One of the questions I'm most frequently asked is this:
What can I do for my friend/neighbor/sister/co-worker who just had a baby born at 24-/25-/26- weeks?
Here are a few things:
- Acknowledge the birth. Do whatever you would have done had the baby been born full-term. If you planned to give a card, do so. If you would have felt the occasion merited a gift, give one. As micropreemie parents, we are well aware that our babies may not make it. But, for now, we are just the parents of a newborn and would appreciate the same joy and excitement that other parents get.
- Offer clear and specific help. Do you know how bleary-eyed and foggy-minded people sometimes get with a new baby? Take that times ten or so. Micropreemie parents are sometimes so overwhelmed it's hard to even think of what needs to be done when people ask us, kindly, "What can I do?" Offer to babysit older siblings, feed pets, watch the house, drive a post-c-section mom to the hospital. If you think they could use it, offer it.
- Provide snacks. The full meals we love to deliver- complete with reheating instructions- to new moms just don't work so well for micropreemie parents. But snacks are a blesssing! It's so easy to forget to eat when you're caught up in the madness of the NICU, but it's still so important for mom and dad to keep their energy up... especially a new mom who's nursing/pumping. Need ideas? Here are a few.
So there you go. What can you do? Any of the above are most welcome! Help me out, fellow micropreemie 'rents... what things can others do to help?
And what can you teach me this week? Despite the fact that absolutely no one participated last week, I am pushing forward! I am convinced I have readers with oodles of knowledge to share...