much every color, they are a great way to help your preemie learn colors. You can ask for crayons of a certain color or request that he/she colors with a certain color. Older preemies can practice putting colors in order from lightest to darkest.

4) Scribbles are important! Don't worry if your preemie has absolutely no concept of how to color an object. That will come with time. Praise all efforts at coloring across an area. Make it fun!

Happy coloring!

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's cold and flu season already

As we are battling colds #2 and #3 in our house (for the last 4 weeks) I wanted to remind everyone that even though it's not officialy winter, cold and flu season is already here.

Check out the Staying Healthy section for posts about getting kids to wash their hands and tips for going out in public. You know - that place with all the germs.

Please send get healthy thoughts our way. We sure could use them.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Learning Colors Activity: Color Jump

We have been working on naming and correctly identifying colors in our house lately so I thought I would share some of the activities that we have come up. This seems to be an area that my daughter is having trouble with so we are trying a lot of different games and projects to keep her interested and learning.

This first activity is called the color jump (she is really into jumping). For those who are less mobile (or less obsessed with jumping), this activity can be touch the color, stand or sit on the color, etc. Anything that will work for your little one.

Here is a picture of the "game board." Please excuse the fast tape work on the ground. My little one saw what I was doing and quickly came over to "help" so I had to be fast.

I started with five colors however you could start with more or less depending on your child's level.

  1. First I showed my daughter each square and told her what color it was. Than I had her stand to one side. As I called out a color I told her to go and jump on that color.
  2. I started with yellow since she knows that color best. She was very happy to go over and jump on the square.
  3. While playing I would first wait to see if she went to the right color and then help her if she needed it.
  4. We've played several times and it keeps her interest longer than looking at a color book or sorting bears.