I am getting this blog post in just under a month since my last posting. It has been a chaotic month with lots of changes, mostly for the better, but a stressful time.
Now that most of the stress is behind us I can focus on my favourite time of the year. Christmas! When it comes to Christmas I really do have a lot to be thankful for and I often think of the families that have children in hospital during this time. I am very glad we didn't have to experience our hospital stays during the Christmas season, as I feel that would have been an even harder period to get through. The NICU experience is hard enough, but to throw holidays or special times into the mix would be hard.
One thing I do know from speaking to families that delivered babies during the holidays and those that have spent it in the hospital or NICU, is that the hospitals do try to make the experience as positive and special as possible for the families there.
Hospitals always have amazing volunteers and donors sending in monetary gifts, quilts, blankets, baby caps, booties, toys and other special items for the children in the hospitals over the season. If you have a Christmas baby you are more than likely to receive a little bit of extra special attention because it is often a quieter time on the hospital wards.
I have seen and heard of great things sent into NICUs. Special care packages for the mom or dad or babies in the hospital. Cute onesies or hats made by donors. One very cute onesie I've seen says, "Ho Ho Home please," which I think is too cute. I've seen some adorable knitted Santa hats made for little preemie or termie babies. I am confident that a mother seeing one of these cute little items on their baby would feel extremely happy and well-supported by the kindhearted strangers that felt her family needed to feel like it is a special time regardless of the fact they are in the NICU. I only wish I had an amazing talent like knitting or crocheting, so that I could do something like this. Maybe one day...when life is less chaotic (will that ever be?)
Today we returned to our twins' first homebase and visited some NICU staff and dropped off a gift for two babies. We were told they'd probably go to a family with new twins, as there are a couple sets in the unit now, but they may go to two single babies, which is fine with us. These are the times I wish I had a million bucks (or two) so that I could outfit every deserving, cute little preemie and termie in the NICU and hopefully give their families that boost of support that I know they need. I think I am concocting a plan in my head already for next year...
Following our NICU visit we got to catch up with some of our "Home away from home" friends, who visited us in their comfy Family Room in the hospital. It is amazing how such a trying time can bring out new friendships and tight bonds that hopefully will last a lifetime. During this visit I was talking about our children's amount...or mountain...of toys that continues to grow and grow and how I've asked that friends and family not give the gift of toys for our children's Christmas. Some people have looked at me like I'm looney or Mrs. Scrooge, but the point I make is that our kids have lots of toys to play with and the money could be better spent elsewhere...whether it's a donation to a NICU, Labour & Delivery ward, an infant development program, centre for child development, family and children's services, etcetera., etcetera. There are lots of great places money or gifts can be directed to. When we were living at the Ronald McDonald House our family was showered with kind gifts and surprises for our sons and it only seems right that I focus attention on this constant need to ensure that families of today and tomorrow continue to get the support and brighter days because of unexpected, fun surprises during what can be a dark and scary time.
Now is a great time of year to pick a new cause and provide a donation to it. If you can't afford a monetary donation, you can donate your time, your skills, your hobbies and put your own personal stamp on the way you choose to help out. The best part is that whatever method you choose there will always be a smiling and thankful person at the other end. This is what I believe is the meaning of, "Christmas spirit."
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