Friday, December 21, 2012

Last chance....three more days!



Loki Sky and His NICU Friends Fourth Annual Holiday Fund


Three more days before our fund closes.... we have surpassed our goal as of today by receiving a total of $2030 from many returning and new donors. Thank You! Again we are helping many NICU families in dire need of financial support in order to bring their baby home from Alta Bates Summit Medical Center NICU! 

You can still donate. If you have not taken your chance yet, we encourage you to do so before Monday the 24th of December. The reality is that any donation is wonderful, and more donations means we can help more people buy cribs, strollers, car seats and other necessities in order to take care of their baby after discharge from the hospital. 

Monday December 31st our Ambassador Mascha Rodeck will visit the NICU to hand over our check to the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center NICU! Photos will be taken and shared! As other years we will hand over a letter to the NICU with a list of all donors. If you prefer to remain anonymous please let us know before Monday December 24th so we can take your name off the list.

How can you donate?

1) Internet: Please go to http://www.paypal.com and use a credit card or Paypal account to send money to XXXX. Be sure to note "Holiday Fund" in the comments.

2) US: Please mail checks in name of: Kathalijn Sprenger, 405 Eastview Drive, Bedford, IN 47421. Please write “Holiday Fund” in the memo.

3) NL: Maak geld over op rekening 615769152 t.n.v. K.C. Sprenger o.v.v. “Holiday Fund”

We have a somewhat tighter schedule this year, as we have been busy managing the consequences of our own child’s premature birth. Our deadline is the 24th of December.

With warmth and gratitude,

Loki Sky and his NICU Friends

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Once again! Loki Sky and his NICU Friends Holiday Fund

Dear Family, Friends, Friends of Family and Family of Friends,

The Loki Sky and his NICU Friends Holiday Fund is launching one more time. And once again we hope that you can help families in need at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center NICU. At the close of this letter, you can find instructions on how you can do so.

We are deeply grateful for your support over the past years. You've helped dozens of families who have newborns in the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center NICU, while facing financial challenges. The NICU shared the story of Maria and Juan, who directly benefited from your donations last year. They were evicted from their apartment just as their baby girl was born at 29 weeks gestation. With your help, they were able to purchase essentials such as a portable crib, a stroller, and a baby swing. You can read their full story at the end of this email.

Together we will help other families like this who are in need, and we hope you will support our efforts. Our goal is simple: to reach the $10,000 combined in our four years of fundraising. This will require $2,005 this year. We can do it!

How can you donate?

1) Internet: Please go to http://www.paypal.com and use a credit card or Paypal account to send money to jessreyn[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Be sure to note "Holiday Fund" in the comments.

2) US: Please mail checks in name of: Kathalijn Sprenger, 405 Eastview Drive, Bedford, IN 47421. Please write “Holiday Fund” in the memo.

3) NL: Maak geld over op rekening 615769152 t.n.v. K.C. Sprenger o.v.v. “Holiday Fund”

We have a somewhat tighter schedule this year, as we have been busy managing the consequences of our own child’s premature birth. Our deadline is the 24th of December.

With warmth,

Loki Sky and his NICU Friends

Maria and Juan’s Story:

"Maria and Juan were very excited to be first time parents and looking forward to having their baby girl when she was unexpectedly born early at 29 weeks gestation. Maria, who spoke only Spanish, and Juan were very devoted and loving parents. Their support network was also limited all of their family members lived in Mexico. Juan would drive Maria to the hospital every day at his lunch hour from East Contra Costa County, where she would spend the day with baby Lupita while Juan worked. While Maria and Juan delighted in their baby, they were very concerned because they had just learned that the home they were living in was going to be sold and they had to find a new apartment very quickly before baby came home. While Juan worked, they still needed to have money to pay a deposit and first and last month’s rent on a new apartment. In addition, they had to pay for the gas every day to visit Lupita while also saving for the baby equipment they would need for her. This was a very emotionally trying time for Maria and Juan as they were very worried about Lupita and dealing with the stress of having her separated from them. Maria found herself in tears often wondering where they were going to live and how they would pay for their new apartment, gas AND Lupita’s things. Things became even more stressful for the family when they heard the news that Juan’s brother had died unexpectedly in Mexico. Despite their concerns about money, time needed to find a new apartment and their sadness about Juan’s brother, they continued to come daily and Maria continued to pump breastmilk around the clock for Lupita, who never knew a day without her parents coming to visit and care for her. Eventually, Maria and Juan found a new apartment but were especially relieved when they learned that they could receive assistance with purchasing a portable crib, a stroller and a baby swing from the Alta Bates NICU Family Resource Council assistance funds. With their NICU social worker, Maria went “shopping” on-line and was able to pick out a Minnie Mouse themed portacrib/playard that matched the theme of the other nursery they had planned for Lupita as well as a stroller and a swing. Having this very important help from the Family Resource Funds meant that they could save their money to pay for their costly moving expenses without having to forgo important baby equipment. While these gifts helped to reduce Maria and Juan’s stress about how they would manage financially, the assistance meant so much to them that Maria cried with appreciation knowing that other people cared so much and wanted to help."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Professional photos

While in Indiana a few weeks ago, we had professional photos taken. Although they are not all great, I am putting most of them here. I am glad that we did this.




















This is Loki's latest face, which he makes when he is exaggerating his excitement.


Here, Loki tries a bit too hard to smile

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Four years old!

We are parents to a boy who decided to decorate his own birthday crown (the crowns are a Dutch tradition) at day care by writing his name, with no example, and no encouragement. He wrote his own name, commenting the K was a bit hard to write. But looking at this picture I think this is a pretty darn perfect K for an almost-four-year old.


