Monday, December 7, 2009

MJ's Memories -

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MJ's Memories was in the news again this morning! Check it out here:

MJ's Memories - - News, Weather, Sports - Topeka, Kansas

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christa's Butterfly Kisses

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Christa's Butterfly Kisses is one of our local projects that was started in Colorado. It was started by an awe-inspiring woman, Vanessa, in memory of her beautiful daughter. Her strength and love for Christa shines through and is an inspiration to us all.

You can contact Vanessa at:

Her Story:

When I was 5 months pregnant I had my scheduled ultra-sound. Just like anyone who is pregnant, I was anxious to find out what I was having! Would it be a room of beautiful, pink princess decor or a rugged jungle themed room for a boy? That day I not only learned I was having a girl, I also learned that she had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. I couldn't pronounce it, let alone spell it. My world changed that day. Forever.

I know all too well the ups and downs of having a child in the NICU. It is a roller coaster ride that plays with your emotions on every level. I also know the heart ache of making life ending decisions and the pain you learn to live with. The pain never goes away, it is something you just learn to live with. Christa passed away in my arms on September 4, 1997. She was three weeks old. This was the first and last time I ever held her.

Christa was born on August 14, 1997 at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. She lived her entire life at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Christa's life has deeply inspired me to reach out to others who are about to experience or are currently experiencing "life in the NICU." It is often difficult to explain to friends and family the emotions you are enduring. My goal is to offer support, words of hope, and prayers to many familes who are struggling with the reality of the NICU. Working with Project Sweet Pea allows me the opportunity to facilitate Christa's Butterfly Kisses, which will become Christa's beautiful legacy.

After Christa received her angel wings, I was blessed with two more children. Noah and Ashlyn-Grace are my miracles! Noah also had a short stay in the NICU when he was born with a Pneumothorax. I was on bed-rest with Ashlyn-Grace for 5 months due to complications and pre-term labor. I'm happy to announce that they are both very healthy, energetic children today!

Christa is my hero. She taught me to live each day with passion because tomorrow is NOT a promise to any of us. Make today count and tell those close to your heart that you love them!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Drake's Doodlebugs: Louisiana Gift Bag Project

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Another set of ladies that amaze us everyday, We are honored to be working with Christy and Ashley and their local project in Louisiana: Drake's Doodlebugs.

You can contact them at:

Drake's Story:

Burt and Christy Michel were having trouble getting pregnant. After an appointment with the fertility specialist they found out that they had to start fertility medicine. After an ectopic pregnancy ,a miscarriage and many failed attempts, they found out they were expecting with an EDD of March 3 2008. At their 20 week ultrasound, they found out they were expecting a boy !! They also found out that he had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. It is a birth defect that occurs when the diaphragm does not fully form, allowing organs to enter the chest cavity preventing lung growth. CDH strikes 1 in every 2500 babies, no matter the race, religious background, or financial status .No matter how well the prenatal care!
Drake Alexander Michel was born on February 18, 2008. After 6 major surgeries ,and 7 weeks in the NICU, He passed away in his mommy's arms on April 6, 2008. No mother should ever get to hold her baby for the first time and have to say goodbye at the same time.
Drakes Doodlebugs is a local project started to give a little comfort to families of babies in the NICU. Having someone show that you are not alone through this stressful time is priceless.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

MJ's Memories In the News

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One of our newest local projects, MJ's Memories, recently was in the news for their amazing work!

MJ's Memories was started by an amazing mom, Megan, in memory of her son MJ. They deliver gift bags to Stormant-Vail Hospital NICU in Kansas and Children's Mercy Hospital NICU in Missouri.

Check out the news article here:

Project keeps baby's memory alive |

You can contact Megan by emailing:

Find out more about Megan's story here:
MJ's Memories
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Monday, November 9, 2009

Kiernan's Kindness - Arizona gift bag project

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We are humbled to be working with two amazing ladies; Julie and Danielle. Kiernan's Kindness delivers Project Sweet Pea gift bags to the state of Arizona.

