Little Monkey Sofia

SofiaAge: 5 months
Weight at Birth: 2lb 14oz
Weeks Gestation: 28
Time spent in the NICU: 72 days

My Preemie Power Story:

It took me three years, seven IVF’s and four miscarriages before the pregnancy that resulted in my baby girl. Even though it was emotionally, physically and financially very hard on me, I never gave up hope that my child was somewhere out there, but she hadn’t found her way to meet me yet. When I got pregnant and successfully went through my first trimester, I felt like my dream was finally coming true! Unfortunately, my water broke at 26 weeks, and I was hospitalized. My little girl Sofia was very anxious to meet me too, so she decided to come out at 28 weeks of gestational age. She had to fight through lots of health issues – breathing tube, brain hemorrhage, heart wasn’t fully closed, two blood transfusions, infection, jaundice, hemangioma…and the list went on. It broke my heart to see every day what Sofia had to go through. But every day when I saw her fighting for her life to get stronger and healthier, she filled me with hope and strength to believe everything would one day be okay. We spent 72 days in the NICU at St John’s Hospital, where I found a strength that I never knew existed. A single parent by choice, I was so grateful for the amazing team of doctors and nurses who helped me and emotionally supported me to go through this hard time. [Read more…]

Willow the Wonder

Willow ~ Super Hero Alias: Willow the Wonder

WillowAge: 3 months
Weight at birth: 3 lb 11 ozs
Weeks gestation: 34 weeks
Time in the NICU: 16 days

Why Should Your Child Be Recognized as Preemie of the Year?

After a 24 week still birth and a 6 week miscarriage, my husband and I believed that we would never be able to carry to full term. After the miscarriage bloodwork was ran on me and it was determined that I had APS – a clotting disorder – and Lupus. When we found out we were pregnant for a third time we were terrified – I had to take daily injections of Heparin just to keep Willow alive. At 34 weeks Willow came into this world via emergency C-Section because I had a severe case of pre-eclampsia. Willow spent 16 days in the NICU. My world has changed because of our 3 pounds miracle baby – Willow reminds me everyday what love is and how amazingly strong she is. She has taught us how to be thankful and has humbled us at the same time. Life is so precious and Willow has taught us that – she is an amazing little girl.

[Read more…]

J Baby

Juliahna ~ Super Hero Alias: J Baby

JuliahnaAge: 13 months
Weight at birth: 14 ozs
Weeks gestation: 25 weeks
Time in the NICU: 143 days

Diagnosis, surgeries, complications?

Underdeveloped bowels.
6 belly/bowel/intestine surgeries
1 heart surgery (PDA valve)
2 eye surgeries (ROP)

Second smallest to leave an Indiana NICU alive. Praise God!

Why Should Your Children Be Recognized as Preemies of the Year?

From the moment we found out we were expecting again (two miscarriages in 8 months) we knew Juliahna was our exception and God had plans bigger than we could dream of. Juliahna entered the world entirely too soon and had to fight for the first seven months of her life. There was never a guarantee she would survive. She fought day in and day out and never gave up. She only continued to show us her strength and God’s will. She endured several obstacles and 9 surgeries. She always smiled though, always! She was a fan favorite and many NICU doctors and nurses witnessed a true miracle with Juliahna. Even at birth, being as tiny as she was, she came out crying, swinging and ready to fight. She is now 13 months old- 12 pounds and has a personality way bigger than her body. She is the boss, always has been, and she is our hero. Her two older brothers adore her and she taught them a very valuable lesson so early on in life.

Using Three Or More Characteristics of a Super Hero, Please Describe Your Child

Determined- Juliahna doesn’t let her micro mini size hold her back. She moves and grooves like a healthy one year old should! We crawl and stand up on everything! She is determined to do what her brothers do!

Confident- Juliahna has no limits. She is adventurous and is confident with each new skill she develops. She shows her three therapists each week that she mastered the skill from the week before 🙂

Strong-willed- Having or capable of exerting power. Juliahna has always had a meaning/purpose. She has taught hundreds of people what it means to have faith and a strong will.

What advice do you have for future NICU parents?

Never give up on your faith and take one day, one second at a time. You will find strength that you never knew existed.

