Way, way, back when I started Perfectly Preemie, probably about the year 1995, I volunteered at my local hospital as rocker, and no that didn't have anything to do with music! If you have heard me sing you would not even think that! It had to do with the NICU and rocking babies. I did this for two reasons and numero uno was for my love of babies! I was done having more babies of my own and my children were in elementary school and growing up fast. The second reason was to be around preemie's in an effort to understand and learn what they needed. I had started Perfectly Preemie two years before and had come up with many designs from the research I had done with the help of the nurses at Tacoma General, but I have always been on a hunt for more ways to improve our preemie clothes. I went in every Saturday morning from about 9-12 and rocked babies, folded lots of laundry and throughly enjoy my time in the NICU. As my children got older, busier and the business grew, I had to cut back on the volunteering at the NICU.
Ever since those days I love hearing stories of people who have found their love in rocking these little miracles. This week I read one of those inspiring articles about a Grandma who's superpower is rocking preemies!
Grandma Joy is an 84-year old grandma who after retiring decided to add cuddling to her schedule. In a interview with Taylor Holt with WDIO ABC news, she shared:
"I come in every Thursday and it just depends on what baby need to cuddled at any time, and the charging nurse will always tell you what room to go into," she said.
Yes, her job is simply - spreading love. She's been volunteering at Essentia for the past 15 years. She started in the old NICU.
"Then, they told me that they were in the process of planning this new NICU, where each baby would have private room and that they would be asking for volunteers to be "grandma rockers' and so I said, sign me up."
Every week now, she and several other 'grandma rockers' cuddle babies.
"We don't do any diapering or feeding. We just cuddle a baby when they need to be cuddled," she said.
Sounds like the dream job, right? RN Kelly Sandy says it's also essential for babies like Dillinger.
"He's what we call a growing preemie," said Sandy.
"It's so important for their development to know they are being held and touched and to hear a voice," said Grandma Jo.
"It's just so important for bonding, for love and like Grandma said, the voices do calm them down and they love it," said Sandy.
It's also a big help for parents and nurses who can't always be there, and it's not just the babies who enjoy the presence of Grandma Jo.