Hand to Hold

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No Guilt in Making Time to Rest and Recharge

Kelli with kids on swingsRaising Hand to Hold from infancy has proven to have many similarities to my family’s NICU journey. While the experience of birthing a non-profit has taught me that I am much stronger and more resilient than I ever thought possible, the day to day challenges can seem insurmountable at times, and the emotional and physical demands can quickly take their toll.

While I am excited to take a short vacation with my family this month, I feel guilty for stepping away from my responsibilities and commitments – similar feelings to those I experienced when I took breaks from holding vigil at my son’s bedside years ago. From doctors to nurses, family and friends, everyone encouraged me to leave the NICU for short breaks to rest and recharge. But the fear of not being there should something go wrong and the anxiety of missing an opportunity to hold my tiny baby or change his diaper kept me riveted to that hard, straight-back stool at his bedside.

The instructions flight attendants always tell us “Please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others” is important even in non-emergency situations! When I would allow myself to leave the NICU for lunch with a friend or sneak in a nap before heading back to the NICU for an evening feeding, I would feel more hopeful and in turn – less stressed and overwhelmed.

On those rare occasions that I enjoyed a break from the NICU, I knew my son Jackson and later my daughter Lauren were being loved and cared for by their amazing NICU teams. And I am certain Hand to Hold will continue to thrive in my absence because of the amazing staff that dedicates their time and talents to advancing our mission to assist more NICU families every day.

Not only am I looking forward to stepping away from technology, plugging into my family and catching the glimpse of some beautiful sunsets (and hopefully very few sunrises), but also I am excited to experience a renewed passion for advancing our agenda to create more support and education for NICU families like my own, which always follows a much needed break. Self-care really does make a difference and not just in the NICU.

My best wishes to you this summer. From enjoying delicious dinners with your friends and watching your children frolic in the summer sun to long evening strolls with your special someone, I hope you find many opportunities to rest and recharge!

Have a wonderful summer,

Kelli Kelley Signature 
Kelli D. Kelley
Founder and Executive Director

*some limitations apply

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Stay Informed

FB Chat: Turning Your Everyday into Speech & Language Play  

JediHand to Hold will hold a Facebook Chat on its Facebook Wall on July 30, from 11:30-12:30 CT featuring Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist Lisa Rukovena, MA, CCC-SLP of RiverKids Pediatric Home Health. She will answer questions and share tips to make the most of play to help advance your child's speech and language skills. Read more.

Support a Fellow NICU Family

Hands of supportHelping Hand Peer Mentor - Volunteer to support a fellow NICU family no matter where you live. Receive your training online.

NICU Heroes to Be Announced Later This Month!

NICU Heroes Award

Thank you, NICU parents and neonatal health professionals, for submitting your inspiring stories about your NICU experiences together. Each nomination is currently being evaluated by a panel of NICU parents and NICU professionals. The winner will be announced July 29, 2013. The award program is sponsored jointly by Hand to Hold and Mead Johnson Nutrition.

Thanks to Our Superior Strength Preemie Power Sponsors!


St. David's Healthcare

Preemie Power Super Heroes

DallasMeet Dallas the Invincible, who was born at 21 weeks and spent 287 days in the NICU. Now almost 2, her mom shares: "This past year she has made HUGE strides with her progress, developmentally. We have been told that she would be a vegetable, she would never eat by mouth, never do ANYTHING... Within these past few months she has begun to eat whole jars of baby food multiple times a day. She plays with her older brother, and is now starting to sit on her own." Be inspired by more Preemie Power Super Heroes.

For Healthcare Providers

MilesHand to Hold offers two resources exclusively for NICU health professionals. Hand to Hold's NICU Resource Library, a collection of meticulously-sourced, health literacy compliant articles are available for immediate download in English and Spanish. Designed to grow, this subscription-based service complements hospital-based Family-Centered Care practices. We also offer brochures, posters, newsletters and fliers to help healthcare professionals connect families to the free support Hand to Hold offers. 

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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