Monday, December 26, 2011

December 2011 Sweet Pea Spotlight

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Our family story is one that I'm sure many parents share. We are celebrating our 3rd Christmas with our previously premature twins. I say previous because I hope our story gives a small sense of comfort to parents experiencing the emotional journey of having a baby born premature.

Our twins Lexi and Tyson were born on December 11, 2009. I was 29 weeks pregnant when they arrived. My delivery was chaos. Lexi was born first, before my doctor was even at the hospital. I remember asking the nurse after Lexi was born, "ok, I can have my epidural now, right"? The nurse replied, sorry honey it's to late for that, just do your breathing... I remember clearly my response was "but I haven't taken the birthing class yet, it's next week!"

So an hour and 45 minutes later my son Tyson was born. They were both quickly rushed away by the neonatologist. I never got the chance to see and definitely not hold them like I had imaged my birth would be like. 3 hours later I finally got to get my first look at my beautiful babies. Lexi weighed in at 3lbs 3ozs and Tyson 3lbs 8ozs. I instantly reached out to touch them, rub their feet, stroke their hair... but was told I was not allowed to. I could for a brief minute rest my hand on their chest. It was so hard. I had a hard time not blaming myself. Feeling like if I had done something differently this would not have happened. The first two weeks were the hardest. My babies for the most part were healthy but had all the common preemie issues. Apnea, heart murmurs, PDA, etc.

On Christmas eve Lexi developed a serious staff infection and required a blood and transfusion. It was one of the many scary things to happen to us during our 41 days in the NICU. On Christmas one of the nurses asked me if I had ever held by babies together at the same time. No, I replied... it wasn't allowed yet. She looked at me, smiled, and then slowly closed the curtain and gently handed me in my right arm my little Lexi and in my left Tyson. It was best Christmas gift anyone will ever give me!

During our time in the NICU we met so many wonderful and caring people. They made us feel like we were never alone on this journey and that the end, would be a happy one.

One of the most important things I learned was, even though these little babies look so fragile, they are the most resilient creatures. They will grow faster than you can ever imagine. And then someday, like me, with my crazy two year olds, you will look back and find it hard to believe your babies were ever that small.

I don't even think of my babies as preemies anymore. And if you didn't know us when they were born you would never know. I just want to say to all the parents spending this Holiday Season in the NICU, just know a day will come that you will look back on these memories and feel like you read them in a book or some great story. You forged through these challenging times. And you can't image your babies first days, weeks and months happening any other way.

God bless all the families in a NICU!

We would like to thank all of the families that submitted their children's stories. Please know that each of your children are so inspiring and are the reason for what we do. We are honored that you chose to share them with us. If your story was not highlighted this month we encourage you to resubmit next month.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Home for the Holidays

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Home for the Holidays
By Lisa Knigge Rondeau

You’ve survived the NICU and are now home with your baby. You’ve finally settled into a routine with your preemie and the rest of your family (hopefully). Just when things seem to be sailing along, here come the holidays to throw a wrench in your plans!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no Scrooge. I happen to love the holidays and everything they represent—time with friends and family and all we hold dear. A time to reflect on what is truly important in our lives, which is even more meaningful now that you have experienced the life-altering journey of a premature baby. And yet, that first (or second, or third) holiday home with your preemie can be incredibly stressful! It’s a Catch-22—everyone wants to see your baby, which is great, but then everyone wants to see your baby, which is exhausting, impractical, and could be dangerous depending on the germ factor where you live. It’s hard to set boundaries with those we love, but it is essential to do for the sanity and safety of everyone.

The first step to figuring this out is to sit down and establish what is truly essential for this holiday, knowing that some things will have to go. Only you and your immediate family can make these decisions and it will take some soul searching. But try to figure out exactly how you want this holiday to look and feel. Is it essential that you see your parents and siblings? Grandma and Grandpa and other extended family? Friends traveling from out of town? Remember, your preemie baby isn’t going to remember these visits—you will. So figure out what you can live with and what you can do without for the time being. If you really can’t narrow down your list, it might be helpful to ask your pediatrician for suggestions. He or she may feel strongly that your little one be exposed to very few people to minimize the risk of infection—if so, your decision is made for you and this can help you break the news to Aunt Shirley why you are not bringing everyone out caroling this year.

Once you know who you must see, figure out the how and when of getting that accomplished. Let’s face it, the holidays were probably already stressful before you had your preemie—lots of rushing from place to place—perhaps with an older (and possibly very cranky) sibling too. Ever dream of not doing all that? Of running away to a deserted island? Well now is your chance! While maybe the island part won’t work out, now is the perfect time to start setting some limits as to what you can accomplish in one day. December hath 31 days folks—use them. Maybe a get together could be moved to the weekend before the actual holiday to free up your schedule. Or perhaps a daytime New Year’s celebration is in order. Try to plan events so you can actually enjoy them—think about nap times and feeding times and travel times and take all of it into consideration first. Remind yourself, and family members if needed, that while everyone wants to see you and that little miracle, absolutely NO ONE wants to see that little miracle (and his or her parents!) having an hour long meltdown due to exhaustion.

