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NICU Care Packages for Families

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If you’ve been with us for the long haul, you might remember that we had a community effort project of NICU Kits that we assembled and donated to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit connections at St. Vincent Women’s and families all over the nation. We had a passion for parents going through the uncertainties and challenges of the NICU and thoughtfully considered things that might have helped our own 5 week stint. It was a wonderful project that fulfilled our desire to give back, and come together to connect with our readers for a bigger cause. Some of our readers donated handmade blankets and hats, notebooks, and a variety of items. Our hospital donated sleep sacks and bags to contain all of the items.

However, right around the toddler stage, it became more of a project than we could handle with four rascals getting into everything, my physical condition, Brad’s job loss, and the challenges of life. We still wanted to find time to put towards it, but keeping up with donations, requests, mailings, and using our own funds just became too much. for that season in life. We packed up some of the remaining ingredients, hoping to return to it soon.

I thought about having Assembling Parties or Donation Drives and how we could make it not so much on us, but regretfully it just didn’t happen…until Sunday.

We cleaned out the storage area under our stairs, and instead of putting the storage bins back, I decided to just make up as many kits as we had leftovers for right then. I made an assembly line with all of the ingredients lined up and before I could even start putting them together I had an army of willing volunteers. The man power I needed several years ago was right under my roof now! 

We put together over 30 kits as a team! Instead of waiting for requests and mailing these, we decided to donate the majority of them back to our NICU to distribute. One of our main Nurse Practitioners who we shot the “Tiny Successes Commercial” with happened to be on shift, so we got to catch up with her. She had not seen the boys in person since they were around four pounds each at their discharge. The boys heard a lot of their story of the NICU days from a new perspective and appreciation.

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They have come so far since they made their exit from the NICU and into our home, but we’ll never forget their beginning and those who God put in our path to help preserve their lives. 

So we have a few assembled kits held back for personal contacts and opportunities in the future. Maybe we’ll start a community collection project agin in the future, but for now, we’d LOVE to see ANYONE have the resources to make their own NICU Care Kit.

Here are some of the suggested ingredients we include in our NICU Care Kit Packages:

  • Preemie Sized Blanket
  • Preemie Sized Hat
  • Personalized Name Card for the Isolette
  • Lotion (hands get so dry after washing them constantly)
  • Lip Balm
  • Change for Vending Machines
  • Storybook (We love On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman)
  • Personal Note
  • Travel-Size Kleenex
  • Notebook/Journal (for keeping track of weights, terminology, doctors reports, etc)

We look forward to hearing how you’ve encouraged and loved others through this idea, and are excited about how it can reach so many more families during their difficult journey! 

 

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Preemies to Kings

Our tiny miracles turn FIVE today. It’s absolutely astonishing.

Henry Samuel Murray (cq), bathed in blue ultraviolet light in the NICU at St. Vincent Women's Hospital, Friday, February 9, 2007,  was the first in a set of quadruplets born to Jen and Brad Murray last Friday, February 2, 2007.  He was 2 lbs 11 ozs at birth.    The four brothers are all in the NICU.  (Kelly Wilkinson / The Indianapolis Star)

What a road we’ve journeyed together, Sweet Miracle Boys!

Jenny Heminger, RN (cq, hands) checks digestion on Brooks Layton Murray (cq) in the NICU at St. Vincent Women's Hospital, Friday, February 9, 2007.    Brooks was the second in a set of quadruplets born to Jen and Brad Murray last Friday, February 2, 2007.  He was 3 lbs at birth.    The four brothers are all in the NICU.  (Kelly Wilkinson / The Indianapolis Star)

I never thought I’d give birth to a baby that would be dependent on ventilators, tubes, wires, and monitors to survive.  I never could have fathomed the helplessness I would feel to watch one of my babies struggle to breath so much that he would have to be paralyzed, that a swarm of medical staff would gather around his bedside for hours monitoring him, turning up settings, and maxing out on meds to save his life. To be so afraid that his life was about to end that I couldn’t even bare to take his picture for his first few days of life.

