When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my new friend, children’s book author, Sarah Immonen Ward, is sharing the WHY she wrote her newly released book, “Our NICU Journey” . Take it away, Sarah…
Our NICU Journey by Sarah Immonen Ward
I never planned to be a writer or publish a book in my lifetime, yet here we are celebrating my debut children’s book, “Our NICU Journey”. I celebrate this achievement for many reasons.
Publishing our story was a way to cope with my birth trauma. It was also a way for me to mourn the loss of a typical full term pregnancy. Lastly, it was our way of giving back. We cannot begin to describe how thankful we are to each and every person that helped bring our babies home from the hospital.
My husband and I struggled to get pregnant right away and were thrilled to announce to our family and friends that we were due with twins. Our excitement quickly changed when we delivered them at a gestational age of 28 weeks. We watched as our children lived their third trimester in a hospital bed. Instead of being filled with grief and focusing on the bad news, we chose to celebrate their victories.
We wanted to stay productive and read to our children every day. Reading to babies promotes neurological development, reduces stress, and helps with coping. We collected so many great stories all while collecting beads from the Beads of Courage® program (https://beadsofcourage.org/).
After every procedure, test, and therapy we were given a bead and at the end of their treatment had a strand to represent a tangible form of their medical history. Our family was released 78 days later with their beads to remind our children of their courage and bravery in their fight to come home. To always remember their strength, I wrote a love letter about their journey and kept it in my nightstand drawer.
Fast forward two years and we found ourselves in the NICU with our full term son. I felt denied a normal birth experience and faced past feelings of fear, uncertainty, and disappointment. We once again relied on faith, read to our son every day, and were finally able to bring him home to grow and thrive.
After our experiences we just knew we had to give back to the community and help other families not feel alone. We used our love of reading children’s books, personal photos of our journeys and individuals on our care teams, and my love letter as inspiration to create this keepsake that we hope will be treasured for years to come.
We pray that our story will help others who feel isolated cope with their own journey and inspire the love of reading in their own families.
Here’s my book’s blurb:
“Our NICU Journey is an inspiring children’s book and keepsake that follows first time parents as they navigate the neonatal intensive care unit. This book provides individuals enduring the NICU a sense of hope and encouragement. It is the perfect gift for families with a loved one or multiples in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, NICU graduates, and healthcare workers and supporters who are dedicated to this fragile community. The final pages include sections to document your own NICU journey and space for guests and healthcare teams’ signatures. Follow along as each page of the story highlights the strength, courage, and perseverance of a child’s fight to come home, visually represented through Beads of Courage®. Whatever your story, know that you are not alone.”
Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Our-NICU-Journey-Keepsake-Miracles/dp/B09LGNPBPV
Sarah Ward has a BS in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia and a degree in dental hygiene from the Medical College of Georgia. She is a mother of three NICU miracles and is passionate about giving back to the NICU community. With the help of their amazing medical teams featured in this book, the Ward children are home and thriving. Since her experiences in the hospital, Sarah has enjoyed connecting with fellow NICU families and healthcare workers in hopes to bring comfort and support.
Want to Connect?
Goodreads: Sarah Immonen Ward
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