Parents who are tending to their newborn children in the NICU at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo can now take home a book of their choice from Oliver’s Library to progress the development of their babies.
The Tejeda family had to watch their son, Oliver, go through treatments in the NICU after he was born. Parents Lolo and Jamie said it was one of the hardest experiences of their lives leaving their child at the hospital instead of going home with him to start their life together as a family. What they say go them through was the support they felt from the staff in the NICU department.
“The NICU nurses were incredible with him. They were so supportive, you could call anytime you wanted and check on the baby and it was comforting. It was really comforting to us. We felt like we had the world's best babysitters for the first week,” said Jamie Tejeda.
Once they got home, they decided to find a way they could give back to the facility for all of their hard work and dedication to their child. The family hosted a raffle and reached out to the community for prizes to give out, in which they received $3,000 in donations. The money they earned went into their idea to create “Oliver’s Library” as a place where parents could get close to their babies through reading.
“We thought if we could give every parent a book, they could take home and read to their child while they're here, it creates that bonding moment between the parent and the child and it helps with the growth of the baby, so it is a win-win for everybody,” said Tejeda.
The NICU nurses supported the project, saying it will benefit the health of the patients and the regularity of the parents’ lives.
“Reading to babies is really beneficial for their health and their development. It goes to their language acquisition and being well-rounded, but it has a bit more to do with than that. It comforts the families to be able to do something normal with their baby,” said Nurse Trish Ringley of Sierra Vista.
The Tejeda family also wanted to remind families they are not alone as they wait for their children to come home from their time in the NICU.
“There's not much that's very normal about having a baby in the NICU. It's really stressful and overwhelming, so to be able to provide something that allows them to get back into that sense of normalcy and sweetness that they miss when they have a baby in the NICU is what we're aiming for,” said Ringley.
Because everyone receives a book to remember the positive moments from their time at Sierra Vista, the Tejeda family hopes to create a source of light for the moments that may be originally filled with darkness.
“It's the whole community coming together, so it's everybody who helped make this possible and it's just awesome we get to help other babies and parents get through this tough process,” said Tejeda.