Our big boy, once 610 grams, will be four years old tomorrow and I can barely wrap my mind around this thought.

This past week has been drenched with memories of four years ago. For whatever reason, four feels different from two and three. Of course one was huge... somehow four feels big too, though. I guess that, here in the Netherlands, four means starting school, and perhaps that is part of the reason? Or is it that Loki is developing rapidly and really changing into this big kid who now fluently speaks two languages and reasons up a storm?

Whatever the explanation, my memory of pregnancy, early birth, and endless hospitals is more vivid than it has been in a very long time. It started almost a week ago on the date of my PPROM (water breaking), and it comes with mixed emotions. I couldn't even say if these feelings are good or bad, pleasant or not. Whatever they are, it feels comforting somehow. Odd, isn't it? What felt like terror and hell at the time, now feels comforting four years later. To think about being hospitalized, high on drugs, thinking about trying my very best NOT to give birth to the baby whom I already loved more than anything before he was born, feels comforting. It is comforting to think about waiting in the recovery room for hours before I could meet my child, however heartbreaking it was way back then. It is frightening yet comforting to think about all the ups and downs throughout the NICU, the years of medical issues, tube feedings, vomiting, sleepless nights, surgeries, scary illnesses, everything. As much as I hated it, I also love these memories. I would change them in a heartbeat to make life easier on Loki and us, yet still these memories are me. They are what I am. How on earth is this possible? How on earth can I cherish the most frightening days of my life?

I think I understand. I look at where we are today and I realize the ridiculous luck we have had. Also, Loki's difficult start is a huge reason why he is who he is. And what is not to love about this funny, witty, smart and handsome boy? The terrifying start is who we are and how we became parents. We survived and we came out stronger.

There is so much I would love to share about all Loki says and all Loki does. But I choose to celebrate his fourth birthday by sharing my gratitude and love for this wonderful human being in our lives.

Loki, you deserve all the love coming your way, and boy am I grateful that you are the person who you are. Le'ts celebrate by eating cake; playing Micky Mouse, Dora, Elton John, a pilot crashing an airplane on water safely; dancing before our invisible audience; writing our own stories; and celebrating your life. Because sweetie pie, you can do all these things just in one day.

Have a  very happy birthday Loki-doki-artichoki!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Photos from Indiana

We visited family and friends in Indiana, where I am from. We all had a great time. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen Loki enjoy himself so much. Here are some photos of him during this visit. Unfortunately, I lost my camera-phone, which had some great pictures, such as Loki splashing in creeks. But I think we found enough from other sources.

Of course, spending time with family was top priority. Papaw Mark (my step-dad) took a lot of time from his busy schedule. Here, he took us out on the first of two boat trips on Lake Monroe:


Loki's #1 play partner was Cousin Chloe (Mark's granddaughter):


Stacked smiles:


Tea party:


With Papaw Mark:


With Cousin A.J. and Uncle Brent:


In the kiddie pool with Cousin Marlee (another granddaughter of Mark):


Loki was even able to get Nana, my mom, playing rough:


Loki shows Papaw Mark how to build a helicopter:


It turns out that Papaw Mark repairs helicopters:


Ready for take off:


Nana threw an early fourth birthday party for Loki, with a carnival theme:


Cousin Ashlyn paints Loki's face:


Huffing and puffing on a beautiful cake made by my step-sister, Loki's Aunt Lindsay:


With Marlee, two cats:


Loki pinned the tail exactly right on the donkey:


Whack the piƱata:


On a boat with Nana:


Loki is sometimes naughty:


At the helm:


With Mama:


Nana took Loki to Build-a-Bear, where kids choose an animal, watch it 'come to life,' groom it (here), name it, and give it accessories:


He names his female musician rabbit Chloe, except when she is a he, and then he is Chlo-dee:


Mirrored at a children's science museum (Wonderlab in Bloomington):


Pinned at the museum:


A kiss for Nancy, Loki's great-great-aunt:


Looking to the future (photo by Ashlyn):


Monday, August 13, 2012

June and July video

The video collection from the last two months is relatively short. Here:

  • Loki sings a nonsense song with Uncle Brent
  • Another nonsense song, this one in Dutch about the chicken meat not in the water, or something
  • Yet another nonsense song
  • Loki talking while he falls to sleep, via the baby monitor. His falsetto voice is when he pretends to be his stuffed animals. I think he is saying in Dutch "No, me!" or "No, I go!"
  • Playing with cousins
  • Being goofy. This is just a couple days after his tonsils were removed, and his voice was highest. "Daddy, my house fell down!" Actually, his voice has kept most of the change.
  • Warning: LOUD drumsets with the neighbor boy. Good news: this is not our drumset. Bad news: This is right through one wall from our house!
  • Playing at the beach. Lately he has become much braver. Notice how deep he goes.
  • On the neighbor's trampoline. Just a few months ago, he would not jump on it.
  • Sliding into the ball pit with a friend.
  • Three dance sessions: trance ("with my whole body!"), with clapping (some on the beat, some on the off-beat); and energetic.
  • Singing along a bit with his favorite CD.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A few July photos

I am way behind on video editing. So instead of doing that long task, I just grabbed some photos instead.

Wild flowers for Mom. The "vase" is the case for a syringe:


"Fishing" in a canal with Opa:


Beach boy:


With the neighbor boy. "Whatcha thinkin'?" "Knight thoughts."


Not ours, thankfully:


Loki went to the amusement park with Chloe:


Bouncin':

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.