Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much to everyone who donated to this drive. You made today an amazing day and I thank you.
I'll be drawing names for the raffle tonight, so stay tuned!
David had informed that he didn't think he'd be able to get away from work to help me. I was disappointed, but understood.
A friend helped me sort through stuff during the day yesterday. She also helped me decorate nearly 6 dozen cupcakes to take with us.
Last night I put our custom made stickers on most everything and got it all boxed up. David loaded my car so all I would need to do is load Robbie and the cupcakes and go.
This morning I called my favorite chaplain from the hospital and told her we were coming to visit and bringing some donations. She offered to meet me at the door and bring a car. YAY!
So I loaded the car and away we went. We were close to the hospital when David called. He was able to get away from work after all, and was on his way!
We got to the hospital and Chaplain Laura was waiting. She helped unload the car and watched Robbie while I parked.
Then we trekked up to our old home-away-from-home.
We walked down the hallway that I walked a year ago today. I was transported back. I felt the fear and dread wash over me like it did that day. It was truly the most terrifying day of my life. I started to choke up a bit as we walked. I was afraid I was going to cry. We passed the counter where I checked in that day. I found myself looking in the faces working there wondering if they were the same ones from last year. It's such a blur that I'm not sure I'd even remember.
We finally passed it, and my anxiety eased. I reminded myself that I knew how the story turned out. Let go of the past.
Then we were at the NICU. Laura called for the volunteer coordinator to come down. A few nurses stopped out to say hello.
I took a box of cupcakes to the family waiting area across the hall. I felt a little shy because there were a lot of people there, but finally cleared my throat and told them that my son, Robbie, was a NICU graduate. He'd been born, I told them, a year ago Sunday and to celebrate, I'd brought some cupcakes. Then I set them down.
Right away, a new mom in a wheelchair started asking questions. Gestation when he was born? How big was he? How big is he now? I got Robbie out of the stroller and showed her.
She asked about his lungs. Another mother asked about his eyes. Her son has ROP.
David had arrived by then and he talked to some parents and helped show Robbie off a bit. By then, it was beginning to feel a little circus-like- but in a good way.
In the meantime, Laura had called for the hospital photographer to come take some pictures. (Much to my chagrin.) We posed for a few pictures. There's some talk of getting them into the next NICU newsletter.
Laura and Kathy (the volunteer coordinator) took the cart of boxes and the cupcakes down to the "new" NICU and we followed shortly thereafter. That's when the REAL fun began.
I didn't think we'd be able to go into the NICU because of germs, but they said we could come just inside the door and wait on a bench. So we did.
As we came through the door, they had started pulling stuff out of the boxes and spreading it out. They looked like kids at Christmas. It was so much fun!
More and more people started coming to see everything. I retold our story. They thanked me. I thanked them.
I cried, of course. I told everyone that without them, this year would have been the worst of our lives instead of the best. I thanked them for this year and everything they do.
There was lots of hugging and smiling and cooing over Robbie.
They decided to leave some of the items out on the counter for everyone to see, then took the box of bears around and started distributing them right away.
The clothes and blankets went to their donation closet.
Kathy was very pleased to see all the books. She said they'd just discussed starting a book drive so parents can read to their babies. Now it's started.
We saw lots of familiar faces. It was honestly just spectacular. Doctors, nurses, therapists, even one of my old lactation consultants came by (I got to brag that I'm still pumping.) to say hello.
Finally, it was time for Robbie to be fed. Laura took us down to Pastoral Services and found us a private place. Robbie was fed (and promptly puked on their pretty couch) and we visited a little while longer. Then we headed back home.
Tonight we'll draw for the raffle and tomorrow we'll get ready for Robbie's birthday on Sunday.
Thank you so much to everyone who participated. You made today a great one not just for us, but for the family and staff in the NICU. We are all truly blessed.
And of course- PICTURES!
many, many cupcakes
Scrapbooking/sign making supplies
more accessories and decor
Robbie is escorting all the goods.
Even the front seat is full.
Chaplain Laura tends all the precious cargo in front of the hospital.
Robbie's daytime primary, Dara, is in the center.
I wish I'd have worn some make up.
No one can resist Robbie!
David, Robbie & Laura