One of the greatest, and possibly most unexpected, parts of my job as Founder and Director here at Sadie's Purpose is getting to meet other NICU families. Of course, I was aware that there were many other families out there who had been touched by the NICU.
But with one out of every ten babies born in the US being admitted to the NICU, we are more common than you might think. But we don't go around holding a sign that says, "Hey there! I'm a NICU parent!" We are moms, dads, co-workers, your dentist, your hair stylist, or the cashier at the grocery store. We're just like you. And we have a story to share.
Since beginning my journey with Sadie's Purpose, I have been privileged to meet some inspiring and wonderful people. Some, like me, have lost their babies. Others took their tiny fighters home as happy and healthy miracles. No matter how their NICU journey turned out, their stories inspire me to keep going and do more.
Stephanie Laskoskie is one of these amazing moms. She and her husband, along with their two children, welcomed their boy/girl twins into the world at just 23 weeks and 2 days. A baby born at 23 weeks has about a 37 percent chance of survival. That is not a statistic you want to hear as a parent.
But, Stephanie's little miracles are now five years old! They are living proof that the NICU is a place where miracles happen, and I am so happy to have met her and learned more about her family and what she's doing now.
Stephanie is the owner of From Small Beginnings, and her organization provides care packages to siblings of babies in the NICU. That sounds like something we at Sadie's Purpose would like, right? 😁 She is the author of two books called "My Baby is a Superhero" and "From Small Beginnings." I got her books in the mail yesterday and I knew that I had to share them with our readers and supporters here.
"My Baby is a Superhero"
Her book "My Baby is a Superhero" was published in 2018. The first thing you notice is the absolutely adorable cover, with the baby in a superhero cape. The book is illustrated by Lance Trachier who did an incredible job capturing emotion in kid-friendly pictures.
The book is written from the point of view of a young sibling of a NICU baby. The young child is so excited that "their baby" is here, but knows that the baby was born too soon. But, in true young child fashion, he sees all of the baby's setbacks as a superhero in disguise.
It is playfully written while still conveying a powerful message that, as a NICU parent who had older children, I understand well. Your children will see the NICU differently than you will, and that's a good thing. My memories and my children's memories aren't the same, and I am thankful for that. Children don't need that burden.
This sweet story about a young child's love for his new
baby is a must-read for anyone. Whether you've had a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit or not, you'll be touched when you see the NICU through the eyes and imagination of this sweet sibling who is so proud of "his baby."
You can find the book to purchase here on the From Small Beginnings website. Gift it to a special sibling you know today!
"From Small Beginnings"
The book "From Small Beginnings" was published last year, and it is absolutely beautiful. Also illustrated by Lance Trachier, the pictures evoke emotions of calm and peace. The story could be told through from a parent's persepective - proud of their fierce, tiny new baby.
"Though she but little, she is fierce."
- William Shakespeare
That is one of my favorite quotes, and I feel that this book embodies it well. A NICU baby is tiny and truly comes from small beginnings. But look out world, because once they're strong, they are unstoppable!
Just like the mountains, the redwood trees, and the volcanos in this book, a NICU warrior is a force to be reckoned with. The beautiful, poetic words in this book and the soothing pictures make this an ideal gift for a NICU parent or baby.
I know that I would read to our girls every time we visited the NICU, and this would have been one to include in my rotation if it had been out then. This book is an absolute must-have for new parents. You can purchase it here.
Bigger than us
Once you have experienced life in a NICU and seen your baby (or babies) fight for their lives every single second of every day, you see things differently. You know that the experience is bigger than you, or even than your family.
Every room and bed in that unit is full of families like yours. Their situations may be different. But they are all experiencing the same anger, fear, guilt, sadness, and any other number of emotions that you are.
That is why so many of us feel driven to give back. We made it through and found the light at the end of that long, dark tunnel. And now it's our turn to help other families just beginning their journey. Stephanie's books and her program do just that.
I am so proud to support Stephanie and From Small Beginnings, and I hope that you'll support her as well. I know that our amazing supporters here at Sadie's Purpose know that together we can make a difference!