Daniel Thomas, the son of Abington High School graduates Allison and Tom Kleinschmidt of Glenside, was born prematurely in 2013, according to Chestnut Hill Local. At 29 weeks, Daniel weighed two pounds and spend the first 55 days of his life in Jefferson Abington’s Andrew Tesauro Special Care Nursery, a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
A decade later, Daniel’s mother is spreading awareness about the mental health of NICU parents through support groups and a self-published book.
“One of the most challenging and heartbreaking aspects of being a NICU parent is having to go home each night while your baby remains in the hospital under the care of neonatal staff. I wrote this book to bring comfort to NICU parents as they experience this part of their journey,” Allison told Chestnut Hill Local.
Her book, “Goodnight NICU,” is an illustrated bedtime story for parents with babies in the NICU. It came out earlier this year.
“The mental health of NICU parents is not talked about enough,” Allison told Chestnut Hill Local. “I host support groups for NICU parents, telling them how to get help. It is normal to have stress. People focus on the baby but not on the parent. It hit me in a delayed fashion with churned-up emotion at Daniel’s first birthday. I worked with doctors and got the help I needed. I don’t want others to be caught off guard.
Today, Daniel is a healthy fourth grader at Copper Beech Elementary School in Glenside. He recently was given an MLK Jr. Peace Award by the school.
“It made my heart sing,” Allison said.
From “Goodnight NICU”‘s description on Amazon.com:
In hospitals across the country, parents return home each night while their premature or medically fragile babies remain under the care of neonatal staff. Goodnight NICU gives parents the words they may be longing for as they wish their babies sweet dreams in the hospital’s most precious place: the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Written by a mom to a baby boy born at 29 weeks, this book makes the perfect gift for any family navigating the NICU.
For the full story by Chestnut Hill Local, you can click here. To purchase a copy of “Goodnight NICU,” you can click here.
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