Well, we got the bags in on Friday afternoon, and we woke up today and decided to get them all filled and ready to go. We are both off of work on Monday, so we are going to deliver our FIRST FIFTY BAGS on Monday!! We are soo excited! It feels so good to finally have everything that we have been working on a reality. It's also very bittersweet. There were tears today. It's hard knowing that the reason we are doing this to keep our son's memory alive. We should be holding our son and kissing him and raising our boys together.
Dear NICU Parent,
We would like to offer you a little comfort during your son or daughter’s stay in the NICU. The bag you have just been given has been donated in memory of our son, Michael Joseph Skaggs, who we called MJ. MJ was born on July 25, 2009 with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), which occurs when the diaphragm does not fully form, allowing the stomach organs into the chest cavity, which severely hinders lung and heart development. MJ fought for his life for 35 amazing days before passing away in the arms of his mother on the evening of August 29, 2009. MJ’s 35 days were filled with ups and downs; smiles and tears, but most of all, he knew that he was loved. We spent all of his days, and many of his nights at the hospital and we know how trying having a baby in the NICU can be. After we lost MJ we searched and thought very hard of something to do to keep his memory alive. We stumbled across a website called Project Sweet Peas.
Project Sweet Peas seeks to provide a little touch of comfort for parents of children in the intensive care units. This project was started by a group of parents who have one thing in common; we have all experienced what it is like having a critically ill child in the NICU. Through our experience we came together for support and comfort. Now it is our turn to give back. Our goal is simple: To provide gift bags that give a touch of comfort to someone in need and let them know they are not alone. We knew this was the best way to keep MJ’s memory alive. So we called our local project, MJ’s Memories, because we want to honor every single memory that he gave us during his short life.
There are many items that you will find in your gift bag. They are meant to give you a smile and let you know that we have been there and know what you need, and what you may want.
There are toiletries in case you find yourself spending the night in the NICU, just like we did many times when we thought MJ was not going to make it. There is a hat to keep your baby’s head warm. There are booties to keep his or her feet warm. MJ was notorious for pulling out all of the tubes connected to him, so there are mittens to keep your baby from doing the same. There is blanket for the first time you are able to hold your son or daughter. There is a stuffed animal to keep by your baby’s isolate. We never wanted MJ to be alone, so he always had a bear or two with him. There is a picture frame so you can leave a picture of your family with your baby, so he or she knows that you are there, even when you are not. We also included a brag book, for you to fill with photos of your baby so when you are gone, you may have a photo of them with you at all times. There is camera to take those photos. The Chap Stick, hand sanitizer, and lotion are because we know the NICU is dry and sterile. Use the wooden plaques to decorate with your baby’s name, birth date, weight and height. Use the tissue when you cry, because we know that you will. Make molds of your baby’s feet, so you remember just how tiny he or she is right now. Read to your baby with the baby book to let him or her know just how much you love them. If you have a daughter there are hair bows for you to put in her hair. The surgical lubricant is so they stick to her head (when is dries it gets sticky). Use the journals to write downs things you may want to remember, or questions for your baby’s doctor. Use the Tylenol when the moments get stressful, because we know they will. The light bothered MJ tremendously and he always had to have his eyes covered, so there is a special baby eye mask in case your baby is the same way. Also included is a Lullaby CD that you may ask the nurse to play when you are not there.
Please know that we would like to provide a shoulder to cry on, or an ear so you may vent. We have been there; we know what you are going through. Don’t be shy to give us a call or, send us an email. That is also why we do this. We were given so much support during our time in the NICU, and we know that not everyone will have that same support. The only thing we ask is that you think of MJ. As is parents the only thing we can do for him now is to make sure that he is never forgotten.
With all of our Love,
Willie, Megan, Will, and our Angel MJ