Mama, You're Enough
by Andra Liemandt
As the parent of two children born full-term and healthy, I was not fully aware of the challenges so many families face when their child is born early or with special healthcare needs until a friend’s child was born at 27 weeks gestation. Although they received a great deal of support from family and friends, it was still a very long and difficult journey.
Last year, I was introduced to the mission of Hand to Hold and it really resonated with me as well as the members of my band, The Mrs. Our debut single, “Enough”, had just been released and we were on a national tour that showcased our “magic” interactive mirror that asks women to describe how they feel about themselves and provides positive, encouraging feedback in response to their negative descriptions of themselves. Unfortunately, so many women feel inadequate. We don’t think we measure up to what society says we should be, or even our own expectations of what we think we should look like, or what we feel we should have accomplished in our lives. The Mrs. is on a mission to smash that narrative and help women know that they are Enough! We want to empower women through a message of self-acceptance.
In our first meeting, Kelli Kelley, Founder and Executive Director of Hand to Hold, shared with me the emotional response she had when she first heard our song, Enough. Read more.
NICU Heroes Awards Winners & Finalists Announced
Hand to Hold and Mead Johnson Nutrition are pleased to announce the two winners and four finalists for the 2015 NICU Heroes Award!
Aryan Azimi-Zonooz, MD, a neonatologist from St. Charles Bend Hospital in Bend, Oregon and Joann Thorpe, RNC, neonatal nurse at Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center in Redding, California were named the two winners this year.
Families from 21 U.S. states nominated neonatal nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals who helped make a difference for their preterm or medically fragile newborns. The finalists include the following:
* Shay Miller, RN, BSN, neonatal nurse at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama;
* Heather Laubmeier RN, BSN, neonatal nurse at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Arizona;
* Meredithe Mullen, BSN RNC, neonatal nurse at University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa;
* Cindy Enke, BSN, RNC, neonatal nurse at St. David’s Women’s Center of Texas in Austin, Texas.
Read more about each finalist in our two part blog series (part 1 and part 2). We congratulate them all and look forward to celebrating with our winners next month.
Thanks for Celebrating With Us
We are grateful to all the families, companies and community leaders who joined us Aug. 14 to celebrate Hand to Hold's Five-Year Birthday at the Dell Diamond. Two preemies even got to throw out the first pitch! See more photos.
Thanks to Our Five Year Birthday PartySponsors!
More Good Stuff
Techniques for Building Resilience in the NICU
Being a NICU parent is hard on your mental & emotional health. These resilience-building techniques shared by Educational Psychologist Cheryl A. Milford, Ed.S., will help parents through hospitalization and discharge.
How My Kids' Therapy Team Saved Me
"Early intervention therapy provided help, understanding and support not only for my children but also for me," shares NICU mom Summer Hill-Vinson. Though her children remember little of those days, looking back fills her heart with gratitude.
Five NICU-Friendly Tips to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Parijat Despande, mental health professional and mother of a 24-weeker, knows well the stress and anxiety that NICU parents go through. She offers five tips for discovering respite from the stress while a baby is in the NICU.
Learning the Language of Grief: Telling the Twinless Twin About Their Twin
To experience the grief of losing a child is heartbreaking, and it becomes more complex when you factor in how and when to tell a surviving twin brother. Kara Wahlin shares the struggles and peace she has made with grief and loss.
Daycare Dilemma: When Your Preemie Has a Developmental Delay
Finding a good daycare for your preemie with a developmental delay can be daunting, but it is possible. Beth Puskas explains what to do and not do to find the perfect daycare solution for your little one.
Connect With Us
Giving Day Challenge - Sept. 3
On Sept. 3, Hand to Hold will be launching a Giving Day Challenge – a day when your gift will go further. By participating, you can be a Superhero for NICU families and help ensure they have the resources and support they need to conquer every obstacle!
When you give on Sept. 3, Hand to Hold Superhero Andra Liemandt and her band The Mrs. will recognize your generosity and match your gift up to $25,000.
And there’s more! For the first 250 people to pledge a donation of $5/month or make a one-time gift of $35 or more to Hand to Hold on Sept. 3, The Boppy Company, LLC will pay it forward by donating a hospital-grade Boppy® HealthcarePillow and a carton of Boppy® Disposable Slipcovers to a NICU in need!
Watch for an email or social media post on Sept. 3 and help us do more for NICU and bereaved families.
To celebrate five years of tremendous impact in the NICU community, Hand to Hold's eNewsletter will feature a milestone that we have been able to accomplish thanks to support from our community locally and nationally. This month's feature is Life After NICU.
Finding a supportive community that understands the unique journey NICU and bereaved families face can be challenging. Hand to Hold offers an online parent support group, Life After NICU, so parents can share their joys and connect with others who have shared a similar birth experience. Our growing online community of 19,000 is moderated by social workers and provides a direct connection to professional and peer support.
Volunteer your time to write supportive notes to be given to families in the NICU now and to say thanks to NICU staff during special recognition months. Or virtually correspond with a family who has had an experience similar to yours by becoming a Helping Hand peer mentor. Whether you have a little or a lot of time, we have a spot for you to make a difference today. Get started.
Connect to Support on Your Schedule
A baby's NICU stay or loss can be a lonely and isolating experience. Let our experienced Family Support Navigators help you connect to information, resources and support to help make the journey easier for you. Send us a request to begin.
For Healthcare Providers
Hand to Hold offers resources exclusively for NICU health professionals. These include a selection of brochures, posters and postcards. Hand to Hold also offers its 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. Watch for our new online store, which is coming soon!
Read past eNewsletters.