Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Project Sweet Peas Cookbook

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We are looking for some great recipes for our Project Sweet Peas cookbook! Submit your recipes in memory or in honor of your sweet pea by June 5th for a chance to have them featured. A list of the contributors who's recipes are chosen will be posted by June 15th, and cookbooks will go on sale this summer!

To submit a recipe
Go To: http://www.typensave.com/app/#
Username: PSP2012
Password: apple921

Utilize the "Additional Contributor" lines to add who the recipe is being submitted in honor or in memory of.

If you have any questions or need assistance with submitting a recipe email Jess at JessicaShell@projectsweetpeas.com
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Hailey's Hope: Mother's Day Delivery

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Hailey's Hope is proud to share about the project's recent delivery to the NICUs at Monroe Carrell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Hailey's Hope, which was started in April 2010 in memory of project leader Kristin's daughter Hailey who passed away in January 2010, made it's second Mother's Day delivery the Saturday before Mother's Day, May 12th.

Kristin was able to deliver 25 long term NICU care packages as well as a special Mother's Day bracelet for 39 NICU moms on behalf of Hailey's Hope.

This delivery was extra special for Kristin and Hailey's Hope because Hailey's little brother, grandparents, and aunts were able to be a part of the delivery. For Kristin, donating care packages and gifts to other NICU moms was the perfect way to celebrate being Hailey's mother on Mother's Day weekend.

If you'd like to support Hailey's Hope or contact Kristin, please email her at Kristin@projectsweetpeas.com.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Bittersweet Moment

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A Bittersweet Moment
by Shannon M. Mason, Project Coordinator

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone and yet the day holds emptiness for mothers across the globes that are not able to look upon the face of their children. It is with empty hands and broken hearts that they face a world that places a certain stigma upon them. They do not receive phone calls from friends or cards from loved ones wishing them a Happy Mother’s Day. But alas, they are mothers.

They feel the same love and devotion for their children that are no longer on this earth, as all mothers do. The bereaved mother may appear to be fine with the world moving on around them but they are good at hiding their pain. As they greet other mother’s they may smile and give them best wishes but it is the lack of response the other mother brings that breaks their heart even more.

Mother’s Day was initially founded by Anna Jarvis to honor her mother who had experienced the death of seven (7) of her children. Over the years the day has become commercialized and although all mothers deserve to be recognized, it is the bereaved mothers that are somehow forgotten. The very reasoning behind the creation of Mother’s Day has been lost.

So as this holiday comes to an end it is a bittersweet moment. A moment that I hold dear in my heart. You see, for just like the mother of Anna Jarvis, I too have experienced the death of seven (7) of my children. As hard as Mother’s Day is without my sweet angels it is bittersweet because I was able to hold them in my arms for a moment… but they will be in my heart for a lifetime.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

May Sweet Pea Spotlight: Stella

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May Sweet Pea Spotlight


It took my husband and I almost three years to get pregnant. We spent a full year trying to get pregnant on our own before we finally went to the doctor frustrated, angry, and exhausted. After almost two years of medications and having surgery to open my tubes we finally got pregnant in August 2010. It sounds funny, but I was shocked. I had just been so used to the negative pregnancy tests that the positive one did not seem real. Right from the start I was terrified that I was going to lose this pregnancy.

At six weeks (we discovered I was pregnant at five weeks) I started bleeding and cramping. I was sure that I was going to lose the baby and went rushing to the doctor. The CNP did a pelvic exam. When I sat up she looked at me and said that it looks like I lost the baby. I could not breathe. But she wanted to do an ultrasound before she sent me home. We walked over to the ultrasound room and while my husband and I squeezed each others hands our little peanut’s heartbeat popped up on the monitor. Everyone was shocked! The CNP put me on bedrest until the bleeding stopped.  I went back to work on Monday, five days after I had started bleeding. By Tuesday (week 7) I was bleeding again. This time my doctor sent me to the ER. After much arguing with the ER doctor I convinced him to do an ultrasound. There I was able to see my peanut’s heartbeating once again. Again I was put back on bedrest until the bleeding stopped. This bleeding, ultrasound, bedrest cycle went on until week 11.  Not one of the doctors at my OB practice could figure out why I was bleeding, but they all assured me that things looked okay with the baby.

My husband and I were anxiously awaiting our 20 week ultrasound – it was right before Christmas and we could not wait to go home and tell our family the sex of the baby. Right away I could tell that something was wrong. As I watched the tech measure my baby the measurements seemed so small: 17w2d head, 16w5d arm, 17w3d belly, etc. The tech then asked me why I was here so early for my 20 week ultrasound. I told her that I was 20 weeks today and that I was not early. She didn’t seem overly concerned and just reported that my dates had to be wrong. I knew that my dates were not wrong, I had had an ultrasound almost every week up until week 11 and the baby had measured correct the whole time. Once my ultrasound was finished we went to talk to the doctor. He was not able to give us any information other than our baby girl was measuring four weeks behind and that her umbilical cord was a two vessel cord instead of a three vessel cord. I was told to try and gain some weight (I had only gained about 3-4 pounds thus far) and to come back in three weeks to see if she had grown. It was hard to stay optimistic over Christmas. Friends and family were telling us that things were going to be just fine, that she was just going to be a small baby, but this mama knew differently. I knew that there was something seriously wrong and I knew that I was never going to be bringing my baby home.

