The excitement for a friend or family member when they announce they are pregnant is palpable
The months and weeks pass and the anticipation grows.
And then you hear the news...
Their baby is in the NICU.
The Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
You don't always know the whys or the hows about what happened,
but it sounds pretty serious.
The normal rush up to the hospital
or over to their house to meet their new little bundle
isn't an option.
You call and try to ask what you can do,
but most times this is a very new experience for them and unexpected...
They don't even know what they need or want yet!
It is rough.
Having a baby in the NICU is one of the most difficult times in any ones life.
We created this list of 9 gift ideas for the parent/s with a baby in the NICU
to offer you some ideas on how to give them something special:
(And we can't stress enough how important this one is!)
Having a baby in the NICU is often not planned.
They are learning as they go and often times trying to fend off germs at every turn.
Offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on,
and be patient on not pushing to see them, talk to them, or to see the baby.
We know it is hard to not ask 1000 questions,
but often times being someone who listens
or is willing to sit in silence while they cry is priceless!
(This also doesn't mean there won't come a time when they just need to feel normal and need a friend to make them laugh.)
For them to read to her/him/them
or for the parents to read while sitting up/sleeping at the hospital.
Some of the greatest gifts are things you can hold on to long after something is over to look back and see how far you've come;
a book for the baby that the parents can read to them can be a great gift for them to hold onto and read to them for years to come.
Hospital food gets expensive.
Quick, easy, healthy snacks they can pack or
keep in the baby's room to eat are super helpful.
It may sound kinda corny, but driving back and forth can get expensive.
A gas card is a great way to offer financial support to them without feeling like you're actually giving money for whatever.
Having hot meals can be a luxury right after you have a baby, period.
Having a baby in the NICU is no different.
Offering to drop off some freezer meals to their house that they can throw in the crock pot in the morning and eat later that night is a great way to help NICU parent/s get some good home-cooked meals without having a time on it.
(If they are breastfeeding:
be sure to ask if they have any dietary limitations they'd like you to stick to)
This is huge!
Having older kids and then a new baby in the NICU can be so conflicting;
where and how do you go?
Babysitting can be so incredibly helpful,
especially when it is family or a family friend the older kid/s already know.
Being able to not worry about your older kids being watched
while you are with your new baby = #priceless!
Coming home to clean laundry, no dishes, a swept floor,
and wiped counters can be so heartwarming.
Don't just go over and do it (some people aren't big fans of that);
But often times offering to do a load or two of laundry
or to go over to their house and do dishes and clean up,
so they don't have to worry about it is a huge help!
(if they are breastfeeding)
Many times when baby is in the NICU the mother will be pumping milk for the most part.
This is typically not the idea/plan they had in mind before.
Milk storage bags, nipple cream, a boppy, etc
See what kinds of things the hospital isn't providing them with and offer to get them.
POSTPARTUM DOULA HOURS
The first few weeks home with a baby who has spent some time in the NICU can often be even more mentally and physically difficult than normal.
Professional services from a postpartum doula
can help ease the transition from constant care and support in the NICU
to care and support at home.
Having the support of a professional at home can make such a difference
in sleep, care, and mental well being.
We know you want to do everything you can to help support the new family
and there's definitely more,
but these ideas will get you off on the right foot
on supporting those new parents!
Okay, so that isn't really how to say it, but it is way more fun, right?
APGAR really has nothing to do with pirates.
(I know... what a bubble burst, right?!)
You may have heard the word before though
or perhaps you've heard those numbers called out after your birth,
so what exactly is APGAR?
It was originally created by a woman named Dr Virgina Apgar
who was an American pediatric anesthesiologist.
She pioneered the development of neonatology and created the APGAR score system.
APGAR is an acronym:
A- Appearance / American
P- Pulse Rate / Pediatric
G- Grimace / Gross
A- Activity / Assessment
R- Respiration / Record
Your baby's APGAR score is based on a numbering system from 0-10.
