Mementos: How We Remember Our NICU Journey

January 15, 2016

I’m a saver! I love to hang on to mementos. I love tangible things that bring back vivid memories. I have the most mementos from our preemie Haley’s NICU stay. Every year around her birthday and homecoming day I pull out the box and remember. I remember how tiny she was when I look at the tiny diaper. I remember how amazing she was when I look at her perfect footprint. I remember how proud I felt when I look at her first bottle.  It’s good to remember and see how far we have come. 

A shadow box with 2 pictures and a diaper

A shadow box with 2 pictures and a diaper.

There are so many different things that you can save from your time in the NICU. If there is something you wish to save, you can surely ask your NICU nurse if they will allow you to take it. These mementos might seem silly to some, but having them reminds you of a special but hard time. While some might think you will want to forget that time, many of us want to hold on to it and remember how amazing our preemie is for all they overcame.

What do you do with everything you save?  Shadow boxes are great for displaying some things. I’ve seen some wonderful shadow box displays. I have a small shadow box I’ve hung in my family room. It serves as a constant reminder of how much we have all grown from our experience. I also have a box that I keep on my dresser with many special things I have saved: her first pacifier, her first bottle, a diaper, her first little hat, her eye protection from phototherapy, and blood pressure cuff, her foot prints and her first 2 outfits that were handmade by a friend. Many of those items are the best way to remember and show others how small she was.

Most of the items I have in my box of mementos.

Most of the items I have in my box of mementos.

I’d love to hear from all of you.  What kind of things have you saved, or what do you think you will save from your time in the NICU?