The tool I'd like to share today is an online tool. When my daughter was born 15 weeks premature in April 2007, we found ourselves in a very emotional and chaotic situation. Her life was very unstable and we were concerned with each minute to minute. Much of our family lives out of town but wanted to keep informed of her progress. The hospital, luckily, was only 15 minutes from our home. After a long day at the hospital, trying to digest each piece of information from the doctors and nurses, the last thing we wanted to do was call each person on our list and review all the details. We needed to eat, sleep, and get back to the hospital.
Our welcome packet at the hospital contained a brochure on a webpage called CaringBridge. It is a free service you can use online to set up a webpage for your child, yourself, or any loved one. We were able to set up a webpage for her, share the link with family and friends, and, in turn, keep each person updated without the hassle. The website allows you to share up to 12 photos, links to other sites of importance (we linked to medical sites that explained each issue Addyson was confronted with so others could read up and get more info), a welcome page with background info, a journal page to write updates as often as you wanted, and a guestbook page for each person visiting to write some encouraging words or to ask questions that they had.
Although Addyson is doing fairly well now, we continue to use her webpage to keep family involved in her life as she grows and learns new things. We still update with her medical issues, but for the most part, we love to share her accomplishments now. The nurses from the hospital still visit Addy's page and stay informed of her progress.
A few exceptional features I noted: Each visitor has the option of receiving an email when a new journal entry is posted so they can more easily remember to check back in. As a new mom who wasn't quite ready to share her 1 lb, 7.9 oz bundle of joy with the entire world, I had the option of setting a password to the webpage and monitoring who was privey to that password. Once the doctors said that we were hour to hour or day to day instead of minute to minute, I took the password off and shared her with whomever would listen.
Now we can look back at the journal entries to see what we were experiencing at each step of the journey. We can also look back at the guestbook entries to see who was checking in on Addy and she'll be able to see how many people were pulling for her.
I invite you to visit our daughter's webpage to see what it's all about. It's very easy to use, so don't worry if you don't know how to write html or use any web design software. I promise anyone can do it! If you or someone you know could benefit from this service, don't be afraid to use it. I have noticed that adults going through medical issues have used it and also men and women in the military also use it to stay connected to friends and family back home. CaringBridge.org
To see what kinds of Tools others are using, visit Toolin' Up Tuesday hosted by LifeAsMom.