Last but not least, oce the holidays arrive, put a smile on your face and enjoy them. You will never get this time back, so be merry whenever you can. Be thankful for all you have and amazed at everything you have endured and survived. Remember when it seemed like you would NEVER leave the NICU? Well, you did. Hooray! And December will end too, leaving you with tons of great memories, and about 11 months to start thinking about the next one.
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Prenatal Diagnosis & Preparing for the birth and/or NICU experience

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Prenatal Diagnosis & Preparing for the birth and/or NICU experience

By Melissa Dawn Roy (Project Leader for Nimkee Blessings)

‘Welcoming’ a new baby. Is there anything more exciting? Will it be a boy or a girl? What shall we name him/her?

These are but a few of the anticipatory thoughts that often go swirling about in your head as those tiny, microscopic cells are rapidly multiplying in your womb.

It’s an incredible discovery for most. We automatically skip ahead 9 months and fantasize about that precise moment when our little one is delivered safely, into our waiting arms. Oh joy, oh bliss!

Everything is supposed to be perfect---but sometimes something goes wrong.

I will never forget how excited that I was while awaiting that first ultrasound appointment. I was going to get a chance to see my baby for the first time! I couldn’t wait to see the face, arms and legs, fingers and toes. What a miracle about to be unveiled!

With the dawning of new technological advances in medicine, comes a whole other wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. We hope for the best test results, but some of us have to prepare for other pregnancy and delivery options instead, or for baby’s treatment plans following birth.

Some of the new prenatal tests can be performed relatively early in the first trimester, and are relatively non-invasive. These procedures would include testing the mother’s blood for specific fetal cells which may reveal a possible complication or defect in the fetus.

Another form of non-invasive testing is in the form of ultrasound to visually conduct measurements and dates, as well as the development of the fetus.

Invasive testing includes Chorionic Villus Testing, and Amniocentesis, both of which require the insertion of needles/catheters to collect a sample of fetal tissue cells. These cells then undergo various tests to determine the health of the developing fetus.

I remember the day that I received the test results of the maternal serum blood testing which I opted for. I figured it would be “one last thing to worry about”. The results revealed that there was a 1:8 chance of my unborn child having Trisomy 18. My midwife explained to me what that was, and scheduled an appointment for me to see a genetic counsellor a couple of days later.

The genetic counsellor explained to me what these test results ‘may’ mean, and presented me with some options. I decided to have an amniocentesis performed for a more accurate diagnosis before planning my next decisions.

A few weeks later I received the results of the karyotype testing which was performed on the collected fetal cells during the amniocentesis. I found out that I was carrying a boy, and he had an extra chromosome number 13 in every cell tested in the sample. He was going to be born with Full Trisomy 13, also known as Patau Syndrome.

I was devastated, to say the least. After succumbing to a complete meltdown, I gathered my wits about me and prepared for the journey that lay ahead for my unborn son and I.

How does one prepare for the possibility of fetal demise in the womb, or shortly following birth? What if your baby requires some extra care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), or requires surgery? It isn’t easy, but we’re here to assist you in this, should you or someone you know require some support of this kind.

Please consider the following suggestions:

  • Request to speak with a geneticist, or genetic counsellor regarding any type of chromosomal or g genetic condition which may have been detected.
  • Request to see a neonatologist or surgeon, or other specialist per your child’s needs, should you find out that your baby may require specific treatment or surgery following birth.
  • Be sure to write down any questions you may have prior to your first visit to your prenatal specialist, which may also be known as a perinatologist, and/or neonatologist (fetal specialist) should one be required during or following birth.
  • Request information and research your baby’s condition so that you may make your own educated decisions when the time comes to do so. You will become your child’s greatest advocate and supporter. Education does help to erase the fears of the unknown future.
  • Reach out to a support group, or therapist in your area.
  • Consider joining an online support group if you feel comfortable doing so. I did, and I can say without a doubt that it has helped me immensely along this very scary and emotional rollercoaster ride of grief and healing. It is a personal choice, and may not be for everyone, and remember that they are there to provide some comfort or support along the way, but are not medical professionals. If you feel that you require some extra assistance, please reach out to your physician so that you may be guided in the proper direction. Your emotional needs are very important during this very delicate time for you and your unborn child.
  • Request a tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that your child may be seen at. Speak with the Social Workers in the department to help alleviate any fears or concerns which may arise.
  • Reach out to your family, friends, and social systems and inform them of your situation. You may be very surprised by the outpouring of love and support that you and your family will receive along the way.
  • Be gentle with yourself, and your partner.
  • Seek out resources to help prepare other siblings for the impending birth.

Most of all, remember to try and take time to enjoy your pregnancy. I know it’s easier said than done, but it can be done. Having found out the sex of my unborn son, I was able to name him. I became very protective of this little guy, and found myself really cherishing the moments we spent together while he was still tucked safely away inside my womb. I would rub him, rock him, and tell him stories about our daily adventures.

One of the most therapeutic things I did to help get us through, was to start writing a blog---(online journal)---open for everyone to read. It was a great way to get my emotions out of me and share our journey with others, without having to look anyone in the eyes and speak the words out loud.

This pregnancy can still be a beautiful time if you learn to embrace it, and celebrate each day together.

