That's a wrap on our #NICU4U Donation Campaign!
First of all, let us just say that we are blown away by all of your generosity during our #NICU4U Donation Campaign! It was such a joy watching all of the orders to be sent to NICUs roll in. Reading all of your stories truly touched our hearts. You all really have some strong babies out there! We feel honored that many of you have chosen KicKee Pants for your little one's very first outfit and hope to spread KP love to many more to come!
As promised, we have matched all of your donations 1 for 1! In honor of these sweet stories to follow, we have chosen to distribute our donations to these 5 NICUs.
Winchester Medical Center University of Virginia NICU
1840 Amherst Street P.O. Box 801430
Winchester, VA 22601 Charlottesville, VA 22908
Referred by: Amii Fritz
Oliver was born at 25 + 4 days gestation. I went into labor while doing inventory at my store, Up on the Hill Diapers, ( a proud KicKee Pants retailer) but thought it was just a combination of braxton hicks and gas pain. It wasn't until my water broke that I realized it was a problem. I'd been suffering from a subchorionic hemorrhage since week 12. After a quick 4 hour labor Oliver was born naturally at Winchester Medical Center, I was driven there by my wonderful midwife (Oliver was supposed to be my second HBAC), while my husband waited for a sitter for my two older children. Oliver was born at 3:31am, Jan. 2nd. He weighed 700 grams, or 1lb. 9oz.
Oliver spent his first month at WMC, until he needed a PDA ligation, so he was transferred to UVA, which is where we are now. Both NICUs will always have a huge spot in my heart. When my insurance company continually denied back transport (UVA is 3 hours from my home) both NICUs fought hard to send Oliver and I back. Sadly, we lost that battle.
It’s one small step for Oliver but one giant leap into totally uncharted territory. After the most nerve wracking car ride of their lives, Oliver and Guy finally brought Oliver home on April 22nd after spending the first 4 months of his life in the NICU. The coming months and years hold many unknowns but they know it comes with multiple monitors, lots of anxiety and many, many specialist visits.Here’s to an exciting, if a bit terrifying new adventure!
Feel free to read more of his journey here.
Children's Medial Center Dallas
1935 Medical District Drive
Dallas, TX 75235
Referred by: Cami Dickson
Our first daughter Emerson came a little unexpectedly and required NICU support, along with even more specialized support. When I went in to see my OB for my 36-week check, we discovered I tested positive for protein and my blood pressure was elevated. By the time I got to triage that afternoon, my blood pressure was too high and we were unable to lower it to a safe level. That night we decided to induce. We started my magnesium drip, which if you’ve ever had one…you know how much fun that is, and got my Pitocin going. I spent the next 2 days stuck in the hospital trying to deliver but was not successful; in fact I never dilated past a 1. By Sunday, after being admitted on Thursday, it was time to go ahead with the C-section. On January 20, 2013 at 9:58 am Emerson was born. By the end of my surgery, I began to feel it because my epidural had been in place too long and it wasn’t working fully. The medicine they gave me to augment the epidural makes the next memories a little blurry, but I can clearly remember Emerson didn’t cry; I had waited so long to hear that cry and it wasn’t happening. I can remember the panic in my husband’s face and voice, he was trying to be strong but I know him too well. I can remember the alarms--the alarms going off because she wasn’t getting enough oxygen to her body. We had gotten no warning that anything would be wrong with her; as far as we knew we were delivering a healthy baby girl, just a few weeks earlier than planned. That illusion quickly crashed around us as the NICU staff jumped into action.
The NICU staff at our hospital quickly did an echo to find out that Emerson did in fact have a significant heart defect. They were not equipped to handle such a case, so they immediately flew her by helicopter to our metro Children’s hospital. One of the worst parts of that medevac was that I had to stay in the first hospital for another four days. I didn’t get to hold Emerson until she was 4 days old.
