Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome Mason's Monarchs!

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Project Sweet Peas would like to officially welcome a new local project that joined us this month: Mason's Monarchs!Shannon Mason is project leader of Mason's Monarchs, which is serving a local hospital in Florida. For more information about Mason's Monarchs, please email

Here is the story of the Mason family...

I always knew that I wanted to be a wife and mother. At 17 I was lucky enough to have found the perfect man, we married a few years later and began our journey to parenthood. However the journey was anything but pleasant. We began our marriage with three heartbreaking first trimester miscarriages and then a battle to discover the reasoning. I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and this caused complications. So we took a few years to give my body time to heal and started over again. The next roadblock was infertility issues.

We solved the fertility issues by having IVF in 2007 and fell pregnant with twins. The first I lost to vanishing twin syndrome and was immediately placed on bed rest. A few weeks later I gave birth to his brother at 17 weeks. No explanation! The following winter I delivered twin boys at 19 weeks! Three baby’s all born sleeping. We discovered that I had an incompetent cervix and it could not hold the weight of a growing baby.

We had to try one more time… so I received a TAC (transabdominal cerclage) and we spent the last of our money on another round of IVF. All of our eggs in one basket, so to speak. On June 4, 2010, I delivered a healthy baby boy via caesarean. His lungs were not fully developed but after all we had been though the doctors let him stay with us versus going to NICU.

We believe that everything happens for a reason, the bad as well as the good. Whether you hold your baby for a day, a week, a month, or years the pain still exist when they are no longer with you. Through Mason’s Monarchs we hope that we can give strength and courage to other parents who are grieving or fighting the battle to keep their little ones alive.
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Welcome Gabriella's Grace!

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Project Sweet Peas would like to officially welcome a new local project in Gabriella's Grace, which joined us in May! Gwen Weber is Gabriella's mom and the project leader of Gabriella's Grace, which donates care packages to a local hospital in Ohio.

For more information on Gabriella's Grace, please email Gwen at

Here is Gabriella's story ...

My husband Jake and I got married in July and quickly set about starting a family. That November we were overjoyed when we found out that we were expecting a baby in August. I was ecstatic when I found out I was having a baby girl and spent most of my days off shopping, decorating, and planning for her arrival and dreaming of the moment she would be in my arms. My pregnancy was not what I would call pleasant; I battled morning sickness all day long, Gabriella kept me up all night doing acrobatics, and by the end of May I was ordered to work half days because my feet and legs were so swollen. Around the end of June I started to feel better and decided to go to some garage sales with a close friend who was expecting a baby in the beginning of July. When I woke up that morning I did not feel quite right. I was not in pain; I just didn’t feel right. When we got the first sale, I told my friend that my stomach was hard and I couldn’t fell Gabriella move as much. She felt my stomach and suggested I call my doctor. When I arrived at the doctor’s office she did a non stress test and exam. There were no signs of contractions and Gabriella was moving just fine however I was dilated a centimeter so the doctor felt I must be having some type of contractions. She gave me some medications to stop the contractions and told me to rest for the remainder of the weekend and go immediately to the hospital if anything did not feel right. Well the next morning I woke up around 9 am and my water broke on my way to take a shower. My husband and I quickly threw a few items into a bag and headed to the hospital. The hours that followed are all blur to me still. We arrived to the hospital and the nurses started to fill out the paperwork but my contractions got closer and closer. I went from 4 centimeters to 9.5 centimeters within a matter of ten minutes and can vaguely remember being wheeled in to the delivery room. After pushing for a short time, our baby girl Gabriella Grace arrived at 12:54 pm weighing 4lbs 7 ounces. This moment of arrival was not the one I had dreamed of, I had a few seconds to kiss my baby girl and stoke her head as she had to go straight to the NICU. My husband was able to go with her and talk to the doctors. I had to stay in recovery and finish my admittance paperwork. When I finally had the chance to see my baby girl I was not prepared for how she would look. She was hooked up to so many wires and tubes I could hardly see her tiny face. I just remember feeling so scared and helpless. The doctors and nurses were very kind to us and explained all the details regarding Gabriella’s health and care. They explained that her body needed to begin to regulate its own temperature, breathe, and eat without any help before she could come home. Probably the hardest part was the first night home without our daughter. It felt so empty and sad; I just wanted to hold my baby in my arms and take care of her. There would be many painful and tearful moments over the next few weeks but Jake and I continued to pray and put our faith in God that Gabriella would be okay. Over the next three weeks, we were regulars at the NICU spending all day there and only taking breaks to eat and sleep. We learned how to take part in all of our daughter’s care and I began pumping milk and working with the lactation consultant to teach Gabriella to breastfeed. We also attended parent groups at the NICU where we learned how to care for our preemie. At these parent’s groups we met other families and it helped us to realize how blessed we were that our daughter was as healthy as she was and that we had such wonderful resources and support systems. We had friends and family, who prayed for us, sent us uplifting emails and text messages, brought flowers and cards, made usmeals, bought and washed preemie clothes, let our dogs out, and came to visit. We found that so many other families had to travel far distances, care for older children, worry about cooking meals, and had to find a way to balance work and hospital time. Some families had not even had baby showers yet, so they had to worry about purchasing basic baby care items for when their little one returned home. We can only imagine how much harder this would have been if we had all of these other stressors in our lives. Today Gabriella or “Ella Grace” as we call her is a feisty, playful, and happy soon to be one year old. She is meeting all of her developmental milestones and is very social baby. We are so thankful for all of the support we received and grateful to all of the wonderful staff at the NICU who cared for her and taught us so much. It is our hope that through Project Sweet Peas, local project Gabriella’s Grace we can help make other families time in the NICU a little more comfortable. We would like to provide families with items that they can use while in the NICU and when they get home. We know that we cannot take away all of the stress and pain that can be occur when your baby is in the NICU but we would like to help make this experience a little bit easier.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Welcome Kit's Muse & Kit's Muse Yarn Drive!