Please know that you are not alone in this journey, and that many others like us have been where you are. Project Sweet Peas is here to assist you and your family regardless of your situation or outcome. Please feel free to check out our Website and Resource Page for more information and support links.


~Project Sweet Peas: Providing comfort to families with children in the intensive care units and to those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss~
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Sweet Pea Spotlight November 2011: Kayden and Karson

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Sweet Pea Spotlight November 2011: Kayden & Karson

We would like to thank all of the families that submitted their children's stories. Please know that each of your children are so inspiring and are the reason for what we do. We are honored that you chose to share them with us. If your story was not highlighted this month we encourage you to resubmit next month.

In honor of Prematurity Awareness Month we chose a special preemie duo as our November Sweet Pea Spotlight, Kayden and Karson. These boys are current NICU sweet peas. We ask that you keep Kayden, Karson, and their family in your hearts as they continue their fight in the NICU.

Kayden and Karson's Story

I was having very severe 5-6 minute contractions at 1:00 AM on November 4th. So I rushed to the hospital (a 45 minute drive). I waited there until 4 AM just for them to send me home saying I was dehydrated. Once I returned home I tried everything I could to make my contractions stop until I came to realize my water had broken. At 26 weeks and 6 days I didn't know what to think. Upon returning to the hospital, I was rushed to the OR at 10 cm dilated. At 10:49 Kayden was born weighing 2 pounds 3 ounces. Five minutes later my son Karson was born weighing 2 pounds 7 ounces. They will be three weeks this Friday. Karson has already hit the 3 pound mar. Kayden is shortly behind weighing 2lbs 12oz. They are for the most part breathing on their own except for some pressure being used to keep their lungs from sticking. Their feedings are increased every day. They have told us to expect them to come home around February. All I am waiting for is the day they can be in the same open crib together.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MJ's Memories Teddy Bear Drive

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MJ's Memories will be donating Teddy Bears to families spending their holidays in the NICU again this year! Their goal is to provide every family in the NICU at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka, KS and Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO with a Teddy Bear on Christmas Day. To reach this goal they will need 100 Teddy Bear's. While your out doing your holiday shopping, please consider picking up a Teddy Bear or two to give a little comfort to families who aren't able to be at home this year. Contact Megan Skaggs, MJ's Memories Project Leader, for more details or to arrange to donate any Teddy Bears. Thank you in advance for your help!
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Celebrating 3,000 Care Packages

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Several years ago Project Sweet Peas began with the efforts of three women. Inspired by their experiences they decided to start filling bags with items that they wished they had or needed during their stay in the hospital. Since then Project Sweet Peas has grown into a nationwide network of projects.

Today we celebrate 3,000 care packages. On October 28th project Avi's Embrace donated our 3,000th care package. That's 3,000 families supported by our organization. And that number has continued to grow.

We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to all of you. To our project leaders, to our volunteers, and to anyone who has contributed to our organization in some way. Without you, Project Sweet Peas would not be the success that it is.

We are so excited to see what the future holds.
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Featured article: A Mother's Guilt

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A Mother’s Guilt

Trying again after the loss of an infant

By Shannon M. Mason

The loss of an infant, at any stage, is a heart wrenching situation. Miscarriage occurs in 15 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies and 3 to 4 percent of all reproductive age couples have recurrent losses. (Cohen, J. 2005) These statistics do not make the pain of a loss any easier on the parents who are going through the experience. Nor does it make the decision to try again any less guilt ridden.

The desire to have a child is often so strong that once a woman has conceived she begins to connect with the life growing inside her. When that life no longer exists there is a painful void. Often that void is filled with the desire to try again but it is not without worry, stress and even guilty thoughts. A mother’s love is so strong that she can continue to connect with the life that was once inside her own body and replacing that life with another is a decision riddled with questions.

Trying again can be confusing and scary. Many questions may be going through your mind. Here are some facts concerning loss:

  • Having one miscarriage does not increase your risk of having another.
  • Having losses during your second trimester may indicate cervical incompetency and should be tested.
  • Once you see a heartbeat over 100 beats per minute your risk of miscarriage is less than 10%.
  • Most miscarriages are due to a chromosomal anomaly and if this is your first, then the chance of having a healthy baby in a subsequent pregnancy is excellent.
  • Most all miscarriages happen because of a problem with the fetus, not due to something the mother may or may not have done.
  • Women who try again soon after a loss may be more successful than those who delay.

The time for a couple to try again is a personal decision. Not only does the body need time to heal, so does the mind. Another pregnancy will not replace the previous loss and it becomes difficult to know where you are in the role of parenthood. You may find it hard to say that you are a parent since you do not have a living child. In actuality, you are the most precious of parents as your love now spans across the heavens to reach your little one.

When the time is right you will find yourself expecting another child. This new pregnancy will be bittersweet. You may find that others will ask if this subsequent pregnancy will be your first child. Feelings of guilt may accompany your answer. Technically, this is not your first child but how do you explain? How strong is your ability to talk about your loss? If you are able, you can mention that this is not your first pregnancy and give a brief explanation that you have another child who did not make it to birth or passed away shortly after. For some, this explanation is much more difficult. When I am asked this question I reply that “we have seven angels watching over us.” This response was not always easy and to this day still brings feelings of grief when spoken.

