Our Turn to Give Back: Baby Steps 3K Walk to Benefit Children’s NICU

Jax had an pediatrician appointment yesterday. Doc took one look at him and said, “well, this tank of a boy doesn’t look like a preemie anymore, does he?!” He weighs 18 lbs 10 1/2 ounces and he’s in the 50th percentile for weight for FULL TERM babies! He’s not quite on the full term chart yet for height. Apparently lots of preemies are “short and fat.” He’ll fit right in with our family. ūüėČ

It’s been 5 months since we’ve been home from the hospital. Some days, it feels like just yesterday. Like when I have flashbacks of being wheeled through the ER doors and onto the helicopter; when I panic at the thought of heights when I’ve never had this fear before. When I remember arriving at the hospital and not knowing a single person in the room. When I recall the looks on the faces of our nurses and doctors when Jax was born 17 weeks early and oh! they were scared, too. Or when I look at a picture of Jax when he was first born and see the tube down his throat. Or when I remember the way he looked right before he needed another blood transfusion, pale and limp. I see him struggling to live and I am there again.

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And then¬†somedays, it feels like forever ago. Like, when I see Jax smiling and laughing with everyone he meets. Or when I see his growth marked on the growth chart plain as day. Or when he discovered the curtains that his Great Aunt Judy made for his nursery and yanked them down on top of us during a diaper change. (At least he did not pee on them…) Or when he yells for his bottle. Or when he gets excited to taste peas or pears or avocado. Or when he sings me a song. Or when he snuggles in close for a hug. Or…

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Through all these good times, it’s hard to remember where we started.

(Or maybe it’s just easier to forget.)

The NICU – the alarms, the monitors, the blood, the infections, the medicine, the oxygen, the statistics, the “what-ifs.” All that scary stuff? I could do without.

But, it’s impossible to forget the compassion and skill of the doctors and nurses that saved Jax’s life. It’s hard not to be thankful for the Family Support Center where we could go get a cup of coffee or find a book in their library that would help us understand what Jax was doing that day. We are so thankful for the Financial Services staff that helped us navigate all the health insurance forms and other applications. I am grateful the¬†lactation¬†consultants encouraged me even when my milk supply was dwindling. I look back on my financial statements from that time and I am amazed that a program through the hospital helped reduce our parking fees from $4 a day to $1 a day, which, believe me, made a huge difference. Most of our pictures from the NICU are of us snuggling close on the Kangaroo Chair – a reclining chair that made Kangaroo Care even more comfortable and awesome. All of these things helped make our stay more comfortable and manageable and they were made possible by donations from people like us.

And that is why we want to give back. It’s our turn to help ease another¬†family’s¬†burden. By participating in the Baby Steps 3K we will be able to raise money to support¬†the Neonatal Program at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Funds will be used for things such as education for staff and parents, purchasing breast milk for babies whose mothers aren’t able to produce enough for their baby (which was me, more about that later!), meals for families, memory items, books, and the¬†purchase of more Kangaroo Chairs.

Will you¬†join our team¬†and help us make a difference close to home? Will you help us pay it forward? Even if you can’t (or don’t want to)¬†fund-raise, we’d still love for you to come walk with us, meet Jax’s care team, and show your support for Jax and all the other babies that have or will someday benefit from care in the NICU.

Jaxson’s¬†journey¬†has been a good one. Let’s celebrate!

Baby Steps 3K,¬†Saturday, June 1, 2013 –¬†Minnesota State Fairgrounds Grandstand

Thank you, as always for your love and support!

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