Hand to Hold

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Expecting a Bright Future for NICU Families

Baby Shower CupcakesFor many years following the preterm birth of my son, I dreaded attending baby showers.  While I was happy for my friends and wanted to play my part in helping them celebrate the approaching arrival of their child, I was invariably besieged with resentment, anger and guilt.  It was incredibly difficult to eat cupcakes and smile as the expecting mom patted her beautiful round belly while talking about her birth plan and complaining about her swollen ankles.

I felt like a fake, a phony, and a bad friend.  I wanted to laugh out loud about their birth plan. I wanted to yell at the guests who chirped about their hours of labor and eight pound babies! I wanted to admonish them for neglecting to realize that many moms don’t get to experience the joy of a full term pregnancy. Didn’t they know that instead of selecting items for a baby registry, I sat by my baby’s incubator and willed him to breathe and that I waited months for him to wear a onesie?

After meeting thousands of NICU graduate moms across the country, I have learned that my emotions were not unique. It took me many years to work through my negative reaction to pastel colored invitations that seemed to arrive weekly in my mailbox. But, I am happy to report that the most recent baby shower I attended was a blissful experience -- due in part to the fact we were celebrating the very healthy full-term pregnancy of a former NICU mom.

At Hand to Hold, we are expecting a bright future for NICU families.  From our national peer-to-peer support program to our innovative NICU Resource Library, NICU Graduate Handbook, comprehensive website, and compassionate bereavement program, we are dedicated to providing critical support, education and resources to ensure best outcomes for the most vulnerable families.

Baby Shower AdTo celebrate (and to prove my emotional growth), Hand to Hold will be hosting a Baby Shower-themed luncheon on Friday, November 14, 2014, from 11 am to 1:30 pm in Austin, Texas, to raise funds in support of our mission.  We invite you to join us for an afternoon of bubbles and games, a delicious lunch and an inspirational message from nationally recognized speaker and author, Kristin Armstrong, who will share reflections on the magnitude and meaning of motherhood.

Tickets are on sale now.  If you are unable to join us, please consider purchasing a gift from our gift registry.  Gifts can be made in honor or memory of a special child in your life and will help ensure all NICU families have a Hand to Hold following preterm birth, a newborn's NICU stay or the loss of a baby. I hope you will join us for this joyous occasion!

With Appreciation,

Kelli Kelley Signature 
Kelli D. Kelley
Founder and Executive Director

More Good Stuff

What Does That Mean?: Reading Your Baby's Cues

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A Look Behind the Scenes of High-Risk Followup

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Sensory Processing Disorder in Toddlers

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Going Back to the Scene of a Trauma: Finding Closure and Healing

helipadHaving a baby in the NICU can be traumatic, but going back and finding closure can be a very important step in healing. NICU Mom Andrea Mullenmeister shares how she made peace with her son's traumatic birth which occurred unexpectedly while her family was on vacation. 

The Power of a Smile

SmileA smile is a simple thing, until it's not. Beth Puskas shares her child's journey through the NICU and the cleft lip and palate repair process.

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NICU Hero Award Winners To Be Announced Soon!

Thanks to those of you who nominated your favorite neonatal health providers for a NICU Heroes Award! The judges have marvelled at every heroic story. Winners will be announced July 29, 2014. Stay tuned and read more at handtohold.org/hero.

Become a Helping Hand Peer Mentor

Mom holding a preemieVolunteer to support a family like yours. Become a Helping Hand peer mentor and use your experience to help a fellow NICU parent. Sign up for our online training and our Family Support Navigators will guide you through the process.

Chat With Healthcare Experts Each Month

Julie WahrenbergerWatch for our next Facebook Chat "Ask a NICU Nurse" with Nurse Trish from NICU Central. Or read the transcript from last month's chat with Speech Language Pathologist Julie Wahrenberger of Spring Branch Speech Therapy who answered questions about how to overcome feeding obstacles with your preemie. If you have a topic or speaker you'd like to suggest, contact Angie Bickford.

Donor Spotlight: Enterprise Holdings

NICU Graduate Parent Rozanna Thomas of Enterprise Holdings presents a $1,000 Foundation Grant to Hand to Hold founder, Kelli Kelley. Rozanna was touched by the mission of Hand to Hold following the preterm birth of her son in October of 2013. We are grateful for your gift!

Rozanna Thomas and Kelli Kelley

Thanks for Your Support


For Healthcare Providers

MilesHand to Hold offers two resources exclusively for NICU health professionals. First is Hand to Hold's NICU Resource Library, a collection of educational materials available by subscription for NICU families in English and Spanish. Endorsed by the National Perinatal Association, these materials complement 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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