Christine started as a Hand to Hold peer mentor in 2015 and then Family Support Specialist at St David’s Medical Center, Austin a year later. In 2018, she became a certified Mental Health Peer Specialist, and has completed additional training with Postpartum Support International and Seleni on maternal mental health, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and perinatal loss. As Program Manager since 2020, her responsibilities include overseeing the team of Family Support Specialists in hospitals across Texas and Hand to Hold’s activities in our partner hospitals.
Christine and her husband had two very different but challenging experiences in the NICU.Their first baby, a preemie daughter was born at 28 weeks with severe IUGR. After six weeks in the NICU, she passed away due to complications following two diagnoses of NEC. In spite of carefully managed subsequent pregnancies, these did not go to plan either.Their second child was born at 37 weeks, and their third pregnancy also ended with a delivery just before term. Diagnosed with a heart defect the day after birth, their son required lifesaving, corrective surgery a few days later. Fortunately, the outcome was very different to their first NICU stay and they were able to take their son home after two weeks.
Christine understands the challenges parents may face when they arrive in the NICU and are overwhelmed by their new environment and learning how to bond with and care for their baby. She also helps them understand that even a short term NICU stay can have a huge impact on a person’s emotional and mental wellbeing. She encourages parents to advocate for themselves and their baby, especially when there are language and cultural challenges, as well as to take the time to care for themselves throughout their stay and beyond.
Christine is proud of her cross-cultural identity and extensive travel experiences, and loves parents to share the individual or family traditions and beliefs that they want to share with their baby. She speaks English, Spanish and some French.
Christine ha tenido la experiencia de dos situaciones difíciles relacionadas con la UCIN (NICU): la pérdida de su hija 45 días después de su nacimiento, y posteriormente la estancia de su hijo 10 días en la NICU después de una intervención para corregir una coartación de la aorta.
Gracias a estas experiencias, Christine tiene una extraordinaria preparación como soporte de los padres que atraviesan el angustioso proceso de un bebé en la NICU.