A few months ago I joined a facebook group called Parents of Preemies - Ottawa. It was founded by a local Kanata woman, Nicole. Even though for us, our preemie days are long over and other than a speech delay, there really were no issues after we left the NICU, this group is something I wish had been around in July 2007 when Mr. J was born.
1:) What is PoPOttawa?
PoPOttawa or Parents of Preemies- Ottawa is an online based resource and support to parents who have premature children in the city. Whether parents have newborn preemies or if they are grown, all parents are welcome to join in. Part of our awareness is that prematurity doesn't end at the NICU; parents want to share their past and present experiences with others, PoPOttawa gives parents the ability to connect to others locally who can relate and empathize.
PoPOttawa is divided into three parts at this point: the website, PoPOttawa that is the resource hub where parents can find local or outside resources to help them as well as a blog with articles written by other parents; the second part is a Facebook based support group and facebook page where parents can connect directly to other parents; and the third part is the Packages for Preemies where donations of articles parents with preemies still in the hospital may find useful. All are maintained by volunteers throughout the group of parents.
2:) How did PoPOttawa come to be ?
I had my son in November 2012 at 33weeks. Up till that point I had a pretty normal pregnancy and had never really thought of babies being born earlier than 36weeks and till that point the only way I had heard of the " NICU" was from watching ER years ago. My husband and I both felt so overwhelmed having a baby prematurely. At times we felt isolated since we didn't have anyone to talk to about what we were going through or the "typical" preemie issues. No one we know understood anything about CPAPs or O2 or NG or bradycardia or laying in bed at night without the baby but still hearing the alarms of the vitals monitor going off in the mind. We couldn't have made it through that difficult time without the help of others. We had friends and neighbours bring us food and packed lunches, since I spent day and night at the hospital, and items we needed since we had nothing when he was born. It meant the world to us then and we are still forever thankful for the kindness that was shown.
Recently, a friend of mine had a preemie, and I wanted to make sure she had the support and resources we lacked during our time so I created PoPOttawa. I also thought it was a chance for me to give back to the community for all the kindness we were shown. Since the group started in March 2014 the out pouring of support from all over our city has been incredible. The group continues to grow daily from parents of all different walks of lives but we all share one thing in common : our babies were born too early. Donations for packages have also poured in from all over as well which is truly a testament of the fantastic community we live in. They used to say it takes a village to raise a child and I really think that is still the case.
3:) How can people help or get involved with the project?
Send me an email. This initiative is all about community involvement and I love to hear from everyone with ideas, comments, questions or wanting to help and contribute.
4:) How can someone request a package?
By sending me an email. Tell me whether boy/girl and which hospital in the city and we can arrange pick up or drop off at the hospital.