A local mom and teacher decided to give back to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) unit at Novant Health’s Prince William Medical Center in Manassas after her own experiences in the unit.
It all began for Audrey Baldwin when she was pregnant with her second daughter Shay Baldwin.
“My second daughter had me on bedrest at week 28 of my pregnancy due to a rupture in my amniotic sac. With a one year old at home and a classroom of students, I was devastated,” stated Baldwin.
Three weeks after the rupture, Baldwin’s daughter was born during an emergency C-section at just 30 weeks, and had underdeveloped lungs.
During Baldwin and her daughter’s stay at the Manassas NIC, Baldwin saw firsthand the care and effort put forth by nurses in the unit.
“I saw nurses perform miracles by the minute. Their care, skill, and teamwork had me in awe and pure amazement. Many of these sick and tiny babies are early and therefore, many parents aren’t prepared-mentally or physically-to take care of their new wonder. Nurses went above and way beyond for families like mine and I intended to pay them back in every way possible,” stated Baldwin.
Baldwin asked the unit nurses what they wanted for NICU, and was surprised to hear that they wanted a washer and dryer.
“They wanted a washer and dryer unit to clean the quilts, clothing, and bedding for these small infants [in NICU. There is a washing service in the hospital of course, but those items are rough and stiff -especially for infants. Also, their laundry service will not wash and sometimes not return the items that aren’t hospital pieces, such as homemade quilts,” stated Baldwin.
After being discharged from NICU with her daughter, Baldwin got to work on making the nurses’ request a reality. Baldwin set up a GoFundMe page and collected donations for months before reaching her goal.
Last weekend, Baldwin held a “shower” ceremony for the NICU nurses with Deena Van Allen, presenting them with ten storage bins of clean baby clothing, homemade blankets, hats, gift cards, parent packs, detergent – and a washer and dryer unit.
According to Baldwin, the washer and dryer donation was made possible thanks to a $1,000 donation from Doug and Jenn Smith of Total Construction Solutions, whose own son spent time at the NICU unit. Appliance Connection in Woodbridge sold the unit to Baldwin at cost, and delivered it to the NICU unit for free.
“This partnership was a miracle waiting to happen,” stated Baldwin.
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