As I have written about so many times before, one of the things that I do to remember and honor my son is donate care packages to families that have a baby in the NICU. I am able to do this through the help and support of Project Sweet Peas, which is a group of families just like mine, who have been in the NICU and know how hard it is. There are twelve local project spread out across the country that deliver these care packages. I am honored to be a part of this organization. And we need your help!!!
We have applied for a grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project, and have been selected as a finalist to win a $25,000 grant!! So here is how you can help us: vote once a day, every day for Project Sweet Peas to win. We need to be in the top ten at the end of the month to win. And to entice you to help us out and vote every day, I am doing a 30 Days of Project Sweet Peas giveaway! Everyday in the month of April I will be writing about the amazing things going on in Project Sweet Peas. And if you leave a comment that you voted each day, I will randomly pick one of these comments to win an Awareness Braceletof your choice! I make awareness bracelets of all colors, and I have a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Charm Bracelet featured right now.
**Please note that you must leave a comment each day to qualify for the giveaway for that day. **
Welcome to Day 12 of 30 Days of Project Sweet Peas! I am so excited to say that we have once again moved up another spot to NUMBER FIFTEEN!! WOOHOO Now we are only 5 away from getting into that Top Ten and winning the $25,000! So thank you all so much for all of your votes, we need them more then ever right now, so keep voting!!!
Ava's Angels is a local project that donates bags to the University of Minnesota NICU. To learn more about Ava's Angels, please contact Lisa at email@example.com. Here is Ava's Story . . .
I am the type to plan out everything. Even though I couldn't wait to have kids, I waited for a few years until the time was "just right". My husband and I were thrilled when we found out we were expecting our first child. Our baby was due May 16, 2009.
The pregnancy was going great. My husband and I are both healthy and we don't have any genetic problems on either side of our families. It never crossed my mind that our baby would be born anything but perfectly healthy, much less would have to fight for its life.
I counted down to the date of our 20 week ultrasound when I could finally find out the sex of our baby (and I could begin shopping!). December 23, 2008 had finally arrived! However, at our appointment we found out that the baby girl I had always dreamed of had Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).....and a 50/50 shot at life. I had never even heard of it, but began to understand how serious it was when the doctors gave us the option to terminate the pregnancy - a "late term abortion" that wasn't even legal to do in my state. We decided that we would not give up on our daughter and would do everything we possibly could to fight for her life. We had a crash course in parenthood and felt so helpless that our child was sick and there was nothing we could do about it. Our rollercoaster began.
My friends and family were all anxious for me to have the results of our ultrasound so they would know if we were having a boy or a girl. I would say, "It’s a girl, but...." Even after explaining the situation to them, they didn't understand why I was worried. Babies aren't supposed to die and surely mine wouldn't.
We spent the next couple of months preparing for our little girl to spend the first few months of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We took a tour, met with the surgeons who would operate on her, learned about the machines she would be hooked up to....everything we could to prepare ourselves for the stress of having a child in the NICU.
On February 25, 2009, we found out that our daughter had Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) in addition to CDH. To learn that she had a heart problem was devastating, but we still remained as positive as possible until March 11, 2009. On that day we learned that our baby girl had more heart problems and that they would likely be fatal. Because of the CDH, her heart was displaced to the right and squished by organs and therefore couldn't form properly. We met with a board of physicians and even with the new findings, all of the doctors had no doubt that she would be born alive but said that she would likely die shortly after birth. I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy enjoying feeling her move and trying to prepare myself to say goodbye to her. Strangers would stop me and ask me what I was having and when I was due and say, "I bet you're excited!" If they only knew...
Over the Easter weekend, I stopped feeling my active little baby girl move. Ava Rose Daher had passed away at 35 weeks gestation. My labor was induced on Monday evening and our beautiful daughter was born with angel wings on April 14, 2009 at 6:53 am.
Going through this experience is life changing. Unless you have been through it, you can never truly understand. Our goal with this project is to provide some source of comfort, no matter how small, to families going through similar situations.