World Prematurity Day 2021
his special day, Unu si Unu Association celebrated the born too soon babies, their families and the medical teams from 3 NICU’s from Bucharest.
We highlight the fact that the “Big family” of premature babies is made up of medical staff from the maternity ward and, of course, from the biological family: mother, father, brothers, grandparents, aunts, all those who are waiting for him at home. We strongly believe that only the collaboration of the two sides can lead to adequate medical care, at European standards.
The big family of the smallest ones
Maybe it was a small gesture that we, the “Unu si Unu” Association, made this year on Prematurity Day in 2021! If you compare it to what we did before the pandemic, yes, it may seem insignificant!
World Prematurity Day was a big celebration for the little ones, who had overcome the burden of prematurity, paraded on the red carpet, among purple balloons, received toys, mothers thanked the doctor and hugged a nurse, and the doctor and the nurses were amazed by the children and were loading up with power to continue their work in NICU.
In the last 3 years, and especially this year, we have looked more at those who are in neonatal intensive care on Prematurity Day. Sometimes I think that even I, the mother of premature twins, do not understand exactly how difficult it must be for mothers and fathers, who go through the long hospitalization of their newborn during the pandemic. I can only imagine; I can get a little into their skin by hearing their stories or reading their messages sent to the Association. I felt the incubator like a wall, but I wonder what it would have been like to be separated from my children not only a glass wall, but real walls, corridors, doors, rules, new procedures, fear of not getting them sick involuntarily, the fear of the virus that affects us all.
We wanted to show parents that their babies are “in good hands,” they are cherished by their hospital-family, as well as their family at home, and that although they are so small and vulnerable, they are lucky to have a big family watching them moment by moment!
We asked the parents back home to send a family picture, mother, father, aunts and grandparents, with siblings if they have, with godparents, with all those who are waiting for them at home. We printed the pictures and placed it next to the baby in the incubator. Such a small gesture, but so significant!
The mothers who could stay in the hospital, had the opportunity to talk about their family, about the difficulties or successes of their family, about how much they wanted their baby! A doctor sincerely told me that the pictures help her see what mothers look like “in reality”, without protective medical equipment, as they are when they are happy! A nurse was happy because from the pictures she can understand where certain features of the child come from, such as a little baby smiling all the time had a picture next to him showing the parents, a couple of very happy people :). For mothers who still have a child at home, it was good to see both children “side by side” and to hope for the big reunion soon.
The letters on the incubator, with the child’s first name, had the role of taking the child out of the patient’s position, shouted by his family name, or number 1 and number 2 in the case of twins. The premature newborn has become a child, a baby like everyone else, whose family proudly places their name on the door or next to the crib, as a sign of “Welcome!”. We are lucky to have in our team the talented illustrator Iulia Trif, who created a special font for this occasion. Each letter is decorated with a mother and a baby animal, and shows the love and connection of the two. Within 5 minutes of placing the letters-names, the nurses began to call and fondle them using the first name.
Of course, we dressed them all for celebration, with purple bodysuits, and the medical staff received as gifts shirts in the same color, purple – the color of prematurity. Purple symbolizes wisdom and love, which is exactly what these babies need to adapt to life.
We need the sophisticated environment of neonatal intensive care, the wisdom of neonatologists to treat them, the professionalism of nurses, but also the love of parents in providing care in the hospital.
Together with the photographer Cristina Niculescu-Dumitru from Kinder Studio, we managed to take photos of them, precious memories over the years, in which the babies look pampered as in private photo sessions… We photographed details, how they were sitting in nests, how they were caressed and embraced by mothers and nurses.
Very few premature babies have such a normalcy, my daughters have photos only from 3 months after birth… We send these framed photos to their families back at home, to the great joy of family members who do not have access to the baby in the hospital.
There was a lot of work behind, a lot of infrastructure and organization so that we could take these small gestures of normalcy in the 3 level 3 NICUs in Bucharest: Bucharest University Emergency Hospital, Dr. I. Cantacuzino Clinical Hospital in Bucharest, OG Clinical Hospital “Prof . Dr. Panait Sîrbu ”from Bucharest. It worthed!
We also supported other hospitals in creating a “Home” atmosphere: SCJU Târgoviște, SCJU Satu Mare, SCJU Oradea, “Dominic Stanca” Maternity in Cluj-Napoca. For all the above hospitals we donated 7 espresso machines and 12 kg of coffee beans.
We thank the sponsors: GE Healthcare Romania, Chiesi Romania, Nutricia Med Romania, De’Longhi Romania, individual donors from Oradea through 230 tax form, without whose generosity we failed to orchestrate this celebration.
Thanks to the partners: Kinder Studio, KaraBaby, Aimee adv, Maria’s Ladybugs, TAG – Medical Uniforms, Iulia Trif, who prioritized our orders and gave us considerable discounts.
We thank the medical staff who shared with us the logistical complications, approvals and arrangements: Chief Physician of the Neonatology Department SUUB Dr. Adriana Dan together with Dr. Cristina Chiriac, Chief Physician of the Neonatology Department Clinical Hospital “Dr.I. Cantacuzino ”from Bucharest Dr. Amalia Stănescu and Chief Nurse Iuliana Pașalan, Chief Physician of the Neonatology Department Dr. Raluca Tocariu and NurseIulia Mihoci from the O-G Clinical Hospital “Prof.Dr. Panait Sîrbu ”from Bucharest.
Thanks for the collaboration: Dr. Roxana Varga (Head of the Neonatology Department of SCJU Satu Mare), Nurse Maria Ardelean (SCJU Oradea), Chief Nurse Gabriela Oprea and Chief Physician of the Neonatology Department Dr. Anca Georgescu (SCJU Târgoviște), Chief Physician of the Neonatology Department Dr. Ligia Blaga (Dominic Stanca Maternity Hospital Cluj).
Thank you, Adriana Irinyi – Unu si Unu volunteer at the Maternity Hospital in Oradea. Adriana collected tax forms 230 in Oradea, thus helping to raise a budget from which she then supports the department in which her little girl was born. The mothers and babies from SCJU Oradea received Maria’s Ladybugs bracelets, books and bodies inscribed with the 2021 Prematurity Day logo, coffee beans to complete the espresso donation from De’Lonchi Romania, and printed the letter kit for the names of the babies, investing 5 hours together with her family in cutting them. Adriana is a model and we are very grateful that she is with us! We are looking for moms involved in other cities in the country!
Super special thanks: Bogdan Lehman, Toma, Dragos Netoi, Impulse Design.
I want parents and nurses to work together, to respect, to learn from each other and to take care of the child together, from the first moment, until he recovers all the shortcomings of prematurity. I want parents to be educated and involved in the care of their premature babies 24/7, not to be “Toghether for better care!”
Article author: Corina Croitoru, mother of prematurely born tweens, founding member and president of the Unu si Unu Association