They are tiny and fragile, yet courageous and brave, and one of the most amazing stories anyone can be part of. But if you're a parent, the NICU journey can be very overwhelming and profoundly emotional. (I should know, I had a 3 1/2 lb. baby girl and a 4 pound son).
The time spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care is something parents never forget. No matter how long the journey was or how medically complicated it became, the emotional aspects can be life altering with the memories becoming defining moments in their lives. I know because I had a 3 1/2 lb. baby girl that was there for several weeks.
The NICU can spark emotions that parents never knew existed, emotions that are so intense that only those who have been through it can truly understand. With all the uncertainty a NICU stay brings, it is difficult to actual take time to celebrate. But it’s important to acknowledge the journey, the emotions, the accomplishments, the milestones and celebrate them all. Now, there's a place with a way to reach and share those emotions and milestones as forever treasures.
The NICU Journey Bead Program is a family support based program that serves as a connection between parents, their baby, and their healthcare team. It’s the ONLY NICU specific bead program and the first of it’s kind where the focus is on the celebration of milestones, growth progression, and the parent experience.
The Journey Bead Program uses special custom hand-made glass Murano Beads as a tangible way for parents to record and remember their baby’s story. Each handcrafted bead tells a personal story of strength, courage, hope, and healing. This program offers encouragement and inspiration while celebrating and documenting each new step. It’s a way to recognize the emotions, remember the milestones, and reflect upon the trials and triumphs that make up a NICU journey.
Below is a sample of how it works and why it’s important.
For the Parents
- Tells a story of strength, courage, hope, and healing
- Helps alleviate some of the emotional pain of the NICU experience, helping to decrease stress and anxiety
- A means to record and share their journey, giving a timeline and a tangible way to celebrate each milestone achievement in a positive and empowering way.
- Restores a sense of self, inspiring them to push on, knowing that they are not alone.
- Fosters personal connections with healthcare providers, building trusting relationships that enable the parent-nurse bond to develop and grow throughout the NICU journey.
- Brings comfort in a time of crisis and a sense of joy to their Journey.
For the NICU Team
- Nursing intervention that shows compassion and empathy while improving communication.
- Platform to develop a bond between parents and the nursing staff by creating a positive, trusting relationship, and a therapeutic alliance between the parent, their baby, and the nurse.
- Empowers staff to draw upon clinical intuition bringing excellence in nursing care and improving patient satisfaction scores and transforming bedside care
Dignity Health Northridge Hospital is participating in this program and it celebrates life one baby step at a time. I have clearances from a couple moms with babies participating in this program that have several of the charms already collected along with a baby that was just cleared to go home (with a butterfly charm.)