Friday, January 27, 2012

How to Help a NICU Family

We were helped in so many ways by many people while Cohen was in the NICU. My hope is that by writing out a few of the things that were helpful to us, it may give you ideas of how to help someone else in a similar situation.

Food: Food is always appreciated. Some of my coworkers collected snacks and brought them down to us. This was so great because then I could keep some at the home and some at the NICU. I used them for breakfasts, ate some throughout the day, and gave some to Danny to take home for his lunches.

Meals are also a huge help. Our church brought Danny a meal once a week while I was in the hospital/Cohen was in the NICU. This was really nice for both of us. He liked having real food and I felt a little better that I knew he was at least getting one real meal. Food for the freezer is also awesome. Put meals in disposable dishes or things you don't want back (it's hard to remember what came from where, especially if you aren't home to see who brought what). Some people also brought meals to the hotel for us which was awesome because we were so tired of fast food.

Gift cards to local restaurants or grocery stores.

Gas Cards: Gas was another big expense for us as Danny was driving back and forth to Seattle twice a week.

Help around the house: We had someone from our church offer to mow our lawn over the summer and this was a huge blessing. Danny was barely home and it was one thing he just didn't have to worry about and it was great. If you know the person well, or they are comfortable letting you in their home, offer to clean, take out the garbage, do some housework etc.

Paper plates, plastic silverware, napkins etc if they are away from home. Or even if not, it's nice to not have to do dishes.

Care Package: Some really sweet girls that I went to high school with sent me a care package. It had homemade cookies, a Starbucks gift card, new jammies, a couple of new shirts and a few other things. It seriously made me really happy.

Magazines/Crossword Puzzle books to pass the time

Preemie Clothes: We received some hand me down preemie clothes and some new teeny tiny preemie clothes (made for babies in the NICU) and these were so fun for me. It was nice to have something “normal” to look forward to like dressing my baby.

Kids books: We often felt so helpless when we were with Cohen. There wasn't a lot we could actually do for him. One of the things we found ourselves doing most often was reading him stories. That way he could hear our voices and we could feel like maybe we were doing a little something to help comfort him.

Notes/Cards of Encouragement: The blog and the cards, emails, facebook messages, phone messages etc. were what kept me going, knowing that we were being supported by those around us, friends and strangers alike.

This may be kind of a "duh" thing, but I hope that if you choose to give, you are giving without the expectation of getting anything in return. I would LOVE to be able to send thank you cards to everyone has given to us in any way, big or small. However, I've come to realize that it's just not something I am going to be able to do. So please just know that I am (and they will be) thankful. 

And, just as a final note, when we were going through this, people would always say “Let us know if we can do anything to help” which we so appreciated. However, when you are in the midst of something like having a NICU baby or losing a child, a lot of times you don't know what you need. What was the most helpful for us was when people would suggest something specific like “We will bring you dinner to your house Tuesday night” or “Leave your laundry out, we will come pick it up, wash it, and bring it back”

Thank you to everyone who helped us out in one of these ways or others. We appreciate you so much.

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas! Love the idea of doing someone's laundry. I had some great friends who cleaned my house top to bottom twice- it was so, so helpful.