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My share affair

Five years ago, we were in a pretty advanced NICU…….They had parent-centered care, Kangaroo’ing, rooming in, etc. It became home and the nurses were family. There were no scrapbooking nights, very little parent interaction with each other outside of the pumping room (or milking room as we affectionately named it). There was a parent support group, but it was not highly advertised, not strongly encouraged. And there was no SHARE for me to go to. We struggled through our rollercoaster ride, brought our baby home, and spent the next three and a half years in our own preemie world.

When we moved to San Diego, I had to quit my old company which I’d been at for 10 years. I found a job at Farmers. As most of you know, they are active with the March of Dimes and WalkAmerica. The Prematurity Campaign started my first year at Farmers. I missed the kick-off presentation for some reason that first year, and didn’t get involved……The next year, I was four weeks away from delivering Ethan. When the WalkAmerica committee in our office asked me to speak at the presentation, I jumped at the chance. You can tell people about prematurity in general, but to have a real life story from one of their co-workers would really get them going. So I spoke about Ryley, and was completely shaking by the time I was done. How had I not dealt with all of this? At that point in time, I still didn’t really have time to “deal” with it, and I didn’t have time to get involved in MOD…..four weeks later, Ethan was born and we were busy with three young children and life in general. But I kept MOD in the back of my mind, knowing it was time to start giving back. MOD had helped develop the steroid shots and surfactant that had saved my oldest son. I wanted, I needed, to start giving back. Fast forward to last January…..I knew WalkAmerica was coming up, so I logged onto my computer and found the March of Dimes site. At the bottom, there was this button called Share Your Story. I clicked it and low and behold…….a whole board full of people who knew EXACTLY what we had been through, what we had and still were experiencing. Soon, I was on SHARE everyday, doing live chats, and talking to my husband about my “friends” who had preemies.

In September, I got the chance to meet some of my SHARE buddies. What a day that was! These friends had given me support, listened and understood as I began to finally emotionally heal from having a 26 weeker.

In just over a week……10 days to be exact…..our first SHARE Union will begin….If you haven’t already, I hope you will click on the link on the home page, or in the Get Involved area to get more information, and think, seriously consider, joining us. I can tell you that the friendships you develop over the computer lines of SHARE do carryover in person. It’s completely amazing……The plans we have for Monday’s sessions, the Reception and Remembrance Ceremony will fill your heart, will honor our children, and will help you find your NICHE as a volunteer for MOD. Tuesday’s media tour will be a day to remember.

I can’t tell you how excited I am for this trip, this gathering. I can’t wait to once again see my friends that were in San Diego in September, and can’t wait to finally meet in person many of the other friends I have made on SHARE. What a time it will be!

8 thoughts on “My share affair

  1. Donna,
    You shared some of my sentiments. I wanted to do Walk America last year and when I went to sign up, I saw the Share logo at the bottom. I had no support in the NICU (corrected: I had TONS of support in the NICU from Scott and our wonderful families and friends but I did not even meet any of the other parents there, it wasn’t too social) and was so glad to find you guys!! I feel so happy when mommies log on here with their babies still in the hospital knowing that they found us so early. Of course, not happy with why found us but happy they found us none the less. I will be thinking of you all in ten days! What a great, fun, inspirational time. I would love to meet everyone and participate but possibly next year. Maybe the boys will be healthy enough to entrust to someone’s care besides my own!

  2. I will be there in Spirit ..I will be the bear with the dark purple ribbon waiting to cuddle and hug everyone there… I already committed to volunteer in Indy for Roll Call… As I am lighting candles on the canal and waving pink & blue glow sticks I will be thinking of each of you there.. I know you will all do the rest of us proud. And I know for the Reception and Remembrance there will not be a dry eye in the house.. Hug to you
    God Bless

  3. Donna, I am so glad that your events led you hear to us….thank goodness! I am so excited about NY, I can’t sit still…that’s gonna be the LONGEST plane ride of my life!! The longest drive from NYC to White Plains…but it’ll be worth it when my Share buddies come runnin’ at me with the infamous *tackle* hugs!! Can’t wait for the Share Group Hug!!!! HUGSS!!!!

  4. Melody and Kara, We will miss you this year but know that you will be with us in spirit (Melody Bear). I think we need a Kara Bear too!!! Hugs!

  5. Donna,
    This is such a great story of how you found Share. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this… and if I have… I’ll blame it on mommy brain that I don’t remember it. I am so glad you found Share. It would NOT be there same here without you. I know you’ve gained much here, but you’ve given so so much more. You are one of those kind souls that I look forward to tackling each and every day! 10 more days!

  6. You guys rock!! Darcy, I can’t WAIT for one of your tackle hugs! And Brenda…..you are one amazing woman that I can’t wait to lay my eyes on and wrap my arms around! Shar, my sister in music……I can’t wait to hear your beautiful voice in person! HUGS! 10 more days….10 more days….10 more days….. Donna

  7. Donna! You are *totally* one of the reasons I love SHARE! It will be wonderful seeing you and my other girls again…Oh, and James…and it will be so nice to see my other SHARE friends for the first time. Kara….Melody….Denise…and other friends….I would LOVE for you to come….and one day…we will meet in person. I just know it! HUGS! Melissa

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