When I decided to run one of the Workshops for Life With A Preterm Baby as a "Building NICU Memory Boxes" it was because I needed to do it. If I felt like I wanted to "seal" that journey as a memory in a shadow box, many other Preemie Parents like myself must also feel that way.
The attention was astounding - so many Parents wanting to share their NICU journeys with one another, to share their keepsakes, and to capture those Memories in a display.
During the time my daughter was going through her 91 day NICU journey, I collected a lot of items. Her first pacifier, her first outfit that actually "kind of" fit her, a Preemie diaper, and the dozens of hospital bracelets that she went through as she grew. These items sat in a box in my closet for almost 5 years. I knew one day I would be strong enough to revisit the items.
On Thursday, I joined other Parents of Preemies in Mississauga at the Port Credit Library. We sat in a circle, shared our stories - some Veteran Moms, some recent Graduates. We sat and listened to one another, and a sense of Community was there. It was emotional, therapeutic and quite frankly magical. To see these Moms come together to talk with others who "got it" was inspiring. My heart felt so full to be able to be part of a group of peers supporting one another.
We all pulled out our boxes of Memories. Some had blood pressure cuffs, Oxygen lines, and name tags from the Incubator. This was the therapy we all needed. Revisiting our journeys, sharing it, and sealing it in a shadow box - our way of displaying some form of "Award" or "Certificate" to show what our precious little ones achieved while they did their time in the NICU. The magic about this is, you can add to the shadow box whenever you'd like.
For my daughter's, I included:
- her first pacifier which was almost half the size of her face
- her first hospital bracelet that was still to large it kept falling off
- the first outfit a nurse put her in at 30 weeks & 6 days )which had to be rolled at the sleeve twice, and it's a preemie size)
- her head piece from her Baptism on World Prematurity Day (November 17)
Here's the final piece:
If you want to make your own, here's what we used:
Items you've saved from your Journey
Some examples of what the group brought:
- Hospital Bracelet
- First Outfit
- Blood Pressure Cuffs
- Preemie Diaper
- Foot print Art
- Going home outfit
- Name tag from Incubator
- Oxygen lines
TO PURCHASE (purchased from the local Art Store*)
- Shadow Box (11"x14")
- Pearl Top pins
* Keep an eye out for 50% off one item coupons!
TOTAL COST: $22.00
- Sit down, with some time to reflect on the journey you had. This is important as it may trigger some emotions. Share this experience with your Partner, a parent, or maybe even your child. Discuss the items and why they're important to you. This is part of the healing.
- Remove the backing place the items from your Memory Box that you want displayed on the backing.
- Continue moving the placement around until you are happy.
- Use the pins, inserting on an angle through the item and the backing to to keep the items in place (the backing is padded)
- Place the backing back when you are satisfied with all the items and their placement.
Share your Memory boxes below or on our FB page! We'd love to see them.#NICU #Memories #LifeWithAPretermBaby #PreemiePowerCanada #CanadianPrematureBabiesFoundation #LifeWithABaby