With this new life growing inside, it is perfectly acceptable to be happy. Staying positive is sometimes difficult as your thoughts may drift to your other child(ren) but that is normal. Take each day one step at a time and celebrate the milestones of your pregnancy. Understand that there is no right or wrong way to handle a subsequent pregnancy. Your decision to try again is because of the vast amount of love you have for your family and that love is large enough to encompass all of your children, without a need for guilt.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sweet Pea Spotlight

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We will be starting our newest program – the Sweet Pea Spotlight. The Sweet Pea Spotlight will feature an ICU child (0-18yrs) and may be an angel, fighting in the ICU currently or thriving at home. Submissions will be open for one week each month, and which time you can submit your child’s story along with two photos to The Sweet Pea will be chosen and announced the last week of each month. After the Sweet Pea is chosen, parents will need to resubmit their story for the following month. Please, do not submit other parent’s children for the Spotlight.

In honor of Prematurity Awareness Month, we will be choosing a special preemie as our Sweet Pea Spotlight. Submissions start today and run until November 25th. Submit your preemie’s story along with two photos to us at Our Sweet Pea will be announced on November 28th and featured on our blog and Facebook page.

Good luck!

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Friday, November 4, 2011

How to Advocate for your Child While in the NICU

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How to Advocate for your Child While in the NICU

By Lisa Knigge Rondeau

Having a baby in the hospital is one of the most stressful events for so many reasons—in many cases, it is unexpected, which leaves parents unprepared and overwhelmed by the hospital setting; Mom is still recovering from the baby’s delivery and possibly emergency surgery herself, leaving her in pain and low on energy; and of course, the worry about your baby—the medical terms, diagnoses, tests, procedures—it is all too much to take in. With so many emotions flowing through your head, it can be especially hard to effectively manage your child’s care and be an advocate for them.

Wanting to be an advocate for your child and actually being one are two different things. If your anything like me, you might find yourself vacillating between two extremes as you try to handle your NICU stay—keeping your feelings of frustration, fear, and anger bottled up inside, choosing to cry when you are in the comfort of your own home; or taking your feelings out on those that are closest to you—your spouse, partner, friend, or parent. While those options are bound to happen to even the best of us, they don’t really help in the long run. They don’t offer any long term solutions for dealing with the new world you find yourself in.

Most people that find themselves with a child in the NICU don’t have a medical degree, and no matter what your background, all the new medical talk can make even the most at ease parent feel unprepared and unknowledgeable. Doctors and staff members seem to talk so fast as they give you the updates: “Three brady alarms today, trying to increase feeds to 15cc’s, testing billirubin levels and a head ultrasound later. Any questions?” If this is your first time (or tenth, or hundredth, it really doesn’t matter) hearing some of these terms, you will have LOTS of questions, and it can be difficult just to know where to start.

Here are some tips to help you manage the information and advocate for your child:

1. 1. 1. Keep notes in a dedicated notebook

When I arrived in the NICU, I had nothing with me besides my purse. My first days of notes were on the back of a grocery receipt until my husband could go get me a notebook. In an emergency—any scrap paper will do, but try to keep all your notes in one notebook that is just for hospital information. Start a new page with the date, and take all your notes there. Try to focus on getting the important information down—spelling and penmanship doesn’t count now—you can fix those items later if needed. Long names of diseases or disorders can be looked up later for more information by you or often times in the hospital’s resource center if one is available.

2. 2. 2. Say what you feel

If you are having a conversation with a doctor, nurse or other staff person, and you are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or upset, start by saying just that. It allows everyone to know where they stand in the conversation and helps the staff members meet you where you are at. If they think you are handling everything just perfectly, they might not take the extra time to slow down and make sure you understand everything. So go ahead and start by saying “I’m feeling very overwhelmed right now.” Then clearly state why you are feeling that way: “I was here all night last night due to my daughter’s surgery, and now she might need another one. I don’t understand why that is.” You don’t have to go on and on if you don’t want to, but telling everyone exactly what you are feeling and why allows them to direct their answers to those feelings, and not whatever they might think you need.

3. 3. 3. Speak their language

Let’s face it—everyone communicates differently. As a NICU parent, your daily emotions and well-being revolve around your child and how he or she is doing. But this isn’t true of doctors and nurses who care for multiple babies each day, no matter how hard they are working to get your (and every baby) well. So in a sense, parents are speaking a different language than staff members. Whenever you can, speak their language to help get direct answers. For example, one of my favorite phrases to use with my girls’ doctors was “What is the criteria for ______”? After several days of my asking the doctor when I could hold my daughter, only to be given answers that were unfulfilling to me, like “when her arterial line comes out,” I had to speak a different language. When the doctor would give me a condition like that, I would then respond, “and what’s the criteria for that?” and allow them to answer, which gave me more specific and manageable information to work with. I knew then what specific steps had to be done to get me where I wanted to be.