 Jenny Heminger, RN (cq) checks Brooks Layton Murray (cq) in the NICU at St. Vincent Women's Hospital, Friday, February 9, 2007.  Brooks was the second in a set of quadruplets born to Jen and Brad Murray last Friday, February 2, 2007.  He was 3lbs at birth.    The four brothers are all in the NICU.  (Kelly Wilkinson / The Indianapolis Star)

I never imagined not being able to hold or even touch my baby after my delivery. 

 Clark Thomas Murray (cq) rests in the NICU at St. Vincent Women's Hospital, Friday, February 9, 2007.   He was the third in a set of quadruplets born to Jen and Brad Murray last Friday, February 2, 2007.  He was 3 lbs 6 ozs at birth.    The four brothers are all in the NICU.  (Kelly Wilkinson / The Indianapolis Star)

I couldn’t have pictured a baby so tiny that they would swim in preemie clothes and blankets. A diaper that fit in my hand, a bottle that looked like it was made for a doll baby, a blood pressure cuff that could wrap around my index finger…

Jen Murray (cq) watches as Nataline Foskey, RNC (cq) puts Murray's son Isaac Edward Murray (cq) back into his NICU crib at St. Vincent Women's Hospital, Friday, February 9, 2007.  Isaac was the last in a set of quadruplets born to Jen and Brad Murray last Friday, February 2, 2007.  He was four lbs at birth.  All four of the babies are in the NICU.  (Kelly Wilkinson / The Indianapolis Star)

I didn’t anticipate the way it would feel watching skilled nurses caring for you, feeding for you, providing for you, when all I could do was sit and watch. Giving my milk was the only thing that felt like being a mother, but even then it came through a tube instead of nursing in my arms.

Jen and Brad Murray (cq) hold their son Brooks Layton Murray (cq) while he is being fed by Jenny Heminger, RN (cq, hand), at the St. Vincent Women's Hospital NICU, Friday, February 9, 2007.  Brooks was the second in a set of quadruplets born to Jen and Brad Murray last Friday, February 2, 2007.  He was three lbs at birth.  All four of the babies are in the NICU.  (Kelly Wilkinson / The Indianapolis Star)

I never imagined the overwhelming sense of gratitude I would feel not just on the day of your birth, but daily. A thankfulness to our great God for giving us not just one life but four. A joy for the ability to watch you grow, learn, and thrive. An absolute awe in how the Lord has provided…

Four heartbeats who weren’t given the most promising shot at life, are healthy and happy – living like kings.

quadruplet boys fifth birthday

NICU photos taken at St.Vincent Women’s by IndyStar

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St. Vincent’s Annual NICU Reunion Picnic 2011

kiddie train ride

It’s always hard to put into words what the annual St. Vincent’s NICU Reunion Picnic means to us.  I’ve attempted for the last four years, but it always feels inadequate. Sure, St. V’s knows how to throw a great summer party in the park with games, bounce houses, a petting zoo, snacks, train rides, etc. However, getting to thank the docs and nurses that helped saved our babies lives…nothing beats that. It’s phenomenal to be surrounded by so many little miracle lives and to try and comprehend all that they have overcome. However, it’s sobering to be reminded how many each year loose their battle to prematurity.

We continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude to our hospital and staff and how God used them in the lives of our four boys.

St. Vincent NICU Picnic 2011

We also love the opportunity to see familiar faces from our month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as well as celebrate with all the other multiples families we have gotten to know.  This year, I think we broke a record with 8 (Yes, EIGHT!) sets of quadruplets. Here’s a picture with Dr. Sumners and 5 sets he has delivered in the past 4 years. Incredible, right?

five sets of quadruplets in Indiana

Don’t you think he should offer a free quad parents night out? It could be a great thank you gift from us parents. {giggles}

teeter totters for 4 

Our boys love the picnic more every year, and I think they comprehend a little more each year what we’re celebrating.

Celebrating life. Celebrating accomplishments. Celebrating people that God has put in our path for a purpose.

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