Here are their stories:


Kiernan was born at 36 weeks and immediately taken to the NyICU (nursery icu) which we knew was going to happen. We had toured it only 2 days before his birth and thought we would actually have at least 2 more weeks to prepare but medication was no longer stopping contractions. At 32 weeks inutero Kiernan was diagnosed with CDH and a chromosomal defect called klinefelters syndrome and the long road began. Trips twice a week for NST and amnio counts which was nice to see my baby all the time but did get old and he began to hate it as well. Once he was born it was about 14 hours before i got to see him in person for the first time and i could not hold him yet. He was on all kinds of IV's and an oscolator plus all the monitors. We quickly learned how to read them and what went where and why.. The first night nurse made him a sign with his name on it and decorated it. In fact each child in there had a personalized hand made sign with there names. It was a small but thoughtful thing and it was heart warming. It really gave us the sense that these nurses were special. St.Joes where he was born was actually our 3rd hospital. We started at one hospital that thoguth they were going to have to deliver a 31 week preemie that only had a level 2 nicu and went to a hospital with a level3 nicu and once the cdh was found we were transfered to St. Joes since they were the ONLY hospital in the valley that could deliver babies and do ECMO if needed. Only 1 other hospital can do ecmo and they only take transfers and dont deliver. Kiernan was intubated the second he was delivered and it was a c-section for 2 reasons 1 the cdh and 2 i had already had 2 prior c-sections. My wonderful husband took a picture of him and brought it over to me so i could see him since he was taken right away to Nyicu. He was born not breathing anyway but they had already planned on intubating so they were prepared. The hardest thing i ever had to do was go in there the first time after he was born and see him hooked up to everything and sedated and know that I couldn't pick him up and hold him. The nurses were so nice and answered all of our questions and comforted us in whatever way they could. Kiernans first night was rough and he had to be put on heart medicines and needed the oscalator and it was just so hard. The surgeon came the next day and did there x-rays and ultrasounds and stuff they needed and started to prepare for whne he might have surgery to repair the cdh. They set goals and my little guy started to hit them ALL. To the amazement of the staff and docs he was switched over to regular ventilator 2 days later and then surgery was set for the next day. I got to hold him for the first time the day before surgery. I begged them to let me hold him. I did not know what was going to happen but wanted to at least hold him once while he was alive in case he didnt make it. I wanted him to know his mommys touch. He was still on all the stuff and it took about 15 minutes for them to get him ready so i could hold him but it was awesome yet very sad at the same time. He had surgery the next day and did great. I ended up staying an extra day due to spinal headaches from not resting enough after the c-section. It was so hard to leave without him. We went back to see him only hours later I couldn't stay away. Within a week he was off the ventilator completly and getting closer to starting feeds. He was about a week old before we could hold him anytime and put clothes on him and then at 2 weeks old we got to feed him. He was moved to intermediate care right around two weeks when he was down to just the picc line and almost up to full feeds. A couple days in there and then i got to breast feed him. The most wonderful thing in the world and he was a champion feeder. He was born August 20, 2008 and went home as healthy as a cdh baby could be on Sept. 10, 2008 -- His originally scheduled c-section date. Our experience with the Nyicu was great and i just want to be able to give support to other parents going through what we did. We love St. Joes and it is still a second home in a way seeing as we still go there for follow ups and specialist at least every other week. I hope other parents can have a positive experience like we did at such a trying time in there lives.


My name is Danielle and Im 25 years old. I have 4 children and am married to an awesome husband named David! My kids are Cati who is 7, Keli is 5, David Jr. is 3 and Vincent is going to be 2 this November. My husband and I have been together for 7 yrs. Before becoming a stay at home mommy, I worked as a medical assistant for a neurologist in Tempe, AZ. I love being a stay at home mommy just some days are harder than others! My long term goal in life at this point is to become a nurse. I want to specialize in NICU. I have wanted to be a nurse since my grandpa got so sick back in 1998. I will one day reach my goal and be able to help many families in the NICU differently then the way I do now. I want to be part of the amazing group, Project Sweet Peas because of Julie, Kory and Kiernan. They have inspired me and I want to be able to help other families with babies that are in the NICU for what ever the reason. I want the parents to know that they are not alone and that there is help/support to turn to. Its wonderful to know that there is so much support for NICU families.


Danielle's family

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ayda's Blessing in the News!

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Ayda's Blessing was started by Shanell in honor of her little miracle, Ayda. Ayda's Blessings supplies gift bags to Kootenai Medical Center NICU/PICU in Idaho. Earlier this week, they were featured for a news story on KXLY News!

