Saturday, July 30, 2011

ebook coming soon - readers wanted

I have finished what I think is the next-to-last draft of an ebook on how to bring faith into the NICU as a Pagan. I'd love to have a couple of people read it and maybe make some comments before I publish it for general consumption - not that it can't get updated as time passes, but I'd like the first edition to be reasonable.

If you're interested in reading the pre-publish version, comment here or on facebook, or email me at

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Holidays in the NICU

With Lughnasadh/Lammas coming up here in the northern hemisphere, I thought it might be useful to talk about celebrating holidays in the NICU.

With our first child, we spent every major public holiday except Memorial Day, and every Wheel of the Year holiday except Beltane in the hospital. While the nursing staff decorated for mainstream holidays like Christmas and Valentine's Day, I wish we'd done more to celebrate our own holidays (at least when they didn't overlap some major crisis with our child).

When considering what we ought to do this time, decorations seemed easiest. Maybe a corn dolly for Lughnasadh? She'd go well on our little altar space - I haven't found one yet, but it's on my ever-present list. Or maybe a little sheaf of wheat? We can't have large amounts of food in the room, only snacks, so bread might be iffy, and that's a major staple for this holiday.

I went looking around online for other suggestions, and found a nice article at Parenting Children with Special Needs - its suggestions are applicable to many holidays, while most other articles I found were specific to Christmas (and a few mention Thanksgiving). Generally, the recommendations fall into categories like decorating your child's room and getting them special holiday outfits.

The other key thing in reading others' experiences, and in looking back on our own, is to do what feels right to you - celebrate how you want, where you want. Celebrate, or don't, based on how you feel. Change traditions or make new ones. Spend the day with family, or in the NICU, depending on what feels most comfortable. This issue of personal comfort and opinion is important - we had a large argument with family about not spending Christmas day with them while our son was in the NICU, because we felt it more important to be with him, rather than with the broader family, and they disagreed. Our decision, though, was that our child needed to come first.

Hopefully you only have one or two holidays to contend with - worst case, skipping a holiday or two because you're busy with your preemie won't kill you, and might just be less stressful than the alternatives.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Care Package Items - Wish List

Hi folks. Glad you could join us. We don't have any requests for care packages yet, but I want to put some thoughts out there for those of you thinking about what would be helpful.

The things I have in mind for care packages fall into three categories: things for parents, things for babies, and religious support.

Things for parents:

  • NICU life accessories. Things like hand sanitizer and lotion. Also small notebooks, pens/pencils, a puzzle book, etc. A lot of these can be had at local department stores on an as needed basis.
  • Toiletries. Some hospitals let you stay on site. Some parents are traveling significant distances to see their babies. Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap etc.
  • Food. I've gotten care packages this time around with single-serving snacks, some natural and some decidedly not. I've gotten coffee samples, bags of tea, coupons for discounts on frozen prepared meals, and gift cards to actual restaurants.
  • Memory type things. Some care packages we've seen include a disposable camera, hand/footprint kits, NICU journals, etc
Things for baby:
  • Clothing for the baby. We have access to a place to get preemie & regular newborn sized clothing. We also have an account with one of the specialty shops that does micropreemie clothes, because we've been doing gift bags for our home hospital for over 2 1/2 years.
  • Baby accessories. Blankets, hats, small stuffed animals (we've had great luck finding stuffed animals at Ikea), pacifiers, etc. Baby-friendly lotion and diaper rash cream too.
Religious things:
  • A symbol of the family's faith. I have a source for tiny silver pentacles. I have a few ankhs. I can get triskele, tree of life, greenman, and Goddess, though they're bigger than I'd like.  I've been unable to find a reasonably priced source of Thor's Hammers that are small
  • Other ritual items. Battery powered LED tealights (most dollar stores have these), maybe a quartz crystal or other protective or healing stone? (I have sources for stones)
  • Once I get it finished, a hard copy of the ebook I'm working on about navigating the NICU experience as a Pagan parent. 
I'm sure there are things I haven't thought of yet. There should probably be some sort of flyer/brochure explaining where this package came from, with links here, and maybe other resources?