Everyday

catching meteorites: a photo journal for the nicu parent

At his birth, we were given the option to let him die or try to resuscitate him because he came so incredibly early. I now know that this isn’t an option offered to most parents in our shoes. Quality of life is measured by how few complications a child will have outside of the womb. Choosing life for a micropreemie was great risk to our hearts being broken, but we more than anything wanted to love him on this earth. We wanted Isaac to know that his story was important. And we wanted everyone else to know that he had existed.

I have been told on multiple occasions by friends and strangers that I am brave for sharing my story. However, I don’t feel it was out of courage that led me to share my story with Isaac.

It was out of defiance.

Shortly after Isaac was born, I realized there was nothing but clinical or linear checklists revolved around the NICU experience. While I wanted to understand what doctors were telling me about Isaac’s status, what I really wanted and needed was something to help me process what I was seeing and feeling on the day to day in the NICU. I wanted a clean and simple way to explain Isaac’s story to him one day, but also to those who had a lack of understanding of what the NICU experience is all about.

My pregnancy journal suddenly became obsolete and was a painful reminder of not only an incomplete pregnancy, but also an introduction to parenthood that was not “normal”. Instead of the comfort of seeing Isaac surrounded by sunlight and stuffed animals and loving parents, I had to witness his upbringing with machines, wires, and tubes.

This was his first home and as bleak as it was, I did not want to forget what we went through in an attempt to bring him home with us. I needed something that took my mind off of trying to meet the milestones (even though that was important to me). Instead I wanted to focus on us being present with Isaac in his world. There was nothing in the market at the time that was a NICU equivalent of a regular baby book, and if there was, it had a lot of the goal oriented prompts that I was not looking for. I wanted something that would display our story in a powerfully unique way.

So, I decided to write and design my own.

I wanted to make a book that was broad enough to address the collective path of NICU parents despite their individual circumstances, but I wanted the book to act as a thoughtful guide through a parent’s experience in the NICU.


This book is filled with not only space to take notes, note achievements, and track a NICU baby’s weekly progress, but I wrote twenty-one prompts (ten photo prompts and eleven writing prompts) to help parents gain a new perspective on their NICU experience. I wanted there to be a map of more general landmarks achieved in the NICU rather than an overwhelming checklist of milestones that often become blinders to the bigger picture of just loving and enjoying the time with one’s child. We came up with a constellation map that corresponds with a few landmarks that most families will come across, without it feeling too linear.

Right now, I am trying to decide on which cover color to go with: a midnight blue or an onyx black linen cover. I knew I didn’t want a standard vinyl binder, but something more luxe and personal. As a NICU parent, we were inundated with folders and pamphlets that felt clinical and disconnected from our story. I searched for almost two years to find the right manufacturer and finally came across the company that created Artifact Uprising’s baby book!

We had Isaac’s doctor look it over the first draft of the book, and he was ecstatic to have it in the NICU. So we started applying for grants as well as reaching out for support from family and friends, doctors and nurses, and past NICU families. We are hoping to go into production by March 15th of this year so that we can start distributing what we hope to be a blessing to many an invitation for other families to one day share their experience with those around them.

This week, I would like to invite you to give, even if it is just $5 to our GoFundMe page and ask you to consider sharing this with anyone you know, especially former NICU families! If everyone Keith and I know gives $5 and then invites the people you know to give $5, I know we could meet our goal quickly!

Thank you so much for hearing our story and for your continued support!






project layout: guest room

my sister is going to kill me for this.

i don't know how many times i have changed the layout of this room, sure that all the furniture was finally in its right spot. if it was just me moving around a queen size bed in an 11x10 foot room, i would care less about my indecision on the flow of the room. but i know my sister has changed the layout for me at least three times, keith once. so i feel horrible for having to say that it needs to be rearranged again.

this time, i have been more intentional. i measured the room and the furniture that i want in it. i scoured the internet looking for a layout tool that would help me visualize where everything needed to go. i ended up doing a free seven day trial with smart draw. it took me a bit to figure out how everything worked (i am sure they have some sort of help tool, but i was too impatient for all of that). this is what it currently looks like.

after about an hour of trying to get all the measurements right for the room, this is what i came up with.

guest room floor plan

i am not sure if this will get done before baby arrives (actually i am sure this won't get done before baby arrives),  but i am glad i sat down to do this so that i feel good about this end result. i think my biggest concern with doing this layout, was that i didn't think there would be enough room to walk around the bed. yes it will definitely be snug, but then again, its not for long term residence. now to hone in on the aesthetics. stay tuned.

Aesthetics: Nursery

I am determined to finish this room before the end of this month. with the possibility of baby coming in just three weeks because of my cerclage removal, I don’t really have a choice now. My sister has taken a break from driving all over the state, so i won’t see her until the end of the month. That means, it is taking me longer to lead this nursery out of its current war zone into a treaty of peace. Thankfully, our house church agreed to spend the last sunday of the month trying to tidy up our house, in case baby decides to come early.

anyway, while the nursery remains under construction, i thought i would share my inspiration for the space. I should have done this before my room layout post, but at the time I hadn't figured out what was going to work and what would not. the biggest question i still get is how can you decorate a nursery without knowing the gender?

really? in 2018? yes, i am judging you.

while black, white, and grey are the common defaults to most gender neutral rooms, i decided to play more with the idea of the type of vibe or environment i wanted. i like geometric shapes mixed with organic lines and materials. i enjoy indoor plants, natural woods, and woven materials. i like lounging on the floor (insert bean bag chairs from my youth).

black arm chair

i wish i could have found a chair like this, but my ikea poang rocking chair with a black leather cushion will give the same impression. i actually found the frame and one of their less attractive cushions in the as is section last year. with the help of my sister and some higher management, i was able to get the frame only and then my mother-in-law purchased the cushion for me. i highly suggest a chair that can be cleaned easily. who knows what kind of stains this baby will produce.

house plants

i love house plants. i just seem to kill them after six months. i tried to have a fiddle fig in the nursery, but i think because i purchased it while it was out in the elements, it eventually got moved outside because of so many little mites feeding off of its leaves. so far my succulents and pathos have managed to survive, but do not grow very tall, so i am looking for some snake plants that are pretty low maintenance.

bohemian nursery
shibori lounger.jpg

as far as textiles go, i have been in love with mudcloth and shibori fabric for about five or six years now, but up until recently, i couldn't find a supplier. now the cloth is everywhere and people are charging nonsense for them. i did happen to snag a mudcloth pillowcase from mackenzie bryant co. on etsy, but hope to get some floor pillows in this indigo print.

magnoliamacrame.jpg

i have been on hiatus from making macrame for almost six months because of the physical toll it would take on my body during pregnancy. however, i have been wanting to make a special piece for the nursery that presented the concept of a rainbow baby. having done something similar to this, i am excited to at least try to spend the last few weeks before this cerclage comes out trying to make something similar.

pillow fort curtains

still haven't settled on a rug yet but i will like it to stay on the lighter, less saturated side since a lot of my bigger furniture is very dark.

citzenry rug

the vibe is structured yet airy, and I get to pull in other neutrals that don't always involve the black and white. i am sure i won't be able to find or afford most of what you see here, but at least i am less restricted by one gender color. plus, there is less for me paint once the baby outgrows this room.

 

 

Shibori lounger / etsy

Rainbow macrame / magnolia

plants / dos ombre

Curtains / target

rug / the citizenry

Nursery / tuula vintage