Monday, March 31, 2008

Comforting Message: The Preemie Prayer

I found this preemie prayer, searching for prayers that would work for premature babies.

According to the blog entery, Preemie Prayer Revisited on her Preemies then Twins Blog by Sadye Spirit, this prayer was posted above the sinks where NICU Parents, families and staff scrubbed in at the Progressive NICU in the hospital her preemie twins stayed. The poem has brought many a NICU parent to tears.

The Preemie Prayer
Dear God, as you look down upon us,
We know that you might have to squint.
We're located here in the NICU
It's the nursery that we rent.

There are many alarms and sirens,
Connected to condos and flats.
The nurses tape our booties on,
And dress us in funny hats.

We have a lot in common;
All of us were in a hurry.
For many different reasons,
Our storks came a little early.

Some of us don't know why,
We bursted out from our bubbles.
We entered into this world,
Never meaning to cause any troubles.

Mommy and Daddy are worried sick
About the odds that we must beat.
Please God, help them to realize,
That seeing us grow is a treat.

Breath by breath, we'll learn to breathe.
Ounce by ounce we'll tip the scale.
We're like a boat in the ocean,
That knows not sink- only sail.

For we are living miracles,
Mommy and Daddy must simply believe,
That you have angels watching over us;
From the time we arrive, till the time we leave.
Author Unknown

If anyone knows the author of this poem, let me know so I can give him or her proper credits.

Another Preemie Prayer:
You can read another prayer for a Premature Baby at the Our Kids site. A short excerpt is below:
God bless the little child behind the plastic wall
For all he knows is the ringing of the bells and
the blurred images around him.
He has been taken from my womb without warning
and I long to hold him in my arms.
Author Unknown. Premature Baby Prayer. Our Kids.

This prayer is being republished on the anniversary of the day that my youngest was transferred to the higher level NICU.

Abcdz2000. Praying. Royalty Free Use.
Ensignmedia. Carissa Prayer. Morguefile Free License.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Zaky - A Comforting Hand for Your NICU Baby

To this day one of the hardest things for me in having a NICU baby was not being able to stay with her and watch over her 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

We had a 2-year-old daughter who also needed our care and attention, so could visit for some time during the day, but had to leave her behind in the care of others in the ICN.

One of the best ideas that I have found for helping support a NICU baby and support the NICU parent is the Zaky ergodynamic hand pillow. The Zaky Infant Pillow is a way to simulate mother's or father's hand to provide comfort to your NICU baby when you are not able to do so.

Uses for the Zaky
By mimicking the shape, weight and touch of a human hand, the Zaky is able to provide comfort, support and a sense of security to NICU babies. The Zaky can also be used in the NICU to assist with positioning the babies (see image above).

The Zaky
has been used to care for NICU Babies by mothers, fathers and family members, neonatologists, pediatricians, surgeons, obgyns, nurses, physical & occupational therapists, infant massage therapists, developmental specialists & ergonomists. The Zaky has been used in NICUs since 2001.

The Zaky
The Zaky is now available on Amazon in different hands and in different colors for you to get for your NICU Baby or give to your favorite NICU parent. Click on the image or the text link to learn more about the Zaky.

Right Handed Zaky

The Zaky Positioning Pillow - Right Hand

Left Handed Zaky

The Zaky Positioning Pillow - Left Hand

Pink Zaky

The Zaky Bonding Hand - Pink

Blue Zaky

The Zaky Bonding Hand - Blue

More on the Zaky
Dyer KA. The Zaky - A Bonding Hand from Zakeez inc.
Dyer KA. Leave a Zaky hand with Your NICU Baby - Providing Comfort When You are Not There. July 2007. NICU Parent Support Blog.

More on Remembering out NICU Experience
Dyer KA. March 2008. An Easter Healing Blessing in the Intensive Care Nursery. NICU Parent Support Blog.
Dyer KA. March 2008. Creating a Circle of Healing and Support. NICU Parent Support Blog.

