Thursday, April 28, 2011

Premmie Gift Of Hope Journal

We are very excited to announce a project we have been working on for the past 6 months with L'il Aussie Prems that will see every NICU across Australia receive a very special "Premmie Gift Of Hope Journal" small enough to insert into your babies blue "record" book. It will also be an informative guide to common questions and concerns when you have a baby in NICU.

It can be an overwhelming time when your baby is born premature. You are thrown into a unknown world that can be confusing, whilst trying to stay focused on your child who is fighting every day for their life.

We have been providing our Gift Of Hope Journal to NICU's around Australia since May 2010 for families to record their thoughts and feelings in, but felt the need to develop a unique 'Premmie Gift Of Hope Journal'. We feel it is important to have a journal that takes all the hard work away for you to remember special moments and milestones whilst your baby is in hospital. It is prefilled with information for you to 'fill in the blanks'. Whilst also allowing space for ultrasound images, photos, cot cards, arm bands and hand and foot prints. Most of all it is a journal for you to fill with your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. A Gift Of Hope.

The Premmie Gift Of Hope Journal will fit inside your Blue Baby Record Book that you receive when your child is born. It will contain a guide to your surroundings in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or Special Care Unit, and also have answers to common questions and concerns about the care of your baby during their stay and beyond. We have covered issues like Medical Terminology, CARES, Breastfeeding and Expressing for your Premmie, Kangaroo Care and When is your Premmie Ready to Come Home, Reference to Premmie Baby Support Groups.

I have been working on this project with a lovely friend Julia Toivenen who I met after my identical twins Aisha and Aaliyah were born at 31 weeks in December 2009 at Westmead Public Hospital, NSW. They spent 3 weeks in neonatal intensive care and 1 week in special care before both coming home in January 2010 after a total 30 and 31 days respectively in hospital. It was an overwhelming experience having two little tiny babies totally dependant on machines and the nursing staff caring for them for their survival. We were in an unfamiliar place, watching our daughters hooked up to wires and medical equipment we didn't understand and listening to nurses use medical jargon to describe the care of our babies. Instantly I had to learn new words and terms and adjust to life with babies in hospital, whilst also caring for my 2 year old son at home. I have always written in a journal but it was during this time that I knew how important it was for me to record my girls progress in NICU, the up's and down's of each day and special moments. What if they didn't make it? This would be my only memories of their life. In my own journal I wrote daily about their progress, visitors and special moments. Each day was filled with a new Hope that Aisha and Aaliyah would grow stronger and hopefully get to come home.

Aisha Ann - Sunday 20th December 2009, 4 Days old, 32+2 Gestation

Progress: you are still under the photo-therapy lights but doing well. They were going to give you some of my milk today but thought that your'e stomach couldnt handle it just yet so we might try tomorrow.

Visitors: Lots of visitors today. Nanny and Poppy, Daddy bought Zach into to see you. He got very excited about seeing his bubbies. Then we also had Jon, Donna, Tamika and Amelie visit and all the extended Marin & Vella families send their love. Mummy's friend from work Natasha came with her family. Nanna Aziz and Aunty Nadia also came to see you quickly.

Special Moments: I held you in my arms and smiled! Today I got to finally hold you for the first time. It was amazing to feel your little body against mine. You were very settled and your were making a cute little snoring sound hehehe You were able to stay cuddled up on my chest for about 45 minutes. When it came time for you to go back into your humidicrib the nurse unwrapped the blankets and daddy laughed. You were sprawled out like a frog!

A woman can learn alot from holding a new baby. It is life beginning again. No problem in the world is big enough to be remembered. Susan McOmber

L’il Aussie Prems was created by Julia Toivonen in February 2007. Julia is mum to two premature babies, Ronan born at 27 weeks gestation in 2006 & Tristan born at 36 weeks in 2008 and she has recently given birth to her daughter, Kira, who was born at 40 weeks (on her due date) in January 2011. Through Julia’s experience of giving birth so early to Ronan, a year after his 110 day long journey she decided to create an online community to reach out to parents and offer support and understanding whether parents are still in the NICU/SCN or at home. It has been a major learning curve creating and administrating a website but one Julia has thrived on. To date, the forum has a membership of over 1,600 members with a staggering 300,000 forum posts on support and advice from other families. The website is totally free for families.

Each premature baby has their own life battling experiences. Some will have a harder battle than others, and it can be a constant struggle for the families of a premature baby. Learning to live the next few months or even years at hospital waiting for their precious premature babies to grow big and strong before they can come home can be a lonely experience, let alone trying to function with other aspects of normal life. And this experience can be equally draining on other family members of a premmie parent. L’il Aussie Prems offers online support not only to parents but family members as well from the comfort of their own homes.

Julia is actively involved in the premature baby community and has done so since creating L’il Aussie Prems. She was an integral committee member of Victorian charity Lifes Little Treasures until recently. The workload of L’il Aussie Prems has expanded so much that Julia needed to focus her time adminstering the site. Lifes Little Treasures and L’il Aussie Prems remain strong support partners. Julia still remains a founding committee member of the National Premmie Foundation as web administrator/public officer. On Australia Day 2008 Julia was awarded “Local Hero of the Year” through her local Council of Knox, Victoria.

L’il Aussie Prems was created by just one mum, but the websites ideas and implementations are all through the support and dedication of the members and the valuable assistance they provide. Each member has a voice which is why L’il Aussie Prems is the success it is today. Whilst Julia is one of many parents out there offering support she is humbled to know that she is able to help other families.

L’il Aussie Prems is not a registered charity but strongly supports non-profit/charity groups throughout Australia. The most recent groups who received monetary donations from (LAP) were C.H.I.L.D, Sewing Mummy, Backpack 4 Aussie Kids, Heartfelt & Yasminah’s Gift of Hope.

It is our hope that together Yasminah's Gift Of Hope and L'il Aussie Prems can offer a message of support, understanding and a provide a unique Premmie Gift Of Hope Journal to record your babies journey through the rollercoaster ride of the neonatal intensive care unit. We hope that our Gift will become a treasured keepsake of the precious time your child spent in hospital.

We need to raise $2500 to print our first 1000 copies of our Premmie Gift Of Hope Journal to distribute to 22 NICU's around Australia. If you would like to make a monetary donation you can donate via any ANZ branch or Internet Banking:

Yasminah's Gift Of Hope Incorporated

BSB: 012556

Acct No: 905083525

or by Visa, Mastercard or Bpay through
Everyday Hero

Every donation over $2 is Tax Deductible and when making a donation through Everyday Hero you are issued with a Tax Deductible Receipt

No comments:

Post a Comment