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SUPPORTER UPDATE - AUGUST 2012

Off to School, Not Off My Mind

Jackson's First Day of SchoolAs usual, summer is passing by quickly. There must be something about the combination of bare feet, fresh cut grass, burgers on the grill and chlorine that speeds up time. Those Back to School shopping commercials have already started and those upbeat tweens comparing sneakers and picking out their cool new school supplies make me hyperventilate. 

This year may have me breathing into a paper bag as we prepare for our oldest son to enter middle school. He is ready! I on the other hand am steadying myself to watch him board the bus for the first time to a school outside our neighborhood.

know anxiety related to our child’s school experience is not exclusive to NICU graduate parents, but many of us do face additional stressors. We grapple with issues from finding trendy school clothes with the “just right” fit and feel for our kids with Sensory Integration Disorder to determining the appropriate dosage and administration schedule for ADHD and other medications. For many parents of preemies and kids born with special healthcare needs, going back to school entails much more than purchasing a new backpack and lunch box.

Many of us lose sleep over how our kids will be accepted by their new teachers and their peers. For parents of kids with learning or behavioral challenges we know that the right teacher can mean the difference between a good year and a year filled with tears and frustration. Since my kids first entered school I have worried if they were ready to meet the challenges of each academic year. Some challenges come with each new year but also amazing accomplishments, and our children handle it all in stride.

As we prepare for the kick-off of our Preemie Power Campaign this year, I am reminded of how our NICU graduates continue to overcome obstacles and defy tremendous challenges. As their parents, it is our job to provide them with every opportunity for success. From advocating with teachers to ensuring our kids continue to receive needed therapies, tutoring and medical check-ups, we can make sure they have every chance to soar in school, at home and everywhere in-between.

I hope you will join us on Friday, August 24 for Hand to Hold’s Preemie Power Family Celebration  as we celebrate the amazing super hero qualities of all our children. Enjoy the remaining days of summer!

With Appreciation,

Kelli Kelley 
Kelli D. Kelley
Founder and Executive Director

More Good Stuff

Get Ready for Third Annual Preemie Power Family Celebration

2012 Preemie Power Family CelebrationAll preemie families and the people and providers who love them are invited to attend the Third Annual Preemie Power Family Celebration to honor all our NICU super heroes. The free party will be held Friday, August 24, 2012 at 5 pm at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas.

Meet the Provider: What Does a NICU Social Worker Do? 

Cook Children's NICU - Main

Family Support Navigator Erika Goyer interviews Marisa McFadin, LMSW, a NICU social worker at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Marisa describes the role that social workers play to assist babies in the NICU and their families and her hospital's emphasis on family-centered care.

Meet Lisa Ruley and Her NICU Grad, Sloane

Ruley FamilyHelping Hand Peer Mentor Lisa Ruley describes the familiar kinship of a NICU experience and why she decided to get involved to support other families new to the experience. Her daughter Sloane, now 5, was born at term and faced complications that landed her in the NICU with more equipment and tubes than most of the babies there who were smaller than she was. 

We're a Family Now: Setting Sibling Expectations

Whitaker Family in the NICUFamily Support Navigator Laura Romero explains ways to set expectations for siblings who will be welcoming a new preemie baby brother or sister to the family.

What's Hot on the Blog, PreemieBabies101

PreemieBabies101 Blog{Professional Insight} Finding the Right Pediatrician for Your Preemie

Author, speaker and pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown shares her best advice for finding the right pediatrician for your preemie.

Have Preemie, Will Travel (Eventually)

Melissa Haber shares her best tips, along with her own life experience, for travelling with a preemie.

Flower and Butterflies: A Memorial for Our Preemie 

Elaine Jones poignantly shares how the spring and summer seasons allow her to remember and honor her daughter Caitlyn.

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Calendar

Preemie Power LogoAugust 24 - Preemie Power Family Celebration - Bring your family to the United Heritage Center at the Dell Diamond for a fun celebration at 5pm. Enjoy free, fun activities for the kids, a ballpark buffet dinner, and stay for the Round Rock Express game and fireworks afterwards. RSVP today! 

August 24 - Lunch & Learn - A monthly, free educational program for parents and healthcare providers. The August session will explore "Making the Transition from ECI: Finding the Right Preschool Setting for Your Child." 

August 18 - Sibling Sundaes, a fun educational program for siblings with a brother or sister in the NICU, will be held at St. David's North Austin Medical Center, 2-3 p.m.

NICU Support Group - Monthly support groups are held at St. David's Medical Center & St. David's North Austin Medical Center. August dates are coming soon.

Mondays, 9-1pm - Volunteer to provide NICU respite at the Ronald McDonald Room at North Austin Medical Center or at the new Ronald McDonald Room at St. David's Medical Center. 

Preemie Power Super Heroes

Oli GatorMeet Oli Gator who was born at 29 weeks and weighed just 2 lbs 15 oz. Now nearly three, his mom writes, "From the moment Oli came into the world, he was a fighter. Even after suffering a major case of NEC and having most of his large intestine removed he did not slow down. We joke and say that he has not slowed down since." Be inspired by more Preemie Power Super Heroes.

Thanks to Our Superior Strength Preemie Power Sponsors!

Enfamil

St. David's Healthcare

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Past Issues

Read more Hand to Hold Supporter Updates.

   About Hand to Hold
Hand to Hold logoHand to Hold is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing comprehensive navigation resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special health care needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications. 

Hand to Hold - www.handtohold.org - 855-H2H-NICU

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