Photo Source: Zakeez.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Encouraging Message: Advice from a NICU Physician on Coping with the NICU

Leonard E. Weisman M.D. Director of the Perinatal Center at Texas Children's Hospital offered these encouraging words about coping with the NICU experience:

    It's a day-to-day kind of thing..
    There are days when things go well.

    There are days when things don't go well.

Leonard E. Weisman M.D.

It is my hope that you have more days when things go well than days when things don't.

Photo Source: Ayhan Yildiz. Calendar. Royalty Free Use.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Creating a Circle of Healing and Support

I have long held the belief, both personally and professionally, that there is a healing power in holding a person in one's thoughts whether you are saying prayers or giving blessings or lighting candles. This belief in holding a person in your thoughts are the same beliefs echoed by Dr. Jim Reeves, the urologist who treated Cancer Survivor, Lance Armstrong.
There is an ancient Chinese belief
that when a person is held
in the hearts and minds and souls
of so many other people,
they can do better.
One of the greatest difficulties for me as a NICU parent, who was also used to being a physician, was the overwhelming feeling that there wasn't anything I could do for my daughter. I had to step back and turn over all of the care to those who understood the NICU technology and could help her medically to heal.

I decided to change my feeling of helplessness by taking a more active role in her care. We created a Circle of Healing to have friends and family hold her 'in their hearts and minds and she could do better.'

Our Circle of Healing for My Youngest Daughter

Within days after the birth of my youngest daughter and her unexpected NICU admission, thanks to the connection power of the Internet, we were able to quickly contact friends and family to notify them of what had happened.

On Easter morning, our newborn daughter was included on several prayer lists and prayer circles, only two days after her birth. Via phone calls and e-mail messages we tapped into the healing powers to create a circle of positive thoughts and energies from friends and family around the United States and around the world. We asked everyone to hold our daughter in their thoughts, to keep positive thoughts and prayers to mentally aid in her healing process and strengthen the Circle of Healing around her.

I truly believe that having so many people hold our daughter in their hearts, minds and souls, mentally aided in her healing process. We were blessed with the outcome. The Circle of Healing we created for her helped keep her safe and protected until she was strong enough to be discharged from the hospital.

Continuing the Circle of Healing
Rev. Schwing (see prior post) was the start of the Circle of Healing that we created starting on Easter Sunday Morning for my youngest daughter Kristiina while she was in the NICU.

Writing this article, I wondered who would be there if our baby had a health crisis? I don’t know. I trust that the Circle of Healing would be there. Sometimes we are on the giving end, sometimes on the receiving end. That’s what keeps the circle going.
The nurses at UCSF continued Kristiina's Circle of Healing by hanging a blessing that we wrote for her above her isolette. You can read a copy of the blessing that we wrote for her posted on the Journey of Hearts Website as A Healing Blessing. Part of the blessing is included below.

Ironically, Rev. Schwing would experience being a NICU parent several years later with the birth of his second child. The Circle of Healing was there during his challenging time in the NICU.

My Wish for Current NICU Parents
For this Easter season, as I am reminded of our own NICU experiences, I would like to extend the following wish for NICU and ICN parents who currently have their newborns in the hospital.
May you continue to heal
moment by moment
hour by hour
day by day
knowing that so many love you
and wait to welcome you.

May you feel loved.
May you be safe.
May you be protected.
May you be strong.
May you be healed.

May you find healing, in whatever form that healing might take.

Our Easter Gift
This Special Healing Blessing comes as a bonus when you download the Free NICU eBook, For Those Who Hold the Littlest Hands.

More Resources:

Dyer KA.
An Easter Healing Blessing in the Intensive Care Nursery NICU Parent Support Blog.
Dyer KA.
Circle of Healing - Cloisonné Lapel Pin. The Violet Heart Collection on Squidoo.
Dyer KA. 2002. A Healing Blessing. Journey of Hearts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An Easter Healing Blessing in the Intensive Care Nursery

With the Easter Season on us very soon, I am reminded of our Easter adventure many years ago with my youngest daughter.

