There are people you meet in life and automatically find yourself drawn to them for one reason or another. When I first read Carrie’s birth story and how she founded Team Abby as a way to give back; I was instantly awe of her good doing and her ability to turn her “passion into action” with such a positive attitude. When I thought of featuring their story I knew I wanted to help collect care package items for them. Just one board book (see below) is $5 and can help make a difference. Please take a moment to read Carrie, Abby and Team Abby’s story and see how you can help them pay it forward.
It began with an innocent “snap.” One moment, I was quietly laboring in the middle of the night just before the July 4th holiday. The next moment– after that darn “snap”– the room was filled with frantic nurses trying to find my baby’s heartbeat on the fetal monitor. It was the scariest moment of my life, and thanks to that “snap” we endured a road I pray no other parent has to navigate.
Team Abby was born those dreadful first days. Our friends and family rallied around us, and I knew that when we finally left the NICU we had to give back. While it may seem silly, the objects that got us through those weeks were small– like board books to read to Abby. Even though she was in a coma, we wanted her to know we were by her side. Books were relaxing for all of us! The other thing we had were blankets, which the nurses used to make up her ‘bed’ and to wrap her in to make things a teeny bit brighter.
They also used her ‘loveys’, the ones that had previously been shower gifts and diaper cake toppers, to hold her inert hands and support the tubes that helped her breathe. The only bag I had with me at that time was a diaper bag, a constant reminder that I didn’t need to carry around diapers because my daughter was in renal failure and couldn’t even pee.
Amazingly, that little one pulled through. It wasn’t easy, and she had a feeding tube taped to her face for over a year, but SHE DID IT.
Once we were home and able, we knew we had to give back. Helping other NICU parents was first on our list, and we came up with the idea to give Care Bags to families facing a long-term stay in the NICU. The bags are filled with comfort and care items– books, blankets, loveys, Purell, tissues– to not only help those who are thrust into this heartbreaking situation but also let them know we’ve been there, and they aren’t alone.
If our story resonates, we’d love to have your support. We are always looking for donations, either of items for our bags or monetary gifts to print the bags and help offset costs. If you wish to give items, board books give parents a beautiful way to connect with their child despite all those wires and tubes. Some of our favorites are Goodnight Moon, But Not the Hippopotamus, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Gorilla, and Peek-A-Who. We also always needs flannel swaddling blankets, such as these blue receiving blankets or the pink version from Luvable Friends. FYI, those are Amazon links so any purchases (not just the books and blankets, ANYTHING you purchase while on the site after clicking one of those links) earn money for Team Abby.
While our stories and situations may be totally different, Sarah and I have bonded over something I hope none of you ever experience–being separated from our newborn babies, and vowing to help others once we were back on our feet. Sarah has been instrumental in helping the 2012 Care Bags become a reality thanks to her connections at Purell and also with Creative Solutions who are printing our bags this year. She’s a warrior, that one– just like my daughter– and I’m so lucky to call her my friend, even though we have yet to actually meet in person!
If you’d like to hear more about that “snap” and what happened next, you can read the short version or the long one over on my main blog, Making Lemonade. The Team Abby site is small but has some important information such as How to Help a NICU Family and What’s in a Care Bag. We are always looking for donations from wonderful people like you, so if you’d like to help out please see our donation page.
P.O. Box 459
Worcester, PA 19490-0459
Email us at teamabbyfoundation at gmail dot com
Thanks for having me here today Sarah, and to all of you for taking the time to share our story!