About a year ago, Graham’s Foundation partnered with CaringBridge to provide parents of micro-preemie infants being treated in the NICU with free web sites that make sharing updates with loved ones simple.
With a CaringBridge web site, parents can post photos, journal entries, and links to educational resources, and their friends and family can post comfort and encouragement in a personal guestbook that is just for that family.
Unlike sites like Facebook, where a lot is going on, parents of preemies have full control of the content on their CaringBridge sites and can dedicate that space to their babies’ challenges and milestones.
“Being able to share the extreme prematurity journey with the people who care about you makes the journey easier, but staying in touch when you’re juggling NICU visits and your daily responsibilities is almost impossible,” said Graham’s Foundation founder Nick Hall. “A CaringBridge web site offers parents of preemies a private online space to help the people in their lives understand the challenges, joys, and heartaches of caring for a baby born far too early.”
Parents of very early preemies have used CaringBridge sites in numerous ways, but I thought it would be eye opening to read about one family’s story. Meet Sharon and Stafford Gaston, who shared their story with us through CaringBridge:
The Gastons were extremely excited to learn that they were pregnant with twins. Anxious to see the world, their daughters Norah and Noelle were born 24 weeks later. The doctors gave Norah and Noelle, each weighing about one pound, a slim chance for survival.
Sharon and Stafford began calling their family and friends to update them on Norah and Noelle’s conditions, but they found it difficult to relay the emotional news over and over again.
While pumping breast milk for her twins in the hospital, Sharon discovered a CaringBridge pamphlet and decided to start a website for Norah and Noelle.
“I needed a distraction, and we needed a portal to update people and to help us get through the situation emotionally,” says Sharon.
CaringBridge soon became the Gaston’s lifeline to their family and friends. “It’s been our voice — Norah’s, Noelle’s, Stafford’s and mine — to communicate with the outside world,” says Sharon. “CaringBridge has given us a safe place to communicate with family and friends.”
Sharon believes that Norah and Noelle are a miracle that came to fruition with the help of CaringBridge.
“They are true fighters, true miracles,” says Sharon, “and it’s a true testament to your website that we were able to reach out to hundreds and hundreds of people because without their prayers and support we really don’t know how we would have made it overall.”
Through the photo section on Norah and Noelle’s CaringBridge site, family and friends have been able to witness this miracle in progress. “Through the pictures, they have seen Norah and Noelle’s transformation and their progress from one pound preemies to healthy babies,” says Sharon.
For more information about signing up for a CaringBridge site for your family, visit http://www.caringbridge.org.