My husband Will and I have been married for almost ten years. We have a son, James, who is almost four years old, and our second son, Finn, was born June 28th, 2017—8 weeks premature. Everything was a challenge during my pregnancy with Finn, from the nausea, to a miscarriage scare, kidney stones and leg cramps, placenta previa AND being told at TWO ultrasounds that the baby was a girl only to have my husband come in as I was waking up from general anesthesia to tell me it was a boy. I had preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome which lead to an emergency c-section that I was not prepared for.
We spent 57 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. Some days were harder than others, but every day it was hard to leave my home and one child to go to the hospital to be with the other, then to turn around and have to leave that child again.
I did the best I could for Finn, but I couldn’t be with him every minute.
I always tried to make sure no blood was drawn or any more involved procedures done without me there, but often I would rush in for a 7am procedure only to find the nurse got it done at 6:30am.
Other times I would spend hours holding him and comforting him to sleep, then gently lay him down and rush to the bathroom to come back to him crying again.
I would leave my breast pad in the incubator, trying to leave my comforting smell behind, but would often come in later to find it gone. Maybe it had dropped on the floor during a care or was just gathered up with a dirty diaper.
We had 57 days of NICU life, and once he was breastfeeding the days got longer. One overnight stay I was so tired and my voice so hoarse I just recorded myself singing a lullaby on my phone and would hit play when he started to fuss.
We finally went home on August 28th, but 4 months later we were admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Sacred Heart in Spokane, WA when Finn got RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and was hospitalized for 10 days. This was a new kind of hard and between my husband and me, we hardly ever left Finn’s side. We were hospital zombies.
Through these hospital stays I learned that even though I wasn’t a doctor, I had incredible healing and comforting powers for my son. My voice, my smell, my touch… they all did something for him. This made it even harder to leave him and even the smallest reprieve could help me get through another day.
This is how Finn the Panda came to be, a bear to give parents of babies in the hospital a way to stay connected, even when they have to be apart, whether that is for a procedure, a night stay, or a quick lunch. Finn is designed to bring your baby comfort and encourage your bond, even when you can’t always physically be there.