Each letter is assessed on a scale from 0 (the lowest) to 2 (the highest),
then added together to come up with the actual APGAR score
(or the number you may hear them call out).
You can view a APGAR scale chart by clicking HERE
They typically do an assessment after birth at 1 minute and 5 minutes.
The 1min score is to assess how the baby tolerated labor.
The 5min score is to assess how well the baby is tolerating life outside.
(Sometimes they will need to continue doing assessments in 5 minute intervals,
if the score is lower than a 7 to keep record and checking on how the baby is coping outside)
Does a lower score mean my baby is doing badly?
NOT necessarily at all.
This can mean all sorts of things;
Lots of times it just means your baby just needs a little bit more time to adjust to the world.
If you do hear a lower score:
Ask how your baby is doing and try to remain calm.
Talk to your birth doula and have your partner head over to check on the baby;
The midwives, OB/GYNs, and nursing staff really know their stuff
and often it is just an adjustment period!
Essentially, APGAR is a really easy way for health care professionals
to quickly asses how your baby is doing.
So, even though you know for sure now that APGAR really has nothing to do with pirates,
you're still welcome to say
any time you'd like a little smile!
(Because seriously, who doesn't like talking like a pirate for fun once and a while?)
This Placenta Encapsulation thing is pretty crazy eh?
I mean, its been done for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but until recently it has been seen as pretty "crunchy" here in the US.
The thing is even the celebrities are into it now-days;
Everyone from Kourtney Kardashian to Mayim Bialik... even Alicia Silverstone is gushing about the benefits of ingesting her "happy pills"!
We want to help you out a bit with understanding just what all the fuss is about, why choosing the best encapsulation service in the Greater Lafayette Area is so important, and maybe put to rest some of those concerns about the "ick factor"...
Here's a some quick answers
to our most frequently asked questions about Placenta Encapsulation:
So... Why would I want to even consider this?
Let me give it to you straight- People call these things "happy pills" for a reason!
Women who ingest their placentas report improvement of mood, balancing of hormones, improved lactation, improved birth recovery, increased energy, and decreased postpartum depression... that's just the short list!
Seems like quite a few good reasons to me.
Upon some google searching, there seem to be a couple ways to process one.
Which way do you use?
We offer only the Traditional Chinese Method.
The process includes steaming the placenta prior to dehydration to kill bacteria and germs. This is the only method we feel offers the safety standards we care so much about and while still keeping the balancing properties of the placenta in tact.
What kind of training do you have?
I mean, I think I've heard of people watching YouTube videos and
just doing it themselves.
We have gone through a 20 hour hands-on in person training.
We are OSHA Blood Born Pathogen Certified.
We follow the strict guidelines of transport set forth by the World Health Organization.
We are fully insured.
CDC standards for disinfecting and sanitation are upheld.
So, short answer... A LOT of training and safety measures are in play.
And yes, people do watch YouTube videos and do it themselves or for friends or even "professionally", but this is human tissue we are talking about;
safety standards and training matter a lot!
I see you do it in my HOUSE... Isn't that like gross?
What about the smell? I've heard it smells!
Does having your blood and bodily fluids in my house sound better?
Where it may get mixed up with another placenta or my dog can get to it or possibly getting it exposed to completely different bacteria?
We only encapsulate in your home for your peace of mind. There's so many factors at play when bringing a new life in to the world and the least we can do is take any effort and worry out of this process for you. We come to your home, so you don't have to worry a single bit about picking up, dropping off, or the process of your placenta.
The smell is very minimal (and usually smells much more like the lemon, ginger, and cleaner we use); we've never had a single complaint!
How long does it take?
Typically it takes about 2 hours two days in a row.
Can I watch?...
I mean, I might actually want to, since you're here anyhow.
