Like us on facebook →
When I first looked closely at this little preemie’s photo, I was confused. But when I realized what he was wrapped in, I just couldn’t hold back the tears. This is incredible!
It’s every mother’s worst nightmare: her son was born 12 weeks early and was fighting for his life.
But this mom refused to give up on her son and did everything in her power to make sure he would survive — and you won’t believe how she did it!
When expecting mother, Yamile Jackson, went into premature labor due to severe preeclampsia, she braced herself for the worst. Jackson’s son, little Zachary, was born 12 weeks early and weighed less than two pounds.
Little Zachary was on a long road to recovery and every day in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (155 days to be exact) he was fighting for his life.
Jackson spent long hours each day with her son, and hated leaving him at night — which is, as most parents know, the hardest part about having a NICU baby.
With a PhD in both ergonomics and human factors engineering, Yamile Jackson was desperate to help her son, and wondered if there was a way comfort him in her absence.
After extensive research, Jackson took a leap of faith and created a simple bean-filled gardening glove that she tucked against her son every night. Jackson would also keep a second pair of gloves with her during the day so it had her scent, and trade it out every night before she left.
Jackson’s one-of-a-kind gloves mimicked the smell, warmth and feel of her being there. And after weeks of introducing these unique gloves to her son, something miraculous happened: little Zachary began to recover rapidly.
After 155 days in the NICU, little Zachary was finally free to go home with his incredible Mama. But not long after he was discharged, NICU nurses began calling Mrs. Jackson to see if she could help other babies just like Zachary.
The nurses asked, “You know those little gloves that you made for Zack? Can you make them for the rest of the unit?”
Jackson made 100 gloves for the hospital and set out to do research to see how the gloves could best help preemies, eventually forming the company Nurtured by Design. Additionally, Jackson was awarded a grant from Oprah.
Today the “Zaky” has helped thousands of babies across the country, thanks to Zachary and his brilliant Mama. Additionally, if your hospital doesn’t use the Zaky and you buy one for your baby while they’re in the NICU, you can request your hospital code and Nurtured by Design will gift your hospital with a free Zaky on behalf of the original Zachary — he may be 15 now, but he’s still known as the company’s CIO (aka: Chief Inspiration Officer).
A 2011 independent clinical research project by Georgia College examined 28-34 week preemies, some who had nothing with them in their isolettes (an infant incubator), some who had Zakys, and some who had Zakys that had been scented by their mothers.
The results proved that the babies who had an unscented Zaky had one-third less breathing episodes than the babies who had nothing with them. And miraculously, the babies who had a Zaky that had been scented by mom had no breathing episodes at all.
If only we had a Zaky when my daughter was in the NICU, maybe we wouldn’t have had so many calls alerting us to breathing episodes and horrifying close calls.
Thank God for Yamile Jackon’s incredible invention — never underestimate the power of a determined Mama! Every NICU baby needs a Zaky, please share to help raise awareness about this life-saving product!