Missions & Initiatives
The mission of Today is a Good Day is to provide personal and financial support to families of premature babies during their time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
On November 14, 2010, our lives changed forever. Our identical twin girls arrived 4 months early at just 23 weeks and 5 days. Claire Josephine was born at 1lb. 2oz. Mary Gladys was born at 1lb 4oz. Mary was with us only 2 weeks. Claire beat the odds and came home after 103 days in the Abington Memorial Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. During our time in the NICU, we experienced so many emotions. We met another family with a “23-weeker” and were inspired at his outcome. We went to dinner during nurse shift changes to experience some sort of normalcy. We started each morning with the motto “One Day at a Time” since we did not know what each day would bring. Some days were filled with bad moments and challenging prognoses. However, we rejoiced in the “Good Days.” As we kept family and friends apprised of Claire and Mary’s journey, we were always happy when we could write “Today Is a Good Day.”
We host Listening Sessions with current NICU families
During our first week in the NICU, we met a family whose son was born at only 23 weeks. He was 3 years old and doing great. This little boy gave us such inspiration for our girls who were born around the same gestational age. While Mary was only with us two weeks, we never forgot the little boy who inspired us each day for Claire. Since our time in the NICU, we have hosted many listening sessions for current families traveling their journeys. When possible (and not RSV season), we take Claire. She definitely inspires other families through her personality and growth over the past six years.
We offer monthly grants for families at Abington Memorial Hospital, including the recent support of an electric bill, gift certificate to Babies R’ Us, and a pack-n-play. So far, we have supported five families through our monthly grant program. We look forward to expanding this program to more hospitals in the future.
Online Community of Support
To this day, we have friends who reach out to talk about RSV Season, the NICU, and other related preemie topics. By having an online community of support, we can provide support to families through our website and social media. Recently, we started the Philly Preemie Parent Network, a closed Facebook Group, for local parents to connect online. In addition, we feature “Preemie Profiles” on our website and direct parents to different resources we find helpful.
Today is a Good Day Preemie Shirts
When Claire was in the NICU, it was a huge milestone to be able to purchase clothes for her to wear. It was a “normal” activity as a parent to be able to dress your baby. We partnered with Jacqui’s Preemie Pride to develop a “Today is a Good Day” gender neutral shirt for the nurses to give to parents when their baby is
able to wear clothes for the first time.
One Day at a Time bracelets
One of our dearest friends gave Martha a bracelet in December 2010 stating “One Day at a Time.” It is a phrase that she had heard us say frequently as we traveled our NICU journey. Following the stay in the NICU, we worked with the local March of Dimes chapter to have approximately 5000 bracelets made and given out at three local hospitals. Through “Today is a Good Day,” we are continuing the bracelet project.
As the organization grows, we hope to expand parental services to include cleaning services, transportation support, secondary insurance guidance, etc. which are difficult to complete during long term NICU journeys.
Writing down the information shared with you every day is an effective way to reference past conversations and to look ahead. We entered information in a journal each day for Mary and Claire. As we witness Claire achieving so many milestones, we think back to her third day of life. On this day, we learned Claire was born with Grade 3 and Grade 4 brain bleeds. The prognosis was very poor for her to be successful. The doctors were not sure if she would be able to walk, speak, or function normally. We look back now and are thankful for all of the information we recorded. It is important for parents to feel empowered in the NICU, to ask questions,
and to speak freely with the neonatologists and nurses.
A copy of On the Night You Were Born
Every day we read to Claire and Mary. One of Claire’s favorite books is “On the Night You Were Born.” We provide a copy of the board book for parents to keep at the isolette and read to their baby.
Each care package contains a Braidin clothing protector, which works well as a nursing cover, to place over your work clothes, or to use as a burp cloth.
These fabric squares were recently added to the care packages to help NICU families bond with their babies through smell. One square can be worn against the parent’s skin and one can be left with the baby in the isolette. Each day, the squares can be switched so that the baby has the parent’s scent and the parent can have the baby’s scent.