Merry Christmas from 27 Miracles!!!! Hoping that this Christmas season you are able to be with those that matter to you the most, friends and family. Today’s Christmas blog is a very special and dear one to my heart.
On October 13, 2009, I had a baby boy weighing in at 1lb 10oz. He was 27 weeks at birth. He life was not guaranteed, in fact daily we were told he may not make it. We had an up and down rollercoaster with him for five months. We thrived on hearing the good days when he had a great day in the NICU. We lived on milestones, when he is 3 lbs he can wear clothes, when he is 4 lbs he can go home.
Kaleb reached 4 lbs right around December 1st, daily we trusted God and asked if he was going home and all we were told was, “we have to wait until the doctor determines how he is doing.” Kaleb still had episodes where he would stop breathing right in my arms. The news came around the 2nd week of December that Baby Kaleb was not going home. I became very depressed at the thought that my little one would not be with us for his first Christmas.
The Child Development Department sent someone to talk to us and involved my teen age daughter in the process to help us cope. The nurses right away embraced us and said it is okay, this too shall pass and you will have that special little boy in your arms in no time. Throughout the weeks that followed, a few of the nurses bought Kaleb toys and some clothes to wear. It was so funny as each nurse came by to see whenever he had their outfit on. He did not lack for love. On Christmas day they allowed for extra visitors and I remember my parents, Marcus and my two kids came to visit Kaleb. They showered us with hugs and love. But most of all, what I remember was receiving a book for myself, a toy for Kaleb and an umbrella for Marcus. You might say what is so special about that, nothing really. It is what it meant to us, someone remembered that we were there in the hospital on Christmas day hurting because our baby was hurting.
We brought some cookies for the units that took care of us, Labor and delivery, NICU 1 and NICU 2 as well as the high risk OB Unit. I remember bringing the NICU an Ornament that said Hope and remember them hanging it on the tree.
Christmas night after my parents and kids left, Marcus and I returned to the NICU to spend more time with Kaleb. I remember praying in the Chapel at Florida Hospital for God to intervene. I felt so alone, but at that moment we went upstairs to the NICU and I saw the very ornament that we gave the NICU that said Hope and I felt like that was a sign from God saying, I hear your prayers, have Hope.
We finally did bring Kaleb home March 24, 2010 after 163 days of being in the NICU. Why am I telling you this story on Christmas day? The reason is that the following year we returned in 2010 to deliver cookies again to the NICU and to bring Kaleb so that the nurses that took care of him could see him and his progress. In 2011 we went back and again brought some cookies.
In 2012 I met a woman at Good Samaritan Village, she had a most interesting ministry. Her name is June Bainer and at that time she was about 91 yrs old I believe now she is around 92 or 93. She is full of energy and with a heart as big as can be. She went on TV 98( the village tv channel) and spoke about Bears ( this was about in October) she indicated that they had all these bears and the women of the village ranging in age from 68-90+ years of age made the bears. The only problem was that they were not internet savvy and did not have the connection to the right group to donate to.
Immediately I contacted her and scheduled time to listen to her ministry and see how I could help her out. I shared my journey with Kaleb and asked if we may purchase the bears on behalf of 27 Miracles so that we can donate them to the babies parents at the Florida Hospital NICU. She said that she will donate them to us as the story touched her heart. She indicated that they are called Love Bears and given to children who are hurting or sick, physical or emotional. Mrs Bainer indicated that this was the first time that she has done this for the NICU and was very excited. She donated 125 bears. On Christmas week 2012 we donated 100 Bears to the NICU. The staff took the bears and handed them out to the parents and we were so happy for that.
2013 Came and we got to see the bear exchange( this is the time when ladies all over the village and snow birds bring their precious bears to give them away. These ladies kiss their bears good-bye some of them as they literally put their love in to making them. No two bears are made the same. They all look different and are different sizes with different facial features. We left the Village that October day with 100 bears.
We were in contact with Florida Hospital and the date they selected for delivery of the bears was Dec 17, 2013. Sara Channing, Media Relations, Nussi Afraz, Child Life Special Events and Chantelle Child Life as well, orchestrated my coming to visit the NICU. I was able to meet with a few parents and explain to them the reason for my being there. I let them know that I know what they are going through now while they are there during the Christmas season. I provided them with hope and encouragement but most importantly not to lose faith. These parents were very touched by the gift of a bear. The first mom, had twins and only one survived. The second mom had triplets and only two survived.
As I walked around the NICU with Nussi and Chantelle, I shared with them that this is the first time that I stepped foot inside the patient room in the NICU since I left. It gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes to see where we are now and where we were then. Nicholas, Photographer for Michael Anthony Photography, offered to take a few photographs for Florida Hospital, to remember this day by. Nicholas was also able to relate to this, as in South Florida, a few years ago, he too had a preemie in the NICU. His preemie is okay now. So he understood where we were and where these parents are.
I share this testimony not to give myself any glory for what I did, but to give Glory to God who is the Master Planner and Healer. Sharing some hope and encouragement provided me with the greatest feeling of hope and love remembering the days that I was there with our baby hanging on to a thread. If I can show a little love and take a moment to bring someone a little Love Bear donated by the woman of Good Samaritan and those parents feel love, then I have done my job of support.
These bears were all stuffed in little white bags with their individual cards by Chad Morrison, Patrol Leader for Boyscout Troop 826. He spent several hours stuffing bears in a bag and stapling cards to the bags. If not for people like Chad who volunteer and other people like June Bainer and her ladies from Good Samaritan that make the bears this could not be done.
I thank God for giving me the ideas and allowing this dream to be born in my heart. For Mrs Bainer and the ladies from Good Samaritan for taking the time and effort to make these Love Bears. My husband Marcus who allows me to do this type of work to help others* yes even during the busy Christmas and wedding season) and my daughter who helped transport the bears in her car there. To Nicholas Sabatino of Michael Anthony Photography, for taking pictures to share with me and Florida Hospital. To Bruce from Treasured Moments for making this photo Montage on Christmas eve at the drop of a hat. Finally to the NICU staff at Florida Hospital, Chantelle in Child Development, Nussi Afraz, Child Life Special Events and Sara Channing in Media Relations, for allowing me to share a little love with other parents and babies and Give This Christmas Away this year!
I will leave you with these words. please visit our web page about the Story of Faith, it will let you know how we are trying to get the word out to parents, to loved ones going through Breast Cancer, to single moms, to people in love and to people longing for true love. If you read through it will provide you the information needed about the up and coming movie, ” A Story of Faith” http://www.27miraclesbyrosie.com/services/community.php
27 Miracles http://www.27miraclesbyrosie.com/
Michael Anthony Photography http://www.michaelanthonyphoto.com/
Treasured Moment Videography http://tmvphdfilms.com/
Florida Hospital for Children/Walt Disney