As an advocate who served on the planning committee for the Foundation’s Chicago Promise Walk and 5K Run for numerous years and currently serves on the Patient Advisory Council, Jasmine Mago is no stranger to serving the mission of the Preeclampsia Foundation.
She recently took her advocacy to the next level by authoring a new children’s book focused on understanding the NICU experience called Kangaroo care, please?
“A few years ago, I was showing my son pictures of himself as a baby in the NICU,” Jasmine explained when asked what inspired her to write this story. “Several of the pictures he saw were of him having skin-to-skin contact with either me or my husband. My son asked me why we held him like that and I told him it was called kangaroo care.”
Jasmine’s son Kabir was born via emergency c-section at 28 weeks gestation due to severe early-onset preeclampsia. Weighing only two pounds, Kabir spent the first eight weeks of his life fighting to survive in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). These experiences are detailed in her new children’s book, which is told from the perspective of a NICU baby being held by his parents utilizing kangaroo care, a skin-to-skin contact technique that has proven beneficially to preemies and newborns to promote improved respiration, bonding, and body temperature regulation.
Like many families who experience preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, Jasmine and her husband Sony had to face leaving the hospital without their baby.
“I unexpectedly gained first-hand knowledge of the confusion and fear of having preeclampsia and the NICU experience,” said Jasmine. “My main coping mechanisms included kangaroo care time, as well as reading and singing to my son. When he would sleep, I would go on walks for fresh air that would help clear my mind of negative thoughts that often occur in a mom who has recently gone through such an experience.”
It’s Jasmine’s hope that this book can open dialogues between parents and their own children who were born early to talk about the fears, hopes, and difficulties of their early births. She also reflected on how important the supportive, nurturing care of the NICU staff became to the entire family as they helped their preemie to build up his strength. She recognized the special bond that she built with the NICU staff and one nurse in particular.
“Nurse Jenn was my son’s main nurse who mostly took care of him. She kept a journal in which she would write how his day was and my husband and I looked forward to reading the logs every day,” Jasmine said. “When he reached a milestone (like passing a stool!), she would call us. It’s incredible to think how that simple news made our day! She was incredibly caring and thoughtful and a huge part of my son’s life in the NICU. I am so grateful to her for all the love and care she gave my son that made him healthy and strong enough to come home.”
When asked how friends and family can best support a family going through the NICU experience, Jasmine had a strong answer: “Listen, listen, listen.” She reflected that the best help she received was loved ones who were willing to make the drive back and forth to the NICU with her, make dinners, and otherwise take care of the things she could not while she spent time at her baby’s side. She hopes that Kangaroo care, please? will also act as a supportive gift to give parents who are in the middle of their experience or seeking a way to chat with their children about their experience.
A marketing and communication strategist by profession, Jasmine lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two sons. Kangaroo care, please? can be purchased in hard copy on Etsy at KangarooCareGifts and in soft copy on Amazon. From now until May 31, 2023, Jasmine will be donating 20% of her profits to the Preeclampsia Foundation in honor of May as Preeclampsia Awareness Month.
A visual approach to understand preeclampsia patient experiences from the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine & Preeclampsia Foundation
Doulas can help bridge the gap for any mom, but especially those most vulnerable to maternal illness and death.
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Stories of our brave women and families who have been affected by preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Please note that due to a technical issue, we are currently fixing the images on this page.
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