Keeping families connected
Anna David and her family spent a lot of time in the Randall Children’s Neonatal Intensive care Unit (NICU). Her daughter, Miranda, was born a trimester early, weighing 1 lb. 2 ounces.
Miranda received care for 80 days in the NICU, and Anna was able to make some connections with other NICU families, but she felt somewhat disconnected from the outside world. Recognizing the need for additional support for families like the hers, Anna founded NICU Families Northwest in 2015, as well as a hospital-specific support group for families of babies born into the NICU at Randall Children's Hospital.
“Anna is passionate about supporting other NICU families and sharing her experiences as a NICU parent," said Cary Leach, NICU family support liaison. "She has dedicated numerous hours to offering encouragement to parents during their NICU stay and building community among NICU graduates.”
It started with a Facebook-based support group in 2013, and has since grown to include more than one hundred families, spurring the creation of a non-profit organization specifically focused on providing social and emotional support to families of NICU babies in the Portland Metro and Vancouver, WA region. "I felt out of touch with friends, family, and the peers in my community who had term babies; non-NICU parents didn't understand our experience," said Anna. "I didn't want to lose touch with people I met in the NICU who could relate to our experience, who wouldn't require explanations of medical terms or justifications for our choices, and were familiar with NICU life."
NICU Families Northwest has created a welcoming community for parents who need additional support during and after their NICU experience, as Anna did. The organization helps families prepare for a transition home from the hospital; they provide a safe space to share coping tools to promote healing, and encourage healthy family habits so parents are not only taking care of their babies but also themselves.
Now, at four-years-old, Miranda is thriving and Anna's labor of love is working to expand its reach to even more families, continuing to be a voice and advocate for our littlest babies and their families.
For media inquiries, contact Ashley Stanford Cone
Photos courtesy of the David family