4. 4. 4. They work for ME

After many long days and nights in the NICU, I started to take the attitude that the doctors and staff there worked for me, and would need to start behaving accordingly! No, I didn’t get a bullhorn and yell or anything crazy like that, it was just something that I silently repeated in my head to help get me in the right frame of mind. Too often, I felt powerless in the NICU—the fact that I was teacher meant nothing here—my education proved totally inadequate. It was so easy to feel that everyone around me was smarter than me, knew more than me about my babies, and I just had to listen to what they said and nod along nicely. But that of course is not true. So I started to see them as employees that I had the right and obligation to question if something wasn’t going well. I would remind myself that I knew my babies just as well as they did, (if not better!) and that even though I didn’t go to medical school, I can still understand if given the right explanation.

5. 5. 5. Ask to speak to the charge nurse

Did you know there is a charge nurse on each shift in the NICU—a nurse, whose job, in addition to caring for babies, is to oversee NICU issues and address concerns? I didn’t know about this until about one month into my stay. Whenever you are concerned with something regarding the care of your baby, and if that concern is not adequately addressed, ask to speak to the charge nurse. This can be easier than it seems because most of us are and want to be nice, we want everyone to like us and we don’t want to seem difficult and get labeled as “those parents.”

But even if the worst case scenario came true, and everyone thought you were a big meanie for talking to the charge nurse, wouldn’t that still be worth it for your child? Isn’t the risk of having someone—someone who will only be in your life for a short time—not like you a small sacrifice for the care of your child? Of course it is. So speak up when you need to.

Above all, trust yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, say so. If you have a question, even a “dumb” or “quick” one, ask it. Talking the extra effort to make sure you understand so you can be the best advocate for your child is worth it.

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Kit's Muse Holiday Card Sale

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Kit's Muse has some great holiday cards for you to share with your friends and family this season! All cards are hand designed just for Kit's Muse and 100% of the proceeds go to the charity. There is no better way to spread love this season than helping NICU families while showing others how much you care.

We are now taking orders and will do so till December 9th! You will receive 6 cards and envelopes for only $6.50. You may pick a mixed box containing one of each design or you may choose one design to be printed on all 6 of your cards. They will be processed in the order they are received and shipping will start the first week of December. You will have them in plenty of time to send off and spread cheer.

Please visit Kit's Muse at for more information.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kit's Muse Silly Hat Auction

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Kit's Muse will be having a silly on-line hat auction Nov. 18-20!!! Now is the time to get that cute one of a kind silly hat for you newest family member or the kid that's still inside of you. All items for auction can be found at on the 'events' page. Starting bid for all items is $10.00 and this includes shipping. 100% of all proceeds go right to the charity so keep those ears warm while warming the hearts of NICU families at the same time!

Register now by visiting

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Monday, October 31, 2011

October 15th: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

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Project Sweet Peas

Candlelight Vigil

Every year on October 15th millions of candles are lit at 7PM across the world. Each flame is representative of the life of a baby lost. This year our Project Sweet Peas’ team made it our mission to honor each life with a candlelight vigil. With the involvement of 11 of our Project Leaders we made this a reality. At 7 PM each and every one of the 477 names that were submitted burned brightly across the continent.

Nimkee Blessings: Melissa Dawn Roy. Ontario, CA

Pirate Power: Leila Manning and Stephanie Brown. San Jose, CA

Donny's Shining Light: Theresa Wellman. IL

Kit's Muse: Jennifer Edwards. Excelsior Springs, MI

Lauren and Madeline's Gift: Lisa Knigge. Glendale, WI

Avi's Embrace: Sarah King. Lafayette, IN

Shannon's Star: Kate Crawford. Belle Vernon, PA

Gabriel's Gift: Corin Nava. East Haven, CT

Mason's Monarchs: Shannon Mason. Jacksonville, FL

Owen's Miracle: Kathleen Hill. Sonora, CA

We would like to thank you all for sharing your babies with us.

It was truly an honor to remember them.

Project Sweet Peas

October Monthly Article

In acknowledgement of October 15th , project leader, Melissa Dawn Roy shares reflections on her own journey in coping with the loss of her son and the meaning of this very special day.

Your baby has Trisomy 13. It is a syndrome incompatible with life”………….

I will never forget hearing those words, that day back in October. It was the 26th to be exact. I remember feeling as though all of my blood was draining out of me. Coldness ran through my veins. I could not take another breath.

I felt as though I had just left my body. It was an altered state that I do not have the words to describe.

All of the hopes and the dreams that I had envisioned for my precious baby and I, were gone in an instant.

I would never rock him to sleep.

I would never nurse him.

I would never see him smile, hear him laugh, or even cry.

I wouldn’t see him shudder as he tasted his very first food.

I would never see him sit, crawl or walk.

There would be no first day of school.

There would be no graduations.

I would never kiss a boo-boo.

I would never meet his first girlfriend, see him get married, or hold his babies in my arms.

These are the things that I looked forward to doing with Bennett-Chadlen, from the moment I found out that the pregnancy test was positive.

I, like so many others, know the heartache of losing a precious life that grew inside my body. Mothers and fathers, siblings, and families around the world, know the pain of which I am sharing with you today.

Four million newborn babies die each year; every hour around 450 babies die before the age of four weeks.

