"I know what it is like to leave your baby behind, fighting for their life and it is the most unnatural and devastating way to be thrust into motherhood."
~Jayme White, Finn and Co
I am excited to share my interview with Jayme from Finn and Co Gifts. She is so amazing, sweet, and funny. Make sure to connect and support her fabulous work...
Tell us your NICU story
Kelsey is hands down the bravest person we have ever met. And we are lucky to call her our daughter. Kelsey's story is one for the books, one we will most definitely be writing one day. Our pregnancy with her was, for the most part, easy. We went in for a routine ultrasound at 32 weeks 6 days only to find out that she was incredibly sick. This took us completely by surprise because the ultrasound 2 weeks prior was completely normal. She was diagnosed with non-immune hydrops fetalis, a condition where the baby has fluid in places they are not suppose to have it. For Kelsey, she had fluid in her chest/lungs, her belly, and her skin. We were transferred immediately to Pennsylvania Hospital in Philly where they had a level III NICU. Once there, we were told we would be delivering within 24 hours to give her a chance. After discussion with all the doctors, it was determined she would have a 5% chance of survival. We were told that IF she makes it out of the delivery room, the first 24-48 hours were unknown. And IF she survived those first few days, the first few weeks were unknown. And IF she made it that far, we were told these babies would have very long NICU stays that can go up and down. We were devastated. Our third little girl would have to fight for her life. On March 18th, 2020, Kelsey was born via c-section. We never heard her cry. We didn't even know she was born until the neonatologist told us that she was out. Kelsey was immediately intubated and had bilateral chest tubes placed, which they drained almost 1 pound of fluid from her tiny body. But she was stable. She made it out of me. And she made it out of the delivery room. Kelsey continued to fight. Her little body did exactly what we needed it to do. By 2.5 weeks, her chest tubes were removed. By 3 weeks, she was extubated and on CPAP, by 4 weeks she was on high flow, and by 5 weeks she was only on nasal oxygen and learning to feed. Kelsey braved the NICU for 56 long, grueling days. And she came home to us, the brave fighter that she is. Kelsey's first year of life continued to bring us hurdle after hurdle- a 4 day hospital stay due to a UTI (we found out she had urinary relfux and needed antibiotics daily), a 7 day hospital stay due to a lymphatic procedure to fix her lymphatic anomaly that caused her chylothorax, a Horner Syndrome scare the day momma went back to work, microcephaly diagnosis with global developmental delay, a brain MRI that showed PVL which lead to a sleep apnea diagnosis, a 7 day hospital/3 day intubation following an emergent tonsil/adenoidectomy and bilateral ear tube placement, so many feeding issues, and a lot of tears. But her first year of life was also a complete blessing. We shared many milestones, laughs, and joy in knowing that she is truly a miracle.
Tell us about your organization
We took over Finn and Co Gifts from a fellow NICU mom in November or 2022, after Kerlsey was once again in the hospital fighting for her life. We were gifted a Finn Panda during this time. It was the only way Kelsey's sisters were able to connect with her. They recorded a message to her that was played over and over again. Finn kept our whole family connected during this time. We saw and witnessed the value of Finn. And we knew we wanted to take over this company to continue to spread the love with Finn. Finn and Co is the home of the unique Finn Panda, designed to help comfort babies during hospital stays, as well as foster the bond between caregiver and baby, even when they have to be apart. Finn comes with a removable scent patch that caregiver can wear and then reattach or keep near baby so their scent is nearby, a recording device that records up to one minute and can be played back once or on repeat so baby can hear caregivers voice, a black and white design to appear to baby's early vision development, and an antimicrobial treatment to ensure he shows up with all the love and none of the germs. Finn and Co also supports the hydrops fetalis community by having a one of a kind hydrops collection where proceeds are donated to hydrops research.
What inspires you to keep doing this work?
I know what it means to feel alone during a time in a mother's life where she needs support the most. I know what it is like to be told that your child may not make it. I know what it is like to be told, "go home and rest." I know what it is like to leave your baby behind, fighting for their life and it is the most unnatural and devastating way to be thrust into motherhood. My goal is to continue to support families, babies, and mothers during this NICU journey and beyond.
How can someone help support your mission and organization?
Share and spread the word of the importance of Finn the Panda. Help by sponsoring a bear.
During the month of November, for every 4 bears sold, we are donating a bear to a NICU organization, hospital, or family. Also- use code PREEMIE11* this month and get 11% off
* exclusions apply