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This post contains a lot of important information so please make sure you read the whole thing!

First, Project Sweet Peas would like to welcome another new local project, Kit's Muse! Jennifer is the project leader of Kit's Muse and Kit's mom. Kit's Muse donates care packages to its local hospital in Missouri. For more information, contact Jennifer by emailing her at

Secondly, Kit's Muse will be having it's first Yarn Drive!! Please see the flier below for all the info you need to help provide beautiful gowns and pouches for angel babies as well as hats, mitts, booties and more for our NICU babies and families. (If you have trouble reading the flier, please click on the image so you can enlarge it; if you're still having problems, contact Jennifer at her email listed above!)

Here is Kit's story as told by Jennifer...

When I found out I was pregnant it was a happy day. Kitquin would make child number three and mark the end of our baby days. Since I had already had two children I assumed the third would be easy. My oldest boys were ages 9 and 11. I went to my doctor and it was determined I would have a full clotting blood panel done. I did not have this test with my other children but I was older now and my mother and grandfather have a history of blood clotting so we felt it was important. A week later I got a call. I was told I had MTHFR a genetic blood clotting disorder. Due to these findings I was set up to see a perinatologist as well as my normal doctor. MTHFR can lead to late term still birth, slow growth and other issues related to blood flow to the baby. Halfway through the pregnancy I started having contractions too often and was admitted twice to make sure I was not in labor. Everything always calmed down though and I was put on bed rest. At my 7 month doctor appointment I told him I just didn’t feel like Kitquin was growing and at my 7.5 month Perinatologist appointment I was told Kitquin was not growing. I was induced 2 days later. On May 21st 2009 Kitquin Maryanna Angeline Edwards was born via
induction weighing 5 lbs 5 oz and 18 in long. She had just hit 36 weeks gestation that day. She did not do well. She couldn’t breathe on her own and her heart rate was fast. The level II NICU she was in couldn’t support her needs and she was transferred to a level III NICU when she was 3 days old. After transport she was given surfactant to open her lungs and put on a full vent. She was on 2 antibiotics and an antiviral and had an NG tube to down her nose to feed her. We could not hold her for 5 days and for the first 3 would couldn’t touch her, talk much around her or be too near her incubator. Kitquin developed a blister on her head that couldn’t be explained. They needed to rule out blood infections so she endured 10 spinal taps. No infection was ever found. After many ups and downs we brought Kitquin home on June 2nd 2009. She was not in the NICU for what many would consider a long time. We spent 12 days in the NICU but it seems like a lifetime to me. Kitquin is now a small but healthy toddler. The NICU experience still sticks with us though and that’s why Kit’s Muse was conceived. It is our mission to create hand crafted Angel gowns, hats, mitts, booties and other goods to help comfort and add smiles to families with their baby in the NICU.

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A (Belated) Welcome to Avi's Embrace!