According to the statistics, for women in their childbearing years, the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 10-25%, for a variety of reasons.

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month; more specifically October 15th has been declared Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day worldwide. It is a day when families like mine are allowed to openly share their grief.

Many around the world take the time to share their baby’s story online, or speak out loud amongst family, friends, or coworkers. Some will release balloons, meditate in silence, or light a remembrance candle, such as I did.

A ‘Wave of Light’ shines around the globe in support of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

At 7pm in your time zone, participants are asked to light a candle for at least one hour to honour and remember those lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death.

What does this day to mean to us? The following are direct quotes from anonymous writers that submitted their feelings upon request:

“When you find out that you are expecting, all your friends and family gather around and can't wait to share every aspect of your pregnancy with you. However, when you lose that baby words escape these same individuals. You come to a point where you don't even want to discuss your baby because no one understands. Even now, years later, as I prepare for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness by wearing my ribbon and attending candlelight vigils, they treat me with kid gloves. They simply don’t know how to act.”

“We have feelings and our angels are just as important to us as your living children are to you. Take a moment to grasp the situation and try to understand where we are coming from. We don't need you to do anything other than be there for us. Don't try to steer clear of the conversations that we need to have. If you think it's uncomfortable (for you), how do you think we feel?”

“It means a day of reflection and loving memories for those I love that have lost, and time reflect on my own loss. It means being open and public about an all too often taboo subject that shouldn’t be shrouded with shame, but glory and beauty for the life that was. It means a home lit solely by candle light from many candles that bear names of those infants and early ending pregnancies of many I love.”

For more information about Pregnancy & Infant Loss Month or Remembrance Day, simply ‘search’ online, or check out some of these links

WrWritten by: Melissa Dawn Roy, Project Sweet Peas Canadian Project Affiliate for Nimkee Blessings

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Shelby's Sunshine with Project Sweet Peas 2ND Annual Polar Plunge

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Come out and brave the cold for a great cause! All monies collected will go towards the purchase of items to fill gift bags for families with a child in the NICU.

INTERESTED in taking the PLUNGE?
For $20 you will take The Plunge and receive a Shelby's Sunshine t-shirt for your support! To officially "Plunge" you only have to get in the water up to your waist! Children are welcome to participate to any water level they are comfortable with.

Shelby's Sunshine is an INDIANA Chapter of Project Sweet Peas. We are a small project that is trying to make a difference in families who on a day to day basis are suffering.

We know the feeling of being in the NICU. Our daughter Shelby was in the NICU for 56 days. Going through day to day not knowing what the outcome would be was very difficult. Today Shelby is a 5 year old Blessing. We started Shelby's Sunshine to give to families that are in the same situation we were in.

Shelby's Sunshine with Project Sweet Peas 2nd Annual Polar Plunge is at the Mooose Lodge on November 27th 2011 starting at 2pm.


Any questions...please Stephanie Olivarez at

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Monday, October 17, 2011

October Monthly Feature: Peek-A-Boo ICU

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For the month of October Project Sweet Peas is recognizing the efforts of Peek-A-Boo ICU in empowering the preemie parent. Peek-A-Boo ICU, run by the wonderful nurse Jodi, offers a wealth of knowledge to the NICU parent as they travel on the uncertain journey of parenting a critically ill child. This website also offers a comprehensive view into the perspective of a parent with a child in the NICU by providing an outlet for parents to share their journey and to communicate with other NICU families. Nurse Jodi is an amazing support to the NICU community and we are commending her for all that she does!

Thank you Peek-A-Boo ICU!
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nevaeh's Rainbow: Coffee for Carepacks

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Nevaeh's Rainbow is having a Coffee for Carepacks fundraiser! All proceeds will benefit Nevaeh's Rainbow Project.

to order please log onto: and place your order. Please use promo code NRPFR1112, so Nevaeh's Rainbow recieves the proceeds from your order.

Thank you!
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Now accepting volunteer applications

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Project Sweet Peas is pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for volunteers! While we are not currently creating any new project divisions until next year, our organization is still looking for help in the following areas:

  • Sales Volunteer - Committed to the work of the organization, an initial time commitment of 3 hours a week and will lessen after that, handles the sales through our Cafepress online store, is responsible for uploading graphics, adjusting graphics size, and setting prices according to Board of Directors word. Reports to Board of Directors on a bi-monthly basis, but will be in close working relationship with the Board. It is preferred, but not required that the Sales Volunteer have knowledge of Cafepress functionality as well as graphic designs skills in case a graphic would need converted or edited.
  • Grant Researcher/Writer - Committed to the work of the organization, time commitment of 3 hours a month, researching government, foundation and corporate grants, establishing and maintaining working relationships with grant funders and helping Board of Directors with the writing and submission of the grants. Reports to Board of Directors on a monthly basis, but will be in close working relationship with the Board. It is preferred, but not required that the Grant Researcher/Writer have knowledge of the World Wide Web and previous experience in Grant Researching/Writing and online applications.
  • Fundraising Volunteer - Committed to the work of the organization, time commitment of 3 hours a month quarterly, research fundraising ideas that will raise funds for the Main Account, execute fundraising ideas that will raise funds for the Main Account, report fundraising idea to the Board of Directors for approval, and compile and manage the fundraiser set forth. Reports to Board of Directors on a bi-monthly basis, but will be in close working relationship with the Board. It is preferred, but not required that the Fundraising Volunteers have knowledge of the IRS’s 501(c)3 laws and have previous experience in fundraising efforts.

