User post: Helping parents in the NICU this season

"Your single good deed, big or small, can inspire others and cause a ripple effect of kindness that continues to grow as others join in. Start something today - the more people who take action, the larger your ripple will become."

~ Yahoo! Motherboard, The Kindness Ripple

When our triplets were born 11 weeks early, it was as though we had been yanked off the planet and thrown into some alternate universe with large crashing waves all around. We had no knowledge of the local language, the customs or the people. Our crash course introduction lasted, oh, say, five minutes, and then along with the three new little people who had also been yanked out of their realm, we were all delivered to this new environment.

The NICU. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Intensive was right, but we soon came to realize "care" was the real deal.

Yahoo!'s generous $100.00 donation to spread kindness and encourage a ripple effect had me thinking hard as to where it should go. The NICU that literally saved our children's lives felt right. We have great respect for the hospital, but this is for parents who will take the same chaotic journey we traveled. The only thing you wish for is your child's health. Despite gnawing belly hunger, you often feel unable to leave your baby to get a snack. Bewildered, sleep deprived eyes play across your child and you make any and all deals with anyone you think will listen if it makes a difference. You go home alone and don't sleep because your child is not within reach, despite confidence in the medical staff.

We decided to add $200.00 to the initial $100.00 (three seems like a good number to us!), and purchase disposable cameras and snacks for NICU parents. Nurses can take pictures when parents aren't there so no moments are missed. Stepping into the hallway for a snack doesn't require the parent(s) to go far. Or go hungry.

The social worker who assisted us back in 2008 was kind enough to support this idea, and I am looking forward to delivering TO the hospital this time, not IN it. As of this writing I have yet to, but am hopeful that, I can convince a local merchant to cover photo printing or online delivery of completed cameras. During the holidays it can be difficult to be away from family. Our greater hope is that other NICU parents will find some measure of comfort, however small, from what we can drop into the waves that crash around them.

What will you do to create a kindness ripple?