The Tangerine Owl Project
Like most parents, we never expected that we would end up with a premature baby. After two perfectly normal, healthy babies and having had no previous pregnancy complications (not even morning sickness), we never thought that the story of Delilah would be any different. I don’t smoke, I didn’t drink, I took my prenatal vitamins daily, I watched what I ate, I did everything I could possibly do to ensure that this baby would be healthy. It didn’t matter. My normal checkup on Monday January 10th, 2012, would be the last thing standard about this pregnancy.
I was only 25 weeks pregnant. After mentioning that my ankles were swollen at my appointment, my midwife, Cathy, expressed concern that my blood pressure was too high and that she wanted to retest for protein in my urine. A few days later I was hospitalized, and I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a condition in pregnancy for which the cause is unknown, but is diagnosed with the combination of high blood pressure and a high level of protein in the urine. The condition progressed to severe within only two days, and I was transported to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where my husband and I had to make the difficult choice to deliver our baby at 25 weeks gestation. That decision gave the best chance of survival (only 40% at that gestational age), who had also been showing decelerations in her heartbeat. It was that heartbreaking moment when I understood how bad things were. We didn’t know what sex our baby was. We didn’t have names picked out. We didn’t have a nursery ready. We didn’t expect to meet our little one that evening. And furthermore, we were completely unprepared for what we were about to go through.
Delilah Evangeline was born at 11:39pm on January 14th, 2012, at a mere 1.5 lbs, and that’s when our 27 day stint in the NICU started. She was beautiful, she was a fighter, she had the most expressive eyes I have ever seen, and she never did anything less than 100%. Go big or go home. That is how I always described anything she did. She was going to cause trouble, and she was going to make sure EVERYONE knew who she was—hence her very early entrance to the world. She was a force of nature.
Delilah made continued improvements even to the point that we talked with the neonatologist about moving her back to our hometown, because she’d mostly just needed to grow. One day, I’d mentioned that she hadn’t been moving around very much (not her usual feisty self). It was that point that the doctor had confirmed she had an infection. This particular bacterial infection was incredibly aggressive—we’d been through multiple antibiotics, transfusions, ups and downs with the breathing machines—and it continued to get worse. Three days later, on February 10th, after they had tried everything, she had become septic and swollen. It was at that point that we had to have the worst conversation one could possibly imagine with the neonatologist. Our world nearly ended, because that day we had to say goodbye to the little angel we’d barely had a chance to get to know.
Delilah touched the lives of those who were fortunate enough to know her, and she also made a difference in the lives of those she’d never met. She helped us form friendships with strangers who we would have never met, simply because they cared enough to reach out to us. She earned a permanent place in the hearts of all who watched us go through this, and she will continue to impact the lives of others through the work that we will do to support the ISCUs in Chicago’s North Shore and to help the families that have no choice but to experience them. It’s astonishing to know that one little pound and a half wonder could inspire so much… And for that we are honored to have been a part of her life.
Stacey Porter, Founder of The Tangerine Owl Project
The Tangerine Owl Project is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to help families who have infants in Infant Special Care Units (ISCUs) and Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) of Skokie, Evanston, and Chicago’s North Shore through emotional support, through community resource education, and through service-focused improvements at these units; and to support the financial and operational needs of the ISCUs and NICUs.
Services we provide
We support those who support families with premature infants
- Fundraising to accommodate the needs of the Infant Special Care Units in Chicago’s North Shore communities, based on each individual hospital’s needs (new equipment, supplies, etc.)
- Providing emotional support to the families who have infants in the ISCUs
- Connecting families who are currently going through and have gone through the experience in the past with each other
- Providing community resource information to families
- Coordination of and help with memorial planning for families who lose their child(ren) while in the ISCU
Resources can be found on The Tangerine Owl Project website.
The Tangerine Owl Project is an active member in the prematurity community. Information about how to attend upcoming events and fundraisers can be easily found by visiting their website.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, you will find questions that are frequently asked about The Tangerine Owl Project. If you have a question about The Tangerine Owl Project, their mission, or want to know more, please feel free to contact Preemie Parent Alliance and we will make sure your question is answered promptly.
What kind of families do you work with?
The Tangerine Owl Project works with the most fragile of families – those who have experienced a premature birth.
What year were you established?
The Tangerine Owl Project was established in 2013
What is your organization classification?
The Tangerine Owl Project is a non-profit organization
What is the geographical reach of your organization?
The Tangerine Owl Project supports families in our local community as well as families within the state of Illinois.
Drop us a line anytime, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.