We stayed at Children’s in Oklahoma City for the next 3 weeks where they monitored her. They were absolutely amazing there and we loved our nurses, doctors and cardiologists...they couldn't have been more sympathetic, knowledgeable or compassionate. After the first few days, we discovered that Emerson had severe pulmonary stenosis (major blockage from her heart to her lungs, inhibiting her from getting enough blood oxygenated) and 2 large holes. Surprisingly, she appeared to be doing well enough with oxygen support that they were talking about letting her go home to get bigger for surgery. Even so, one doctor was pushing hard for a heart catheter procedure to allow us to get a good look at her heart and see exactly how bad the problem was. It was a very good thing he did, as she turned blue on their table more than once, quickly showing them that her heart was worse than anyone thought. It had been working extremely hard to pump what little blood it could through to the lungs, the walls were starting to enlarge and her pulmonary pressures were increasing. She needed surgery as soon as possible. At the time, this hospital did not have a cardiac surgeon who could handle her defect, so once again, she was on a helicopter, this time on her way to Dallas, TX. Thankfully, I was there to see her off that time; I kissed her goodbye and raced outside to watch them take off. I can still vividly remember watching that helicopter take off in the blue skies, everything was so rushed and chaotic but for that moment there was peace.
Once we got to Dallas we went straight to the CVICU (Cardiovascular ICU), a whole section devoted strictly to children with significant heart defects. It was an incredibly well organized place, beautifully decorated and the people were great. We knew we were in good hands immediately. The team there was hopeful that they could do another heart catheter procedure, this time for intervention, to see if they could buy her more time before needing major surgery. The more she could grow, the better her chances. During the middle of her procedure, they came out to tell us that their original plan was not going to work and they needed to try a riskier option that required the ECMO team and surgical team to be right there just in case it didn’t go as planned. I’ll never forget the nurse who was keeping us updated said, “If you believe in it, this would be a good time to pray.” I’ll always remember that because I think it’s when I truly discovered just how serious her heart condition was and how much it literally threatened her survival. Thankfully, she made it through that procedure without any major complications, but the intervention did not work as hoped and a few days later she was going in for major open-heart surgery.
At exactly 1 month old and 5 pounds, we sent our tiny little warrior in for a 7-hour surgery; a very long 7 hours sitting in the waiting room desperate for our hourly reports. Finally, she came through it having done great--better than expected! We got her settled and since she had a team of 5-7 doctors and nurses watching her that night, we finally left late to get a few hours of sleep in our room at the Ronald McDonald House.
At 6:15am, we received a terrible phone call telling us that it wasn’t looking good and we needed to get to the hospital immediately to be at her bedside--she had coded. She needed CPR for 45 minutes and emergency bedside surgery to open her chest back up. Because of the frantic work, we weren't allowed back to her room. All we could do was sit in a small conference room with our families, praying for hours and waiting to hear any news; hoping that the next person who opened the door wasn’t the one to tell you that your baby didn’t make it. By the grace of God and an amazing staff, she made it through! That’s a feeling impossible to forget and life-changing forever. If it weren’t for the amazingly talented staff at CMC Dallas CVICU we wouldn't have our Emerson here today.
We stayed in Dallas for another 9 weeks while her heart recovered, then flew her back to Children's in Oklahoma City only to have another surgery on her collapsing airway so that it would allow her to lower her oxygen needs enough that we would be able to take her home. Only 3 days short of her 3-month birthday, we were finally headed home!
Emerson came home on oxygen, with a feeding tube and a pulse oximeter. It looked like we had a mini hospital in our house! The feeding tube was gone after 2 weeks, but the oxygen and pulse ox remained 24 hours a day until she was 10 months old and at night until she was 16 months old. Because the pulse ox worked out best around her foot, the only jammies she could wear were button ones (zipper ones required the cord go up her entire body and out her neck), footless ones or sleeper dresses without feet. That's when Kickee Pants came into our lives! They were great!! Cute, soft and offered with buttons, footies and the Layette gowns! My only regret was not finding them sooner! They would have been perfect for our time spent in the hospital, as we had a lot more cords then! So I am nominating CMC Dallas CVICU for a KP donation. Roughly 1 in 100 children are born with a congenital heart defect. Many require surgery before the age of 1 and I believe these children could benefit greatly from a donation.