At 23 weeks we went back to the doctor to check the baby’s size. Almost immediately I knew something was wrong, again. The tech seemed very concerned and was not talking very much. I could see the measurements and she was now measuring almost 5 weeks behind. The tech told us that things just didn’t look right and that she was going to get the doctor. I was crying, my husband was quiet, we were scared. The doctor came in and told us that things did not look good, that he was going to get us an appointment with a specialist for the next day. That night my husband and I cried and cried. We had no idea what to expect. The next day we drove four hours to the specialist’s office where we finally got some answers. We were told that Stella had severe IUGR (Inter-uterine growth restriction). Most IUGR is caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, drinking, or drug use. I did not fit into any of these categories. Healthy women’s babies usual develop IUGR because of some sort of chromosomal abnormalities, so I had to have an amnio. My doctor recommended hospital bedrest and very close monitoring. I was admitted to the hospital and I spent the next three weeks hooked up to monitors and getting ultrasounds three times a week. A few days after my amnio, the results came back that there were no chromosomal abnormalities. This meant that my IUGR was a total fluke and the severity was even weirder.

At my 26 week ultrasound the neonatologist that my perinatologist asked to join my case, seemed to think that Stella had grown all she was going to grow and that by leaving her in any longer we risked her dying inside me. The ultrasound from that day showed that she was approximately 13oz and the neonatologist assured us that ultrasounds usually underestimate weight. I was scheduled for a C-Section the next morning. I was scared to death, knew that the chances of my daughter’s survival were low, and I was not ready to face this.

Stella Mae was born on February 1, 2011 at 10:27am, she was 12oz and 9in long. The doctors were surprised at her spunk and the development of her lungs. She may have only been 12oz but she had the maturity of a 26 week old, which really helped her. They intubated her, rolled her past me so I could get a peek, and took her straight to the NICU. The time that I had to spend in recovery and then in my room was agonizing. I just wanted to be with and see my little girl. Luckily my husband was able to spend time with her. When I finally got down to see her 10 hours after her birth it was the most amazing moments of my life! She was perfect… she may have had tubes and wires attached to her, but her fingers and toes were perfect, her little nose was beautiful, and she has so much dark hair for only being 26 weeks. My husband reported that right after her birth he reached in to her and she grabbed his finger. She did the exact same thing to me. I know that she knew my voice.

The next few days were perfect – she was doing much better than expected. Although her brain showed a slight bleed, we were assured that it didn’t look like it was going to spread and that it was normal in preemies. All of her organs were working and they even started her on pedi-lite a few days after birth. She was the miracle of the NICU – all the doctors and nurses were coming to visit her. She was funny and spunky and full of life. My husband and I were able to change her tiny diaper, take her temperature, swab out her mouth, and help the nurses. We were so excited to be able to do these things. We had yet to be able to hold her so doing things to help take care of our girl felt wonderful.

On February 5, 2011 I was discharged from the hospital. I just moved myself down to my girl’s room and parked myself on the recliner. I sat there all day, even refusing to leave to get lunch with my family. It was like I knew that something was going to happen. By the afternoon her nurse seemed concerned that her oxygen levels were going down and that she was having a hard time getting them back up. She called her doctor who watched her and ordered some meds. A few hours later she crashed… her heartbeat went well below 70 and the doctors and nurses crowded into her room trying to get her stable. After about an hour of her crashing, them giving her epinephrine, and chest compressions the doctors figured out that she had fluid built up around her heart. They removed the fluid and she became stable. My husband and I stepped out of the room to get some air and just cry. A few moments later we were called back into the room… she had crashed again. This time the blood vessels in her tiny lungs had burst from all the stress of her original crash. In a moment that I will never forget, her doctor looked at me and said “She is not going to survive this.” I screamed and cried and told them to stop and give her to me. My husband and I held our little girl as she took her last breaths. We held her for hours after that. The nurses took out all the tubes and cleaned her up. I sat in the recliner and rocked her and hummed to her.

Her doctor explained to us that medically she was a miracle, but it was the technical aspect of her tiny size that got her in the end. Her tiny veins were as thin as tissue paper and the fluids that she was being given leaked out of her veins. This fluid then pooled around her heart. Eventually her heart could not pump and that is when she went into distress. This distress caused the blood vessels in her lungs to burst and we were told the same probably happened in her brain. She was just so small her body could not handle that type of stress. We could not be more proud of our little girl. She fought so hard to live and never once gave up.
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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kit's Muse: Excelsior Springs Hall of Trees

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Kit's Muse a division of Project Sweet Peas has been given the honor of decorating a huge mall size Christmas tree in their city this year. This tree will be seen by thousands and is also a normal feature in local papers. The theme is "through a child's eyes" She is currently offering several ways to honor your health, NICU or angel baby on this giant tree!! Please visit www.kitsmuse.com for all the info! 

Option 1: mail her an ornament you feel represents your child/children ( you can send more than one) for free! If you would like your ornament back there is a 5.00 fee to cover shipping. 

Option 2: Mail her an ornament and for $8.00 she will take a picture of it and of it on the tree and tag you on facebook for all to see!! If you would like your ornament back please send $12.00 instead of $8.00 to help cover shipping. 

Please have all option 1 or 2 ornaments post marked by Aug 15th. 

Option 3: The Bundle! Pick from any of 4 professionally handmade dough ornaments below (moon, cross, angel or carriage *see all 4 of the ornaments at www.kitmuse.com). Send her an e-mail at jennifer@projectsweetpeas.com with: blond or brown hair color and girl or boy for angel ornaments; for all ornaments pick pink, blue or red accent colors, child's name, DoB and DoD if you wish, short phrase (this will need approved to make sure it's not too long) such as "my tiny angle". When it arrives she will take a photo of it and tag you on facebook, she will then tag you with another photo with it on the actual tree AND mail it to you when the tree is taken down so you have it for years to come... all that for only 20.00 IF you order between now and June 10th. After that the price goes up to 25.00 so take advantage of the early bird special!! The cut off for bundle orders is July 31st so the person making all of them has time to make them perfect!

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