2022 - Year in Review

New book aims to help parents connect with premature or sick babies in the NICU When it was recommended to new parents Hannah and Nick Stenmark that they read to their premature baby Jett at RNSH’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), they could not find a book relating to their story.

Jett was born more than three months premature and spent 90 days in the NICU. “It was not an easy ride – Jett had a hole in his heart, needed prolonged breathing support, was fed milk by a tube, had a testicular hernia, digestion issues, and his lung collapsed,” Hannah said. “As we were about to go home, we discovered his retina was starting to detach due to his retinopathy and he needed urgent laser surgery to prevent him from going blind.” When looking for books to read to Jett, Hannah and Nick could not find a book that related to their family’s journey in the NICU. “There are very few books designed

for this purpose, so we decided to write and illustrate our own called ‘Your little head start’,” Nick said. “We have been there and know how hard it is. We hope our book helps parents feel connected to their child at a time when all hope feels lost.” Over the next year, each family whose baby is cared for in the RNSH NICU will be gifted a copy of Hannah and Nick’s book to support them on their journey. NICU Nurse Unit Manager Alexis Fox said reading to your baby not only benefited the newborn but also helped the parents. “Hannah and Nick’s book is an aid for any parent dealing with the confronting reality of having a

premature or sick baby,” Alexis said. “It will soothe parents on their journey and help them connect to their baby who will love to hear their voice, and can give parents a sense of purpose and involvement during long hours spent beside their baby in the NICU.” Hannah and Nick said they are so thankful for the care and support during their time at the RNSH NICU. “It is the scariest thing that has ever happened to us, and coming to terms with reality was really hard,” Hannah said. Every year around 600 babies are cared for in the NICU at RNSH.

NICU NUM Alexis Fox, Clinical Professor Michael Nicholl, Hannah, Jett and Nick Stenmark

31 NSLHD 2022 Year in Review

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