Baylor Scott and White Hospital
100 Hillcrest Medical Blvd
Waco, TX 76712
Referred By: Laura Pahmiyer
I've been blessed with 3 amazing kiddos and all 3 have been NICU babies. My 2 last babies were both born at Baylor Scott & White in Waco, TX and besides the fact that I didn't get to take my babies home when I wanted to, the nicu took incredible care of my girls (my son was born in Louisiana in a different hospital)! My daughter, Audrey, was born in 2008 at 38 weeks but shortly after birth, collapsed a lung causing a 12 day stay in the hospital penthouse (that place is a healthy 10k per night)! Having 2 babies in 2 years was quite an adventure and after 5 1/2 years my husband and I decided to add another dimension to our craziness! Our caboose baby, Emily, was born 3 months ago on December 18, 2014. She got to visit the nicu for 10 days to clear her lungs. It was some of the hardest 10 days we've ever gone through. We never worried that she wouldn't pull through, we just had to give her time to clear her lungs. But with a house full of extended family in town for the holidays, 6 and 8 year old siblings that didn't understand why they couldn't meet the sister that they've been excited about for 8 months, and a very type A mommy who just wanted her family home for Christmas those were 10 very long days. The nurses, therapists, assistants, doctors were amazing. They knew how to take care of Emily to get her ready for home but they took care of me too. Each day when I came in Emily had different bedding and her sweet nurse always had a coordinating bow in her hair, one nurse made Christmas cards with her foot print for big brother and sister, and each milestone Emily hit her nurses always called to give me the news that she was one step closer to being home. We are so thankful for our
University of Vermont Medical Center
11 Colchester Ave
Burlington, VT 05401
Referred By: Cristi N.
I have to say this was rather cathartic, sharing my story. Thanks for the opportunity to share and for all of the love sent to NICU staff, parents and most of all the babies!
I spent an hour and half napping the day that my sone was born. In hindsight, I wish I had held him for each and every precious moment. Little did I know it would be several days before I would get to hold my sweet little bundle of joy again. I was awoken by a nurse saying they needed to take him for a check up. It turns out that he had shown some concerning signs at birth, shallow breathing. One nurse was supposed to check back on him, but due to a shift change, this had gone unnoticed.
Labor had been long and difficult- of course it usually is. I had spent 26 hours in labor including 6 hours of pushing. I delivered in front of a room full of nurses and doctors, ready to whisk me off to the OR at any moment. I hadn't including a cheerleading team, yelling PUSH or the threatened C-section in my birth plan, but I am thankful that they kept giving me a little more time. So, of course I needed a nap afterwards. They were giving me oxygen. And labor was tough on him too. His heart rate dropped at times.
And apparently, something weird was going on with his oxygen too, at birth. He was diagnosed with pneumothorax, basically collapsed lungs (both sides). The little air sacs in his longs hadn't expanded properly at his first breath, which causes this condition. There had also been macomium in the placenta. He had to be transferred to a level 3 trauma unit NICU an hour away. We were reassured that he was strong and healthy and would be fine but needed oxygen and antibiotics.
At the NICU he was put under a hood, hooked up with a IV and given and oxygen mask. Because of the equipment, we couldn't hold him. Or kiss him. We could only sit beside this sweet little being and tell him that we love him and that there were many happier. brighter days in his future. I couldn't wait to show him that there was more beauty in the world than he could ever imagine, fully knowing that he couldn't really see just yet anyways.
Words can't explain the joy at having him in our life and the simultaneous sadness at the difficult start that our son had gotten. I knew - I could see it in him- that he was super strong and super healthy! I knew he would be just fine! I saw other babies, born premature, born with injuries/illnesses. My heart ached for those parents!
Eventually out little boy, no longer needed the mask but he needed to remain in the NICU until he would breast feed, so the IV could be removed. I was desperate to get him to nurse, but it still was many hours. Eventually we were transferred to the maternity ward. He still needed a week of IV antibiotics, but our family had our room together in the hospital to bond. And I could pick him up when he cried!
While I know we were blessed to have a generally healthy baby and that many babies spend far more time in the NICU than we did, I have to say to was a difficult start. It's tough to imagine the pain and worry that many families go through. And sadness that NICU nurses see on a daily basis.The nurses in the NICU were great throughout the entire experience.
I know that it's only a drop in the bucket to send cupcakes or soft bamboo clothing to those working or spending time in the NICU, but I think that it's a truly wonderful gift that KP offers. Not only does it brighten the days of those in the NICU but it gives us, the NICU parents, and opportunity to give back and to reach out to parents who are suffering in a way that only we, the NICU parents, can relate to.
We ended this campaign with a bang by marching for babies with the March of Dimes in Newport Beach on Sunday, April 26th. Many of our staff members are located at our office in Washington, so the KP wholesale gang recruited a few of our friends to join our team! It was great to come together for an awesome cause and to spread the KP word to families in the area. We're already getting excited for next year!
We just want to say one more big THANK YOU to everyone who shared their stories, shared our posts, donated items and helped us spread the word to support our NICUs as well as the babies and families who spend time there. They need all the help they can get, and we are more than happy to help!
Until next time everyone....:)