YES! Absolutely. You or anyone in your home is welcome to watch at any point; Ask questions and chat about anything! That's part of the convenience of us being in your home, you have a postpartum doula at your fingertips for the entirety of the process to talk to and ask anything you'd like.
How do we actually GET my placenta?
Do you go and ask for it from the hospital?
Do we need to mission-impossible style
take it out in my bag?
No sneaking around needed; All you need to do is ask.
Thankfully the all of the major hospitals in our service area release placentas with very little effort!
We will send you very specific instructions prior to your birth explaining the "what to do" to help ensure your placenta can be released to you. Also, we include the safe handling and WHO guidelines surrounding organ transport and how to care for it once you've transported it home.
One of the best things you can do now is make sure you talk to your care-provider about your plans to encapsulate.
Is there any reason I couldn't eat my placenta?
There are actually very few reasons your couldn't: uterine infection at time of birth, improper handling, HIV, lotus birth...
Some of the more common concerns aren't really a big deal at all and we can still encapsulate: being GBS+, Yeast infection, epidural, depression or anxiety medicine, and the presence of meconium.
Always follow your care providers recommendations though; If they don't think your placenta is safe to ingest, they are the medical expert and we 100% support them!
Okay, so I think you've talked me into this
(I mean if celebrities are doing it, it can't be that bad, right!?)...
So, Now what?
Well SWEET! I'm glad we had this chat :)
We try to make this as easy as possible for you, so even our contract is e-signable.
You can contact us at any time and we'll get back to you right away with information on the contract and how to secure your spot for encapsulation with us!
You can give us a call or send a text to (765)560-3455.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or use the CONTACT page on our website!
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us and ask at anytime!
Placenta encapsulation may have been around for thousands of years, but we are raising the bar in accessibility, safety, and handling in Central Indiana!
To the Woman who called my birth "gross",
I hope you're doing well.
I think of you often and in my heart hope you are happy.
(And not like the sarcastic "happy", but really happy!)
Everyone deserves happiness,
even those who have cut other's down on their most difficult of days.
I want to Thank you.
NOT what you were expecting right?
Not what you were expecting from the woman you told after watching her birth video how "GROSS and UGLY" her birth was because "a C-section can NEVER be beautiful".
But here's the thing:
You made me who I am.
(I mean, I did all the hard work, but still... just keep reading)
You cut me so deep, that there wasn't a chance in the world I would ever do that to someone else.
You molded me into someone who can look at any woman who is proud and think "FUCK YEAH! That is AMAZING girl!" whether I agree or not.
Those words, that for months, even years haunted my thoughts...
making me second guess who I was and my choices
and, for goodness sakes, my entire life;
those words that when I finally was feeling like I had some peace, broke me into a million pieces...
Without you I'd be an activist.
I'd be someone screaming from the rooftops about how wrong certain things are... but you know what?
I've grown into someone who is supportive of choices.
Someone who understands that what may be perfect and "beautiful" for one person, may not be for everyone.
And THAT is OKAY!
I've thought about writing you for a long time and today, as I work through my Childbirth Education Course Testing, seemed to be a good day after 6 years.
Knowing that I'm going to walk forward teaching anyone that whatever path they chose it can be BEAUTIFUL!
And I'm going to cheer them on like
the Varsity Captain Cheerleader at State Finals in football!
Because they made a choice and if they are happy and proud of it,
then hot-damn, I'm going to lift them up some more!
I remember your words, but they don't cut me anymore.
And I do thank you from the bottom of my heart for them,
I think of you and I really do wish you ALL the best!
I also hope you have found or can find the same place on your journey of life
that I have.
Because the thing is:
the next person you say these words to may not come out the other side.
Much love to you and your family,
Jessica Anne Dill
AND In case you want to watch my FAVORITE video ever (my 5th cesarean birth) WARNING- It is graphic:
Jessica Anne Dill
Mom of 5, Wife, Doula trainer, Professional Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and best friend of coffee and long naps!