Episode 76: How One Mom’s Grief Moved Her to Action

Misti Staley, nicu babies parent support podcast

Misti Staley, NICU Mom, Founder of FreeArm

Content warning: In this episode we talk about death and dying.

Sometimes, families leave the hospital without their NICU baby. Misti Staley shares about the beautiful life of her son and how the challenges they encountered during his care inspired her to honor his memory after his passing. That outgrowth of generosity is now blessing NICUs and their families around the world.

In this episode, we chat about:

  • Freeman’s birth.
  • What devices/assistance came home with him and how did you adapt to those changes?
  • What is the Freearm and how did the idea of it come about? 
  • What were some of the challenges (design or otherwise) you encountered when designing and marketing it?
  • How do you think this device can honor Freeman’s memory?
  • What’s your best advice to a NICU mom who is stressed about the devices or assistance her baby is discharged with?

Misti’s son Freeman was born in 2015 after a healthy pregnancy, but after birth, Misti learned of his many medical complexities. Freeman spent 3.5 months in the NICU, was home for 5 weeks and then spent 5 long months in the PICU, before sadly losing his battle with pulmonary hypertension at 10 months old. After Freeman’s passing, Misti built Freeman Playground in Helena, Arkansas; an ADA playground with ramps and a poured in place rubber surface. Through all that Misti learned through Freeman’s tube feeding journey, Misti also created the FreeArm- a tube feeding device that holds gravity syringe feeds, pump feeds and infusions at the hospital home and on-the-go. Freeman’s legacy of love continues through Freeman Playground and the FreeArm.

Connect with Misti:

Facebook: facebook.com/freemanplayground

Facebook:  facebook.com/FreeArm

Instagram: @freearm.tube.feeding.assistant

LinkedIn: FreeArm

LinkedIn: Misti Staley

Learn more about FreeArm:


Find additional “fun” products to help your medically fragile child:


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The NICU is hard. We’re here to help.

Hand to Hold is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) parents with personalized emotional support, educational resources and community before, during and after their baby’s NICU stay. NICU support is available at no cost to NICU parents in English and Spanish.

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This page was last modified on Jul 19, 2023 @ 11:13 am. If you see any information that needs to be updated or corrected, please contact info@handtohold.org.