Better for Baby

Early this summer, Bart and I went to a show in Durham. During intermission, I checked my phone and saw an email from my college roommate, Sherry, telling me that her unborn baby, due in the fall, had just been diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis (she told me all sorts of details, but the basic gist is that one of her heart valves is faulty and would need to be replaced immediately after birth and then every 5-10 years for the rest of her life).

Sherry’s baby was induced a few days early so that a full cardiac team could be there, and after her (happily) uneventful birth, their new baby girl was rushed off for heart surgery for an artificial valve. She spent seven days in the hospital before Sherry and Eric were able to take her home.

I’ve had several friends over the years with babies that had to stay in the hospital for various reasons and my heart breaks for how hard that is on families.

Yesterday was the 15-year anniversary of my youngest brother’s death, and I spent an hour or two in the evening reading the book my dad wrote about Shepard’s life and fight against cancer. I’m amazed at how normal my parents managed to keep our lives despite Shepard’s weekly chemo appointments and monthly hospital stays. Having a little one in the hospital is just not easy.

At the end of June, Pampers launched their Better for Baby campaign (I’ve embedded the video below and it’s just so so good – we got a sneak peek at it when we went to Cincinnati this summer) and they told us that if we had any projects we wanted to work on in our communities that would help make the world better for babies, they’d be happy to make a donation to help us carry those projects out. This wasn’t a sponsored project that we’d be paid for (I wasn’t paid for this post or any part of this project (in fact, I didn’t even have to WRITE this post)), but it’d be a chance for us to make an impact somewhere that mattered to us personally.

Since I’d just learned about Sherry and Eric’s baby, I knew I wanted to make a donation to help cover the high medical expenses for their baby, plus help other families like theirs with babies in the hospital.

I’ve also felt, more strongly than I ever have, a desire to help families who are struggling, whether with poverty or health or in any number of other ways. I look at our warm home and fridge full of food and my healthy little girls, and wonder how I can sit back and not try to help others who aren’t so fortunate. I want our family to be involved in our community and in acts of service, not just at the holidays, but all the time.

I contacted our local hospital and polled some of my friends who had had babies in the NICU to see what would be most helpful to them, and put together some care kits for the families.

We picked up restaurant gift cards Cafe Zupas and Chick-fil-A, selected baby board books, bought cozy socks (something that the hospital suggested parents could use when they’re spending hours at the NICU with their babies), boxes of pretty thank-you cards, and a few other little treats, like these candy bars.

We packaged them all up in Pampers colored gift bags for delivering to the hospital with little cards explaining the program and wishing these families and their babies the best.

I love Pampers and have been so impressed over the years by their dedication to making great products for babies and their families, but I especially appreciate how much they do to give back to the community in such a variety of ways. In my various visits to P&G and Pampers, I’ve met a bunch of the people running the Pampers brand, most of them moms and dads themselves, and I’m always impressed by how family-focused they are and how much they care about babies.

This was such a sweet project to do as a family, and I loved that my girls were able to help pick out their favorite books to put in each bag. It was so wonderful to start our Christmas shopping buying things for other people instead of ourselves.

And I really hope that all those little babies get to come home for the holidays.


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  1. As a preemie mom, I want to thank you for reaching out to a community that frequently needs that extra love. My son was born 3 months early and spent those 3 months in the NICU growing big and strong to come home with us. He is now 2 years and 3 months old and doing fantastic- healthy, strong and completely caught up. 🙂

    It was a very trying time in our lives and I know the reminder that people care makes things so much easier to handle. Thank you. Thank you.

  2. What a wonderful video. Although none of my kids had/have major health issues, I too have friends who have rushed newborns off to surgery or spent many weeks sitting in the NICU and I'm sure the gestures you are making will go a long ways with these families!

  3. Such a fantastic idea. I'm glad you were able to provide this service and get your kids involved. You are awesome.

  4. What a great idea. I've always loved the Ronald McDonald house. The one near us has all kinds of volunteer opportunities: everything from preparing meals to clean up to helping with BINGO night.

  5. This is such a great idea. When we were in the nicu with Kinsley (for those short 32 hours), it really broke our hearts to see so many babies that were in such worse conditions than ours and I think this is something that those other parents will really appreciate.

  6. Such a great idea, and I love the things you put in the bags. We weren't in the NICU but spent a lot of time at the hospital the month after Tess was born. Every little act of service made me a weepy mess. They brought in a blanket that someone had donated, they gave us tickets to visit the zoo, etc. When you are in the hospital and fighting your personal battle, it means so much just to know that people on the outside world are aware and thinking of you. What a sweet thing to do for those families, and you chose just the right things. Well done! And how awesome of Pampers to support you in the effort!

  7. I got to know Sherry in New Zealand– I was there studying/playing abroad and she was there for Eric's schooling, I believe. Noelle's new baby will be the first in our family to spend time in the NICU… hoping for the best!!

  8. That video totally didn't make me cry ;.;
    I didn't know Pampers had this campaign. It's awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Love all of this! That video was really touching, it surprised me! I started reading some of Shepherd's book a few months ago when the let my parents borrow it…. goodness, what a special boy who has touched so many. I really want to finish it at some point because your dad (and mom?) have such a way with words and describe the events perfectly. Thank you for sharing and thank you for all the good you do! Loved the post today too– they Crack me up!

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