Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bennett's story

$1701 in donations thus far! We are marching toward the $2000 which we are hoping to collect in order to support families at the Alta Bates NICU in Berkeley. Once again, many, many thanks for all your support.

Not every family is blessed with a wonderfully supportive social network, or with the ability to leave their job for the duration of their baby's hospital stay or after homecoming. Loki and his NICU friends are a group of former preemie parents who, despite a traumatic start of their babies' lives, feel tremendously blessed and grateful for all the help which they received from family, friends, hospital staff, and strangers. We want all NICU families to spend critical time with their baby. We want all NICU families to be able to be with their baby in the hospital and not to worry about care for their children at home. We want families who are perfectly capable of offering their baby a socially and emotionally safe home to bring their baby home. Lack of a car seat, crib, diapers, stroller, and other necessities should not be an issue for any family. With your help, we have been able to support many families the past two years, and with your help we will be able to offer support to many more this upcoming year.

We want to share a few quotes from the mother of "baby boy" Bennett', whose story is quite a powerful one. He announced his arrival at merely 19 weeks gestation after his mother's water broke and in addition she was diagnosed with a complete placenta previa. Miraculously, his mother was able to keep him inside, allowing him to grow with practically no amniotic fluid, a situation which seriously diminished his chances of survival. Bennett came into this world with 31+5 weeks gestation. His mother spent 110 days in bed, of which 90 days in the hospital. What followed was another 60 days in the NICU and a year filled with many hospitalizations. Despite all these challenges, Bennett is developing amazingly well.

Please meet Bennett and his super mom Elisa:

"Those 90 days in that hospital bed -- waiting for Bennett to be born and wondering if he would live -- were some of the most challenging I've ever faced ... and they were immediately followed by his birth, his fairly miraculous survival and a 60-day NICU stint. That's 150 days we spent at Alta Bates. Bennett was incredibly sick and fragile at birth. On the heels of three very precarious months in a hospital bed, there were days in that NICU when I was certain I didn't have either the physical or emotional strength to get through the hypervigilance required to NICU-parent him to that background soundtrack of beeps, pings and alarms that still ring in my head today, more than a year later. But somehow, during that most unlucky time in my life ... meeting [Mom] through Mascha, and having both of their veteran support, made me feel anything but. It was a gift. Two moms who'd been there and could shine some light on the path. I was rich with their support, empathy, and logistical know-how (ask for "so and so" nurse, make sure you eat, park on the side streets, take a break, etc.). There were dozens and dozens of NICU families in there during our NICU stay, and we all looked like zombies, floating in, washing our hands, finding our babies, peering in their incubators with all their wires and IVs and monitors... so very aware of how abnormal a start this is for a baby (and his mom).

"And yet, in all that abnormality... there was a comfort. And the only way I can explain it is that, because Mascha introduced me to Kat and Loki, the NICU knew Bennett and me before he even arrived and welcomed us with open arms. Because there was a Loki, the NICU's clinical director and a few of Loki's special nurses had visited me in my antepartum room multiple times before Bennett's arrival. This connection made ALL the difference. Loki helped me to 'belong" to a club that no one wants to be in, but hell... if you find yourself there... how grateful you will be if you can drop his name. ;)"
This Anna, she visited Elisa on Aug. 12, 2010 (Elisa was then 29 weeks pregnant). Anna was born on the same floor at 30 weeks, 3 lbs. 4 oz. Elisa continues:
"This is not the experience for 99% of Alta Bates NICU families. Most do not have 90-hospitalized days to prepare for the fact that their 'best case scenario' is a very sick and premature baby. Most do not know families who've been there before them. Many do not live in such close proximity to the hospital. Many do not have local family and friends who can offer meals and help with other children. And what is very evident to anyone who is familiar with the Alta Bates NICU... many of the NICU families lack basic financial resource. And so... the experience of having a sick and premature child is not only emotionally and logistically devastating, but it has an immediate and significant harmful financial impact. We hope that your gift and support to the most needy families in the Alta Bates NICU will provide them with a moment, at one of the most unlucky times in their lives, during which they feel an interruption of luck, good will, care and support."
Loki Sky was born at the same floor at 24 weeks gestation, weighing 1 lbs., 5 oz. This photo was taken on Aug. 5 2010, visiting Elisa who was 28 weeks pregnant that day.

If you like to help out please follow the instructions below:

Internet: Please go to and use a credit card or Paypal account to send money to XXXX. Be sure to note "Holiday Fund" in the comments.

US: Please mail checks in name of: XXXX. Please write “Holiday Fund” in the memo.

NL: Maak geld over op rekening XXXX o.v.v. “Holiday Fund”

Deadline: Monday December 19th 2011

Thank you very much for your help!


Loki Sky and his NICU Friends


About Loki Sky

Loki Sky is a special little man. He was a very early micropreemie, weighing only 610 grams (1 lb, 5 oz) after 24 weeks, 3 days gestation, born to an American Father and a Dutch Mother in Berkeley, California on October 18, 2008.

On January 11, 2009, while still in the hospital NICU, his one kidney stopped working. It was repaired after three surgeries. After spending time in three hospitals in three cities, Loki came home on February 17. He struggled with eating, and then stopped in July, leading to 8 days in the hospital, a failure-to-thrive diagnosis, and a NG feeding tube. On October 10, a minor surgery installed a G feeding tube. Another procedure replaced it with a new one, and then again with a Mic-Key button in Jan. 2010.

In August 2010, he and his parents moved to the Netherlands.

Read about his first name.
Read & hear about his middle name.
See photos.
See videos.

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Loki's Holiday Gift Drive

Please consider donating to Loki's Holiday Gift Drive for the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center NICU. You can donate by Paypal or credit card here:

Click here for more information, including how to pay by check. For all posts on the Gift Drive, click here.