If you are interested, pleas fill out our online application ( and we will get back to you shortly!

Thank you!
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

MJ's Memories Scentsy Fundraiser

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MJ's Memories is having a Scentsy Fundraiser in honor of their TWO YEAR Anniversary! Their fundraiser will run throughout the month of October, as they celebrate two years of helping families. Please visit and click on MJ's Memories Fundraiser to order.

Scentsy makes great Holiday Gifts and you'll have them in plenty of time for to give! Scentsy is a safe, wickless alternative to candles. Scented wax melts in decorative warmers to fill your house with amazing scents!

MJ's Memories would like to send out a special thanks to Annie Martin for hosting this fundraiser for them!
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Friday, September 30, 2011

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month Contest

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In honor of the beginning of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, we will holding a special contest for our fans!

Contestants will be chosen at random and the first place winner will receive a beautiful hand sculpted angel ornament; second place winner will receive a gorgeous hand painted Pregnancy and Infant Loss glass ornament; third, fourth and fifth place winners will receive a hand stamped broken heart pendant.

A special thanks to GabSha Designs for donating these prizes.

There are many ways to enter!

1. Go to our website and enter your angel in our Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day Personalized Candle Vigil which will be one entry in the contest.

2 .Comment under this post on our blog and that will be one entry in the contest.

3. Encourage others to come to our blog and comment under our “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month Contest” post “____ sent me!” For every comment with your name in it, that will be another entry in our contest.

Winners will be announced on October 15th following our Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day Personalized Candle Vigil.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shelby's Sunshone 2nd Annual Polar Plunge!

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SPONSORSHIP AND Contribution Opportunities

Shelby’s Sponsorship $50 - $100
*Logo displayed on the back of event t-shirt
*Recognition at the event

Polar Plunge Contributor
*Donate a gift certificate, item, and/or basket to raffle; or a monetary donation of anyamount.
*Business name advertised on event t-shirt
*Recognition at event


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NICU Hallow-Boo!

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Join Shannon's Star to make costumes for babies in the NICU for
Hallow – BOO!
No sewing skills necessary!

October 16th, 2011
Rostraver Central Fire Department
Belle Vernon, PA
11am – 3pm
Lunch provided!
Volunteer and donate $15 and you will be entered to a win a fabulous prize!

For a donation of $6.00 you can help make 5 costumes!

~ About Luca ~
Luca Mateo Vincent was born at 24 weeks 3 days of gestation on October 8th, 2010 weighing
only 1lb and 5 ounces. He spent 43 days in the NICU until the day his parents feared; on November 20, 2010 he lost his life due to infection. While in the NICU, he received a NICU Hallowboo name tag from our 2010 fundraiser. Little did I understand at the time how much that would mean for his mom and dad, Heather and Matt. Luca was “Super Luca” for Halloween last year, and it is with him that the idea for this year’s NICU Hallowboo was struck.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Avi's Embrace Pregnancy and Infant Loss Pins for Sale!

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This pin is a perfect piece to show you are remembering and celebrating the life of your precious angel baby. This handmade pendant displays pink and blue intertwined ribbons, featuring a single white flower. A baby's footprint charm dangles from its center. Shipping is free within the U.S.

All proceeds go to benefit Avi's Embrace, a local chapter of Project Sweet Peas.

Ribbon Types:
Pink and Blue - Ribbons can be customized; when checking out, please note if you would like the blue or the pink ribbon as the forefront ribbon
Girl - Pink ribbon with sheer pink ribbon
Boy - Blue ribbon with blue sheer ribbon

Ribbons can be bought by following this link.

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Drake's Doodlebug Walk/Run

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Drake's Doodlebugs is hosting a 2K walk/4K run on October 15, 2011 to help fund our project. It will be held in the Penn Mill Lakes subdivision in Covington Louisiana. We will have food, beverages, games, raffles, and a silent auction. Pre Register @ ( when you pre register on the PSP site, please fill out the registration form and hit submit. You can make your donation after by selecting if you want to walk with us or in spirit and click add to cart. You will then be directed to paypal ) or register the day of the event from 9:00AM - 10:00am.Please come out and support Drake's Doodlebugs. With your help we can touch the lives of many families with a baby in the NICU, as well as give comfort to those parents who have a baby leave this world to soon.We are asking for a donation of $20.00 to walk/run. Children 10 and under are free.The 1st 120 walkers will receive a Drake's Doodlebugs run/walk T-shirt & a free bottle of water. .

