Christmas presents come in all shapes and sizes. Growing up, I always remember my parents saying, “The best presents aren’t always the biggest, sometimes the best presents are the smallest packages wrapped under the tree.”
Last Christmas, although our presents weren’t wrapped under the tree, my husband and I received the four smallest and greatest gifts we could have ever imagined. Our four little miracle babies (yes, quadruplets!) were born on November 17, 2017 – on World Prematurity Day – at just over a month before Christmas, with each one weighing between 2 and 3 pounds each. After going through a tough journey of infertility, God had given me the gift of becoming a mom (times 4!!), and making it to 30 weeks in my pregnancy, which was nothing short of a Christmas miracle!
Many moms dream of spending their baby’s first Christmas all snuggled up at home under the tree with a Baby’s First Christmas ornament hanging close by and lots of first memories being made. However, our babies’ first Christmas looked much different than that. Instead, we spent their first Christmas in the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Overland Park Regional Medical Center with them hooked up to monitors and only being able to hold them for a limited amount of time before they had to return to their isolettes in order to maintain their body temperature. I never imagined spending our holidays this way, but when you have preemie babies there is no better place to be.
We are forever grateful for the outstanding care we received for our little ones at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. The nurses, doctors and staff at the hospital quickly became like family to us and celebrating Christmas with them was one we will
always remember and cherish.
This holiday season, I know many families will unexpectedly be spending their baby’s first Christmas in the NICU like we did last year. This time can be full of great happiness, but can also be scary and full of lots of uncertainty. So to all those NICU
moms and dads, we will be thinking about you and your family and praying your hearts will be filled with joy and peace this Christmas season. We also want to share a little Christmas cheer and a few ways that helped us celebrate the holidays in the NICU:
- Sing Christmas songs to your baby or listen to Christmas music with them. Our little ones loved this-don’t worry about your singing voice!
- Buy your baby their first set of Christmas pajamas. If your little one is able to wear clothes, bring them to the hospital to wear on Christmas day.
- Take a family Christmas picture and post it on social media. Friends and family will love hearing from you!
- Read Christmas stories to your little one. Your baby loves hearing your voice and it is a wonderful way to bond with them!
- Make a Christmas keepsake of your baby’s footprint to have for years to come. We framed ours and have it out again this Christmas!
- Decorate your baby’s isolate/ NICU room with Christmas lights, or hang a stocking up for them. You will be spending a lot of time there and might as well make it festive!
- Enjoy the company of your NICU nurses, doctors and staff. They are sharing their holiday away from their family in order to care for your little one. Get to know them and let them know how much you appreciate them!
- Stay in your pajamas and spend Christmas morning at the hospital with your baby. If you were at home you would still be in your comfy PJs, and nobody cares what you’re wearing!
- Let friends or family bring you a holiday meal to the hospital. It blesses them and you both.
- Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Get away with your spouse and enjoy some time celebrating the holidays together. Whether that’s going out for a nice dinner or driving around looking at Christmas lights, remember its ok to leave!
This Christmas season as we celebrate as a family of six in the comfort of our home, we are enjoying every minute and making a lot of first memories, even though it is their second Christmas. We have gone to see Santa, enjoyed looking at Christmas lights,
watched Christmas movies, sang lots of Christmas songs, taken lots of Christmas pictures, done some holiday baking, and have been reading through the advent calendar together. Watching them all explore and enjoy these new experiences has been so much fun! Our little ones are now just over a year old and they are still the greatest gift!
Wherever you are this holiday season, we hope you enjoy the gifts, both big and small, that God has given you! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Kaitlin Hartman was admitted at 20 weeks pregnant with quadruplets to be monitored continuously unde the care of the medical team at the Maternal-Fetal Health Center at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. It took more than 30 team members to care for Kaitlin and deliver the quadruplets – Ainsley, Sadie, Teagan and Braylon. The Hartman quads spent more than three months in the Level III NICU at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. You can follow Kaitlin on Instagram @hartmanquads or the family’s blog 4everblessed.blog
The Maternal-Fetal Health Center at Overland Park Regional Medical Center is one of the leading Centers in the region. It offers the area’s most experienced team to support high-risk pregnancies and the most advanced, comprehensive care for mother and baby – all in the same hospital.