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We recently realized that we haven't been keeping up with welcoming local projects on our blog, and we figured it's about time we start doing that again!
Project Sweet Peas welcomed a new local project in February called Avi's Embrace. Sarah King is Avi's mom and the project leader of Avi's Embrace, which donates care packages to a local hospital in Indiana.

For more information on Avi's Embrace, please email Sarah at

Here is Avi's Story . . .

Our story begins in the fall of 2008. From the moment we learned of Avi’s existence, he became our world. Shortly after we became aware of our pregnancy Avi’s grandmother was in a horrific accident and passed away shortly after. Avi became a light during a dark time.

At fourteen weeks we meet our little man through ultrasound. He was so small and so beautiful. The doctors said everything appeared wonderful; he was perfect (at least to me.) My pregnancy progressed with ease and around 30 weeks we found out we were having a little baby boy, our Avi.

As the weeks went by my doctor grew concerned about how small I was measuring for the baby’s gestational age. We did an ultrasound almost every single week to watch his growth. Every time the ultrasounds showed growth was normal.

Forty weeks came and went. I grew very exhausted and eager to meet my son. During the end of my pregnancy I had been experiencing some fluid leakage and had been tested several times to see if it was amniotic fluid. All tests were negative. Several days before I experienced labor pains, I experienced large amounts of fluid. I contacted my OB's office several times within that period to alert them, but they didn’t seem alarmed due to my past history.

On July 13, 2009 at 41 weeks and 3 days I experienced contractions. I called the doctor and let them know of their severity. They told me to come into the hospital. I was more than ready to meet my beautiful son. Upon arriving the OB on call checked my cervix. My water had already broken but my cervix was only slightly dilated. This meaning that my water could have broken in any time period between that morning and a few days prior. I was mortified as they also found out that the cord was wrapping around his throat three times.

His heart rate was dropping. My sweet baby had been in this state without the cushion of amniotic fluid, and he was being suffocated. I was taken to the operating room, where an emergency c-section was performed. When he arrived into this world he was silent and my heart stopped. He was rushed to the NICU and myself to the recovery area. So many thoughts raced through my mind, thoughts of guilt, thoughts of blame, but mostly my thoughts and heart were with my little one struggling to survive.

After several hours they stabilized him. The first time I saw him, my arms ached to hold him. I could do nothing in my power to comfort him. Continually, throughout the day, my little Avi pulled out his IV and other life lines. He kicked and fussed. Oh, how I wanted to comfort him. He would see comfort soon though, but not in a way I could ever want.

Around 12AM, June 15, 2009 we received a call from the NICU. "He isn't doing well." I rushed to his bedside. There was no squirming anymore, and there was no kicking. They had given him a heavy dose of morphine. He was dying and he was laying there motionless, paralyzed by his painkillers. We held him and cried. We said our goodbyes in the only way we knew how and sang him his song. It was unbearable to give him to the nurse, the last time I choose to ever see him again.

At his funeral my father mentioned that Avi has taught us more than many people have in their long lifetimes. He has taught me a deeper appreciation for life and my loved ones, how strong the bond between mother and child is, and has helped me discover strength within myself that I would have never known otherwise. He has given me motivation to better myself and to achieve what I had never thought possible. My son was beautiful, and was a valued individual despite his short lifespan. I am very blessed to have been given the time I had with him. I will always carry him within my heart.

I can only hope that through Project Sweet Peas I can provide some amount of comfort to parents who are forced to endure the same pain of watching their child struggle for their life and to those that have also had to say goodbye. I would like families to know that regardless of the outcome there is hope in every situation and happiness in memory.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Lauren & Madeline's Gift in the News!

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Below is the link for the article that appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about my girls and Project Sweet Peas!

~Lisa Rondeau, Project Leader of Lauren and Madeline's Gift
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

PSP Seeking Items for Auction

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Project Sweet Peas will be hosting an online auction in August. We are currently looking for items or baskets to feature in our auction. If you are interested in donating please contact us at for more information.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NICU Book Questionnaire

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NICU parents (past and present) are needed to fill out a questionnaire to assist with the writing of a new book for parents in the NICU. Deborah Davis (author of Empty Cradle, Broken Heart and Parenting Your Premature Baby and Child) is in the process of writing a book on parenting in the NICU and has asked for NICU parents' assistance. Once this book is complete we look forward to adding it to our care packages!

Please consider taking the time to fill out the questionnaire found here:
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