Busy Bees

Addilyn and Brooklyn W. ~ Super Hero Alias: Busy Bees

Addilyn and Brooklyn WAge: 13 months
Weight at birth: Addilyn ~2.1lbs & Brooklyn 1.15lbs
Weeks gestation: 26 weeks
Time in the NICU: Addilyn~112 days & Brooklyn~119 days

Diagnosis, surgeries, complications?

The girls had many complications. They were on the ventilator for 5 weeks, and had numerous blood transfusions. Addilyn was on an accilator on and off for the first four weeks. It’s a high frequency ventilator giving 600 breaths a minute. Brooklyn went on for about 5 days while they were on the accilator; they had to be completely paralyzed. Both had PDA ligations, both had ROP surgery, and both were on oxygen for the FIRST year of life, 12 months! Addilyn developed VAP and had line blood staff infections, the VAP was caused from the ventilator and the line infections were caused from the all the medication lines, central line, arterial line etc. Addilyn also suffered from 2 brain bleeds, she had 1 in the right ventricle and surrounding tissue calling it a grade 4 and another at her cerebellum which showed damage when they began to reabsorb. We were told she may never walk, but today they are both ready to walk and enjoying all that life has to offer! Loving every minute, and each minute that passes is a precious one!

Why Should Your Children Be Recognized as Preemies of the Year?

Our story begins far before the NICU days. We fought infertility for five years and 2 horrible miscarriages. We pursued with IVF and were pregnant with twins on the first try. I had a rough pregnancy, Addilyn and Brooklyn beat all odds, beginning from when I (mother) went into labor at 22 weeks and we were told there was no hope for survival; we were to hold our babies until they took their last breath. After 4 tough weeks of bed rest, dilated to 6cm with a foot and a bulging bag, I delivered two of the most beautiful, strong and courageous little girls. Then to fight through the NICU, Addilyn was 15 days old when the doctor sat us aside and said there was nothing more he could do and they would be turning the ventilator off, miraculously within hours her condition began to change. I believe all children and families are deserving of the “Preemie of the Year” award, we have all come along way and we all have unique stories to tell.

Using Three Or More Characteristics of a Super Hero, Please Describe Your Child


What advice do you have for future NICU parents?

Be involved in your child’s care plan, know and understand what your child is being treated for and why. You have just as much say and advocate for the them.

Postpartum Progress

Postpartum ProgressMothers who have had a difficult pregnancy, traumatic birth, a baby in the NICU or a loss experience know firsthand the complex “roller coaster” of emotions, anxiety, stress, trauma and grief. While these are natural response to extraordinary circumstances, it is all too common for some mothers to suffer from lingering mental health issues postpartum. As May is “Maternal Mental Health” month, we are pleased to feature nonprofit support organization Postpartum Progress® that is doing so much to raise awareness of postpartum mental health and the support that is available to all mothers.

Postpartum Progress® is the world’s most widely-read blog on postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth, including:

  • postpartum anxiety,
  • postpartum OCD,
  • depression during pregnancy (antenatal depression),
  • post-adoption depression,
  • postpartum PTSD,
  • depression after miscarriage or perinatal loss and
  • postpartum psychosis.

Postpartum Progress® focuses on positive messages of empowerment and recovery, because they believe PPD and other disorders are temporary and treatable with professional help.

Katherine Stone

Katherine Stone

Postpartum Progress® was founded in 2004 by Katherine Stone after a devastating bout of postpartum depression following the birth of her first child. Katherine Stone is now a nationally-recognized advocate for woman and her award-winning blog consistently ranks as one of the top sites for information and support for woman on the subjects of depression and pregnancy/childbirth. The site offers original articles written by Katherine Stone and her expert contributors, guidance on the symptoms of depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after childbirth, how to get help, support from other mothers and daily hope and inspiration for mothers who are trying to navigate through the daily challenges of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Hand to Hold asked Katherine Stone what she felt was the importance of highlighting maternal mental health:

She shares, “I’m so grateful people are recognizing the importance of the emotional health of new mothers in May via Maternal Mental Health Month. I’m hoping it really catches on, because a mom’s mental health is crucial for the health and future success of her new family. The more we talk about this, the more new mother’s will know if they need help and where to get it.”

On Mobile, view her video “One Thing You Should Know About Post Partum Depression