While the world prepares for a beautiful moment with their baby on their first Christmas, many parents celebrate in a different way. On this day 155 babies in the NICU in two hospitals are celebrating their first Christmas in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) because they were born too early. It is a difficult time when as a parent you are told that your baby will not be going home with you for Christmas. This is why The Gift of Life started this tradition of delivering cookies when founders Rosie and Marcus had their baby in the NICU. Through the years they started deliveiring hats and love bears that were made by the senior citizens at the Good Samaritan Village. This year they had two additional outside volunteers in the community that made bears. Thanks to these two ladies and the seniors from Good Samaritan Villahge, 155 babies in two hospitals received love bears and red hats for Christmas.
Founders Rosie and Marcus Moore along with miracle Kaleb and board member Anitra Manning delivered the hats and bears one by one to all the babies at FL Hospital with child life specialist Summer.
Winnie Palmer Hospital received their hats and bears in the volunteer office on the same day to distribute to their babies in the NICU.
Every year Rosie and Marcus Moore founders of The Gift of Life, take November 17 World Prematurity Day as a day to remember their little miracle Kaleb that was born 13 weeks early at 27 weeks, weighing only 1lb 10oz and 12 inches long. They remember the almost 6 months that he lived in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) growing, having medical issues, and hanging on to every breath, wondering if it would be his last one. They cried, they prayed, and lost sleep for months and even years after he went home. At birth, he was only given a 5% chance of survival, while Rosie, hung on for life as well after the emergency c-section. Marcus was at a loss with his only child possibly not making it, the love of his life in serious condition following the surgery. He clung to God, but also to the song He’s My Son by Mark Schultz. He prayed those words, he shouted, God can you hear me. Somedays there was silence and the emotions overcame him because he could not stand another day going to see his son suffering.
As Rosie got better, his spirits were lifted through her encouragement, that God would not provide him a son to take him away. He grew stronger each day until the day he finally came home. This past September, The Gift of Life held their 5th annual charity gala and Rosie decided that she would put together an assimilation of what life in the NICU was like for parents. Marcus and Tisha were to perform in the assimilation together, but due to the unexpected hurricane Tisha, Mrs. Virginia International, mother of preemies herself, was not able to get out to Orlando. But because Orlando has a huge heart for charity, Karen Shriner, professional actress, and singer stepped into the role 2 days before the event and evoked emotion along with Marcus from the audience.
See some of the remarks from the guests:
“I was overtaken with emotion, I could not stop crying.”
” I already knew the story because I went through it with Marcus and Rosie, but seeing the show tonight, brought me back to that moment and I cried like a baby.”
“I never knew that parents endured these emotions.”
“I was scheduled to work and did not know that my job today was involving an event for premature babies, it brought me back to when my daughter was born 14 yrs ago, I could not stop crying and I am supposed to be working the event.”
The list went on of people sharing their emotions.
The assimilation started with founder Rosie Moore saying:
“Imagine your baby being born 13 weeks early, weighing 1lb 10oz and fitting in the palm of your hand.”
From there, The NICU awareness video played:
Then the assimilation with Karen Shriner and Marcus Moore started to the song He’s My Son” by Mark Schultz. It showed the daily fears, tears, struggles, emotions of two parents while their baby was in the NICU. That is the story of Rosie and Marcus. Florida Hospital partnered with The Gift of Life to sponsor the Isolette similar to the one little Kaleb was in when he stayed in the NICU.
Many times Rosie would be alone in the room not wanting to go home while Marcus would go to the chapel or on the other side of the room praying as Rosie hunched over the isolette still healing from her surgery, weary from lack of sleep, and hurting to see her son lying in an isolette connected to wires, IV’s, breathing machines, coding frequently setting off alarms. In this assimilation that is what Karen and Marcus are doing assimilating those moments in the NICU.
They share this story with you today not so that you can feel sorry for them or any other preemie parent but so that they can raise awareness of what is happening with preemie parents when they are in the NICU. These emotions are real and painful.
The Gift of Life needs your help, they can’t do this alone, it takes a village of volunteers, board members, and financial support to reach as many families as they can.
Today is November 17, 2015, World Prematurity Day. It is the day that is selected to raise awareness about the number 1 killer of infants. According to the World Health Organization in the United States alone, 517, 400 premature births occur every year. Besides maternal illness or high blood pressure, diabetes, sometimes it is unknown why babies are born prematurely.
Visit their website for more information: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs363/en/
The Gift of Life was founded by Rosie and Marcus Moore after having a premature baby of their own. Kaleb was born at 1lb and 10 oz. He was born at 27 weeks and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 5 months. What parents Rosie and Marcus did not know, was that besides Rosie being in danger due to the stroke level blood pressure she had and Kaleb suffering internally if he was not taken out, both of them could have died.
Two doctors worked together to save both their lives, Dr Walker( OB) and Dr Bernstein( neonatologist). After the delivery when Kaleb came home, she took him to her OB appt, to show Dr Walker how he was doing. She was told Dr Walker was no longer there and he no longer was doing obstetrics. Rosie thought that was odd, but did not think of anything of it. This year when Rosie went to her yearly check up, another doctor was there of the seven they had. He asked about the pregnancy and when he asked about Kaleb and she shared his age and weight, the doctor said, “you are the one.” Rosie Moore asked what was he speaking of. He stated that Dr Walker left right after Kaleb was born because of the overwhelming emergency of the delivery. One can only imagine the emotions going through his mind.
What Dr Walker may not have known, is that on October 13, 2009, he saved two lives of a mother and son. He may have joked with Rosie telling her when they met the day before at the hospital, that one deceleration( an episode when the baby’s heart rate drops) and he was out, because this kid was going to Harvard. Rosie remembers that day and laughs today saying, ” I should have gotten that in writing.” Regardless, that quiet morning while she slept, Kaleb got in trouble, his breathing decreased and he had to come out. It was like a movie in the ER, doors flying open, codes being called, doctors on standby, nurses rushing. But within 15 minutes, baby Kaleb was out. Not the typical way a parent expects a child by emergency crash c-section.
Today, on World Prematurity Day, there is someone who you may know that is premature or had a baby that was. Help The Gift of Life raise awareness about premature births. Having a baby should be a normal process, but for some, it is not. Let’s band together as a community world-wide and give support to these parents who are having babies before time. These babies and parents did not ask for their baby to come early, so while this happens, lend emotional and financial support.
Premature babies can be our future doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lawyers, teachers, engineers, actors dancers, mothers , fathers, and any profession they choose. Someone gave them a chance, will you? Visit our website to see how you can become involved www.thegiftoflife27.org