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I volunteer with a ministry that supports parents who have children in the NICU. We do a LOT of stuff for them. Recently it was mentioned to the founder that it'd be nice if we could do something for the parents whose children die in the NICU. So, they came to me, as I'm the only one in the group who has experienced a loss. I know a NICU loss is different than a stillbirth (which is what I had), but what would you guys think might be good? Was anything done for those of you who experienced this type of loss that meant something wonderful?
I had quite a lot done. They did pictures, hand and feet molds, hand and foot prints, teddy bear, outfit and blanket for her, gift basket from someone with book, journal and a gift card to a restaurant, and a nurse made a scrapbook for us.
Some things off the top of my head. I wish genevive's footprints were on nicer paper. They were done on one of those junk pieces of printer paper with words on the back ripped into fours, LOL. Like scrap paper. I wish some nice footprint cards were made up with some scrapbooking paper. I wish I had real tissue, the hospital tissue made my face raw by the end of that day.
The little footprint and handprint in clay was wonderful, they used that crayola magic modeling stuff. March of dimes made and gave me a name bracelet the next day.
Now are you guys gearing more towards the day of the loss or after the day of the loss, because I think that makes a big difference too. Simple things like sending a card out the week after or maybe a how are you doing phone call. You know how those little gestures make a huge difference.
What sort of stuff do you do for NICu parents? Like what kind of support do you guys usually lend. Momentos? talking? etc.
Thanks so much for the suggestions! These are WONDERFUL ideas!!
We're looking to have something to give to them on the day of the loss. But I would love to have a follow-up as well, even if it is just a card sent to them later. I thought about doing a birthday/rememberance card on that child's first birthday. I know I loved those things when people would remember my child and tell me they were praying/remembering us on that day. I know others hate it too, but I guess there isn't a good way to make it perfect for everyone. Thoughts?
What we do currently:
- Make gift bags for all parents who have children in the NICU. These include LOTS of stuff that we who had kids in the NICU remember needing or wanting (camera, blanket, travel sized stuff like hand sanitizer, toothpaste, lotions, and gift cards to gas stations and restuarants, a book on preemies, magazine, children's books, and usually a gift to go along with whatever season it is like Easter, Christmas, etc.)
- We're working to start a parent group which hasn't got up yet, but we should have it up by July where we invite parents to come and "do" something during the shift change time when they can't be in the NICU. First thing on the agenda is to do a scrapbook night where we supply the paper and stuff and they just bring photos. We're open to ideas for that as well if anyone has any ideas!!
I think real tissue is something that ALL Nicus should be supplied with. OMG my nose was red and raw by the time I was done. I think the card on the 1sts for Angels is a great idea too. I loved getting something that just said 'We're thinking about you'
I wish they'd done her handprints. We had one but only because of a father's day card they did on Father's day for all the nicu babies. But I wish I had a print of each hand like I did her feet.
They did do these amazing hand and foot molds which I treasure so much.
My NICU had a scrapbooking club, they had a printer so we could print photos off our camera cards if we wanted, and they supplied everything. I found it to be very therapeutic, I could chat with other NICU parents, and i could make little cards to hang around Lily's isolette. Our march of dimes representative ran it.
we didn't have a NICU baby, but these are things we did for Grace (we knew she wasn't going to make it).
We did 3d hand and foot molds and even a mold of her face (they did one of her little bum, but they never gave it to me, so i guess it didn't turn out).
we did hand and foot impressions with a sculpty kit
we did hand and foot prints (i wish we had nicer paper and had tried getting more since we don't have too many good ones)
We took TONS of pictures. We had 2 professional photographers come in to do this (friends of mine). Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep offers this service free of charge all over the country.
we took locks of hair.
We had little outfits and blankets and hats for her (most we provided ourselves, but it would be good for hospitals to have some on hand).
I made a little cloth diaper to fit her since preemie diapers wouldn't. I'm working on making some to donate to our hospital for infant loss so every baby can have a diaper.
we had a bracelet made for me, and a small one made for her, so we have a matching pair
we played songs for her and meant something special to us.
The nurses gave us a bouquet and a card when we left.
Things that would have been nice:
A teddy bear or something like that that i could take home and cuddle and hold on to.
A call, card, anything the weeks, months or year after she passed from the doctor, nurses, whoever saying they were sorry, or wondering how things were doing (never got ANY call from my doctor to see how i was handling things...just saw him 4 weeks PP and that was it).
PRIVATE time alone, and as much as we needed and not to feel rushed.
The most important work we will ever do is within the walls of our own home ~Harold B. Lee