I recently rediscovered Rev. Jurgen Schwing's publication of our ICN/NICU Story as an example of a Healing Blessing used at the beginning of life.

Jurgen tells of our ICN/NICU adventures from the perspective of the Chaplain on call. He is the one that was asked to wake up in the middle of the night to come into the hospital. (Ironically, Rev. Schwing would experience being a NICU parent several years later with the birth of his second child.)

You can read more of Rev. Schwing's "Healing Blessing in the Intensive Care Nursery" at the Chaplaincy Institute website.

Healing Blessing
Even though we weren't very religious, when the decision was made to transfer Kristiina to another hospital for higher level of care, we wanted her blessed before going. She was born on Good Friday and was going to be transferred on Easter Morning. We were hoping her name would be good karma.

Rev. Schwing came up with a beautiful blessing for Kristiina:

Little Kristiina,

I bless you and ask that God may heal you.

May the One who formed you in your mother's womb blow divine breath through your lungs so that you can breathe the breath of life.

May your heart beat and your blood circulate and bring you Divine love and light, may you know that you are loved and wanted, and may you find deep inside of you a call to survive, to live, to thrive.

May the God who formed you in the depths of the earth give you many days & years of life.

May you grow up and become all you were meant to be.

I bless this woman and this man, your parents, Kirsti and Cole.

May God's hand be on your shoulders and relieve your fears.

May the One whose knowledge is so vast be the light on your journey.

May you be given the love and strength to bring your daughter through this difficult time,

and may you watch her grow up, proud and filled with knowing what a miracle she is.

More on our Easter NICU Experience later next week...


Schwing J. Healing Blessing in the Intensive Care Nursery. Chaplaincy Institute website.
Dyer KA.
Observing Mother’s Day with Renewed Appreciation. Journey of Hearts.
Dyer KA.
Observing Mother's Day with Renewed Appreciation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

NICU Parent Support Blog: Blogging without Obligation

I loved the concept of "Blogging without Obligation" when I stumbled across it and knew it would be something I would adopt for the NICU Parent Support Blog. The concept was developed by graphic + mixed media artist and sometimes blogger, Tiffini Elektra of the tartx website.

She came up with the concept of BWO after "coming across what seemed to be the 4000th or so post on someone’s blog starting with 'I’m sorry I haven’t posted in awhile'" and decided it was time to "rethink what makes a good blog and the expectations that have come to be part of it."

Blogging Without Obligation means you blog:
  • Because you shouldn't have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill.
  • Because its okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.
  • Because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.
  • Because sometimes less is more.
  • Because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog.
  • Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone.
  • Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be "bloggable".
  • Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won't be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time...
As has Journey of Hearts, the NICU Parent Support Blog has also been a labor of love, another site from which I do not earn an income. This blog is primarily a hobby. It has been created as a resource and a way to provide information for other NICU Parents to help them through their NICU adventures rather than blogging with daily updates.

I hope that you find the blog postings here useful as I continue to add information and resources that would have been helpful for us during our NICU stay.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (Bereavement Photography) on NBC's Today Show

The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation is there for parents and families to help aid them in their Healing, bring Hope to their future, and Honor to their child.

It is through Remembrance that a family can truly begin to heal.
NILMDTS Foundation

In March 2008, the Today Show featured an episode on Bereavement Photography, photographing the end of a newborn's or child's life.

Learn more about these very special photographers who are able to bring comfort to parents at the end of a child's life by taking permanent reminders of a life.

About Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation
The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation (NILMDTS) administers a network of almost 7,000 volunteer photographers in the United States and twenty-five countries. At a family's request, a NILMDTS Affiliated Photographer will come to your hospital or hospice location and conduct a sensitive and private portrait session.

The portraits are then professionally retouched and presented to the families on an archival DVD or CD that can be used to print portraits of their cherished baby.

You can find out more about Bereavement Photography at the Squidoo Lens that I developed on the subject.

Dyer K. 2007-8. Bereavement Photography.