If you cant walk with us in person ,walk with us in spirit ! Spirit Walkers will receive a Drake's Doodlebugs event T-shirt and an Infant loss and awareness wrist band.Registration formplease fill out the registration form at or you can mail a copy of the registration form along with a check or money order to....Drake's Doodlebugs 717 Simpson way Covington,La 70435

You will receive a confirmation email once you are registered

If you have any questions please email Christy at
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day Personalized Candle Vigil

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For the first time last October, Project Sweet Peas offered bereaved families a unique way to remember their baby angels on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day without having to leave the comfort and privacy of their own home. With a wonderful response of over 400 angels to remember, Project Sweet Peas hosted the largest balloon release ever on October 15th. Project Sweet Peas decided to hold their 2nd annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss activity with a bit of a change.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day Personalized Candle Vigil

Submit your angel's name(s) on our home page and we will write your angel's name on a candle. This special candle will be lit in memory of your loved one and we will take a picture and post on our Facebook Fanpage. *You may remain anonymous if you wish*

All candle will be lit together at 7pm in all time zones for a continuous wave of light across the country.

Deadline for name(s) submission os October 6th.

Please allow us one week to post the pictures on to our Facebook page. At which time, your name will appear in the caption so you know it is your angel, and you may tag yourself in the photo.

E-mail for any additional information.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Project Sweet Peas Facebook Auction

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Project Sweet Peas will be hosting an online auction which will run from August 30th-September 5th on Facebook.

We will have an album with all the auction items, and fans will be able to bid in the comment section under the photo of the item. (You can find our Facebook page here

Here is a list of items to be auctioned off (to see pictures and links to businesses please visit our webpage

  1. Butterfly Baby Necklace by The Midnight Orange
  2. Sweet Pea Tutu by Pink Rock Tutu Boutique
  3. “Transformational Mothering” (book) by Amy Robbins Wilson
  4. “The Divine Hours of Motherhood” (CD) by Amy Robbins Wilson
  5. “Lullaby and Goodnight” (CD) by Amy Robbins Wilson
  6. “Angel Baby Lullabies” (CD) by Amy Robbins Wilson
  7. God’s Heart for You sterling sliver necklace by Day Spring
  8. Autographed “Creation” print by Amy Brown Fantasy Art
  9. 5 “For The Love of Babies” (books) by Sue Hall, M.D.
  10. Pirate scarf by MinkaDink
  11. 2 diaper bag totes by Crazy Mountain Quilters
  12. Bracelet and Earring set by Tammy’s Treasures
  13. Hand stamped necklace by Metal Stamped Memories
  14. $20 gift certificate by Im Blessed
  15. Assortment of Jewelry by Peace of Mind
  16. Tutu and matching flower headband by Can I do you a favor?
  17. $10 gift certificate by Small Bird Studios
  18. Baby set (lovie, burp cloths, wet bags) by Gisella Chic
  19. Hello Kitty crochet hat by Harpers Hats
  20. Sterling silver earrings by iDazz
  21. Glory Baby handstamped necklace by Hope of My Heart
  22. March of Dimes clippies by Crochet and Clippie Creations
  23. Sterling silver hand stamped necklace by Mama Mia
  24. Baby Bucket (blanket, burp clothes, and wash clothes) by The Beach Barn
  25. Colts fan pack by Indianapolis Colts
  26. Assortment of baby headbands by Blossoms of Blessings/ Hailey’s Hope
  27. UNKNOWN by Baa Baa Baby Boutique
  28. Handstamped Daddy Dog Tag GabSha Designs
  29. 2 engraved Dogtags by My Forever Child
  30. 5 matted prints and note cards by Todd Philip Photography
  31. Personalized “Wingseez” infant loss memorial blanket by Bel Scriba
  32. Hand Sculpted Clay newborn by My Tangible Peace
  33. NICU baby book by The Littlest Peanut
  34. Cars themed baby quilt by Gabriel’s Gift
  35. Girls Accessory Box by Avi’s Embrace
  36. PSP gift set by Shannon’s Stars
  37. Beignet and coffee set up by Drake’s Doodlebugs
  38. Kansas City BBQ Basket by MJ’s Memories
  39. 5 Infant Loss Awareness packs by Angel Ryan’s Rainbow of Hope
  40. Necklace and Earring Set by Mason’s Monarchs
  41. Toddler Dress by Kit’s Muse
  42. Quillow by Kit’s Muse
  43. Preemie Boy Welcome Home Pack by Pirate Power
  44. 4 votive candle holders by Donny’s Shining Light
  45. Locket and Earrings by Lauren & Madeline’s Gift
  46. 2 sets of Journals by Owen’s Miracle
  47. 2 Willow Tree Figurines by Roses from Rosalynn

Auction Guidelines:

Auction will open for bids August 30th and close September 5th at 11pm EST

Bids cannot be removed, committed bidders only.

Bids must be in full dollar increments.

Shipping is included (US only) in opening bid UNLESS stated otherwise in the item description. International bidders are welcome, and will be responsible for additional postage costs.

Due to Facebook guidelines, we cannot contact winning bidders through Facebook messages. Please make sure to either leave a contact email with your bid, or email us ( your contact information prior to placing bids to be notified of your winnings at the close of auction. If we do not receive contact information the winning bidders will be given three days after the close of auction to email us.

Payments: PayPal invoices will be sent and must be paid within 4 days of being sent.
**If you do not have a PayPal account, PayPal now allows invoices to be paid using credit cards**

For any questions regarding items, bidding, or the auction in general, please send us an email at

This auction is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.

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