This post is sponsored by Carter’s on behalf of Everywhere Agency; but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Many of you may not know that June’s birth was quite a scary ordeal. She was born at 34 weeks 6 days and had to be in the NICU. When Carter’s reached out to me to help them celebrate and promote World Prematurity day on November 17th, I instantly said yes.
This is a cause so close to my heart. Those first few weeks in the NICU were some of the hardest scariest days of my life that I’ll never forget. I’ve partnered with Carter’s to help them support Prematurity Awareness month with a generous gift to NICU families. It was my honor to create and deliver this gift basket to the NICU at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The same doctors that saved my little June, and the very same hospital that saved my life as a little girl.
Teddy, June, and I stuffed gift cards, handwritten notes, and a variety of blankets, hats, and bodysuits into a bag for each of the families at the NICU right now. It is such a small thing, but at the same time so huge – to be seen, thought of, and gifted during those hard and scary days.
When June was born I got to see her for about 30 seconds before being rushed off separately to the NICU for June and the ICU for me. I am a Type 1 Diabetic and have been for 20 years, so the risk of complications in pregnancy are high for me. The recovery process can be almost as dangerous as the pregnancy. Due to the nature of June’s needs and the severity of my own, it was over 36 hours before I was able to hold my baby in my arms for the first time. Every second of that 36 hours was excruciating. My precious daughter who had been with me for every second of every day for the past 35 weeks was suddenly taken from me and beyond my reach.
I know it was all for the best. We both needed specialized treatment to keep us safe and healthy, but it sure didn’t make the time we were apart any easier to bear.
When I first got to see her – intubated, with iv’s and oxygen and feeding tubes going into her tiny body – it was surreal. My perfect little baby, covered in all these strange objects. She had the little goggles on to protect her eyes from the uv lights she was under so I couldn’t even see her face fully. I knew all of this was protecting her, keeping her alive, enabling her very breath, but yet, at the same time I wanted to rip it all out and run far away so I could just hold and nurse my daughter in peace. How it was supposed to be. Home. Baby in arms. So sleep deprived, yet so deliriously happy with the precious new addition to our family.
But that was not the case.
It was a long few weeks schlepping my postpartum, milk engorged, and exhausted body to and from the NICU every day. Leaving the hospital without my baby in my arms for the first time was one of the most traumatic things I have been through.
I am so thankful to my family and friends who supported and loved us through these hard days. My sweet son Teddy, just 3 years old at the time, didn’t understand why “my baby” couldn’t come home with him. He cried every time we had to leave her. That was more than my mama heart could bear some days.
But here we are… 18 months later. June is a happy and healthy toddler. With so much to say and so many places to go. She’s your everyday sweet but sassy American girl – and to that I owe all praise to God and to the precious NICU workers.
To all the Nurses and Doctors who provided such amazing care to my June – THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart – thank you. Nicu nurses are the lifeline of these babies. They are true heroes.
When they first told me that June could start wearing clothes I was elated. I would finally get to put my precious girl into one of the outfits I had carefully chosen before her birth.
WRONG! Everything, even the tiniest of newborn bodysuits I had brought, were HUGE on her. My sweet mama then ran out to every store she could find in search of premie outfits. She came back with the tiniest pair of pants and a bodysuit from Carter’s. They almost fit June – but the wires and cords of her IV line and oxygen were a maze to navigate.
I am so proud to partner with Carter’s for this campaign because they heard that. They heard that nothing was really working for these tiny little NICU warriors and THEY. DID. SOMETHING. ABOUT. IT. !!!!
Their newest premie line was inspired by working with the premie heroes – the NICU nurses. The line was created with feedback from Northside Hospital – Atlanta’s neonatal intensive care unit. The collection features plastic buttons and Velcro sleeves so that clothing can be worn during X-rays and to enable easier IV access. The collection also features a new smaller size option for up to 5 pounds, with features designed specifically to meet the needs of these tiny warriors.
The Carter’s premie line is now available in the premie shop on carters.com and in select retail stores.
I am beyond proud and thankful to be a part of this campaign. I celebrate World Prematurity Day with both a humble heart of gratitude to these NICU heroes, and a heart full of pride for my precious little warrior.
To all of you parents with a little one in the NICU right now, I wish you strength and peace during these hard days. I remember them well. Never forget there are people rooting for you and your little warrior.