You can contact Shanell at:

Read more about Shanell and Ayda's story here:

Ayda's Blessing

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Shelby's Sunshine-Indiana Gift Bag Project

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Stephanie is also one of the founders of Project Sweet Pea. With a heart of gold and tons of positive energy, she is just what this project needed! Her local project, Shelby's Sunshine, is in honor of her daughter Shelby, who is an inspiration to us all!

You can contact Steph at:

Here is her story:
My daughter was born July 10, 2006. She was diagnosed with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia(CDH) 18 weeks in utero. Her CDH was on her left side. She stayed in the PICU/NICU for the first 53 days of her life.
Shelby has been through 8 surgery's and soon will be three. She is our Amazing Grace. Her strength amazes us daily and we are truly Blessed to have her in our lives.
I am doing Shelby's Sunshine Bags for parents that are in NICU's in the state of Indiana. The reason being that I feel the items in Shelby's Sunshine Bags will help parents deal with the long days while their baby is in the NICU. To let the parents know they are not alone. Let the parents know there are families out there that will walk with them every
step of the way.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Shannon's Star- Pennsylvania Gift Bag Project

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Kate, one of the founders of Project Sweet Pea, started her local project in memory of her angel, Shannon. Kate puts her heart and soul into everything she does and we are so thankful to have her with us with Project Sweet Pea!

You can contact kate at:

Her Story:

Steve and Kate Crawford were expecting their first daughter, when they were told at their 18 week ultrasound that the baby had a life threatening birth defect known as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.Only half of babies born with this defect will live. After many ultrasounds, echocardiograms and fetl monitoring, the baby's outcome looked hopeful. Shannon Elizabeth Crawford was born January 16, 2007 at Magee-Women's Hospital and was transferred that same day to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. On January 17th, 2007, the couple found out their daughter also had a heart defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The combination was deadly and Shannon was given a 1% chance of surviving. On Janury 19th, 2007, it was decided that Shannon would not make it through any surgery, and prolonging life was not an option. Steve and Kate let their daughter pass quietly in their arms that night.

In June of 2007 the couple found out they were expecting again, only to miscarry their "Peanut Shelbe" in September. The couple was exhausted and felt hopeless at trying. To their amazement, they found out they were expecting once again in January of 2008, shortly after what would have been Shannon's first birthday. At the first ultrasound, the couple received the shock of their life - twins. In August of 2008, Kate delivered the twins girl 6 weeks premature. Grace Kathleen and Lily Anne spent two weeks in the NICU at Magee-Women's Hospital. Grace needed no extra support, she was monitored until her weight of 5lbs was met and she was released. Lily needed CPAP. She remained on a heart monitor after her arrival home for one month. Both girls are now home, happy and healthy.

Kate knows what it is like to sit in a NICU and have nothing to do but stare. She was been through the best outcome and the worst. For her, the small things she was able to hold on to in the NICU continues to bring her much comfort. She always wished she had more to remember Shannon by and loves to be able to provide these items to parents. Project Sweet Pea holds a special place in her heart.



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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gabriel's Gift - Southern New England Gift Bag Project

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Project Sweet Pea all started with an angel . . . Gabriel.

Gabriel's Mom, Corin and grandmom, Jeanne started making gift bags for Women and Infants NICU (Rhode Island), Mass General Hospital NICU(Massachusetts), Lawrence and Memorial NICU (Connecticut). Corin met with two of her friends, whom are also NICU Moms, and from there Project Sweet Pea began.

Here is Gabriel's story:

Gabriel was born on November 18, 2006 with an undiagnosed Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH), a life threatening birth defect. CDH affects 1 in 2500 babies. Only 50% survive. Our little boy spent his life in 3 different hospitals enduring multiple surgeries and procedures while he fought for life for 55 days before earning his wings. He passed away peacefully in the arms of his parents on January 12, 2007. He will always be loved and missed. Gabriel's little sister, Makayla, was born on February 15, 2008. At 10lbs 4 oz she made her way into the world through a difficult delivery. She recovered quickly and luckily only had to spend two days in the NICU before coming home. We know how blessed we are to have our little girl healthy and happy, and never take a moment for granted.


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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Project Sweet Pea

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Project Sweet Pea 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 ICU. 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.

Gift Bags Delivered
since 7/1/09

Disclaimer: Project Sweet Pea is NOT a non-profit organization; all purchases and donations are NOT tax deductible. We are NOT affiliated with any group or organization. We are simply parents who have had children in the NICU, and look to provide comfort through this project.
If you would like to help or would like more information contact us at:
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