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Family Journeys

Hand to Hold wants you to know that you are not alone. We are a community of families whose babies were born prematurely or who spent time in the NICU. Read about other families with preemies and children with special health care needs. Get connected and be inspired. www.handtohold.org

Jessica Bensten shares her journey raising her two children, a cancer survivor and a 24-week micropreemie.

From across the pond, meet Edie, a micro-preemie born at 24 weeks, with her first year lovingly documented by her dad in 92 captioned photos. Beautiful tribute.

Enjoy this photo album of famous parents with premature babies from WhattoExpect.com This is Melissa Gilbert and her son who was born at 28 weeks.

Proud parents Ashley Brooke Brown and Shawn Spruce with their New Year's Baby, Celeste Shawna Spruce who was born 9-1/2 weeks preterm due to preeclampsia. Dad writes, "The entire staff at Mission Hospital has been wonderful along with our primary care doctors at Smokey Mountain OB and of course the great people at Cherokee Indian Hospital. I’d also personally like to thank the entire community of Cherokee, North Carolina...Brooke and I now look forward to raising a strong Native woman who will represent her Eastern Band people here and the Laguna Pueblo, where I am from, with dignity, self-respect, and character."

A beautiful poem "The Audacity to Share" about the pain and fear of sharing publicly about a child's ongoing premature journey. Some don't understand & say the wrong thing *and* how wonderful it is when we are able to connect to fellow NICU families who understand exactly what we are going through.

Primed - a beautiful piece adapted from her memoir about a day in the life on the NICU rollercoaster by NICU mom Kate Hopper as featured on Mamalode.

25 Practical Tips About the Horrors of Raising Twins That You Will Never Learn From Movies and TV

Tatum, mom of a 24-weeker and 34-weeker, shares the challenges of parenting two young children, and how play therapy helped her older son more constructively manage his feelings. Sibling care is such a big issue for many NICU families.

Learning to Be an Effective Early Intervention Parent by Melissa Haber - Part of being an effective advocate for your child is choosing the right caregiver and taking action when it's not working out. Read about one mama's journey about how she learned to advocate for her child receiving care through early childhood intervention (ECI). www,preemiebabies...

Loving Away the Challenges by Kathryn Whitaker - "My love is enough. I cannot fix all of Luke’s challenges, I cannot wish the bad days away, but I can love. I’m his mom. I gave birth to him and no one on this planet knows him better than I do. My love IS enough." For more like this visit preemiebabies101.com and handtohold.org

Riding the NICU Roller Coaster, Times Three by Keira Sorrells - "Imagine being on two roller coasters at the same time or three, four or even more. As one roller coaster steadily climbs the hills, the other may dip suddenly while yet another slings you to the left. Such is the NICU life for a parent of premature multiples." - for more like this visit www.preemiebabies...

For the Love of Babies 2013 - More than 500,000 babies are born preterm each year. While there have been remarkable advancements in delivering medical care, many families find themselves feeling very much alone and overwhelmed during their child's NICU stay and sometimes for months and years afterwards. For the Love of Babies, help us deliver family-centered resources and education to families in the NICU and beyond. www.handtohold.org

Scars and Memories by Rob Berry - "What takes me back? Sometimes it is just a moment of quiet reflection. Sometimes it is a picture I stumble across on my iPhone or a conversation with a friend or family member I haven't seen for a while. Recently it has been the physical scars left on our daughter's body that take me back. They are a very real reminder of just how perilous and uncertain her early days were." For more like this visit www.papasofpreemi...

NICU Advocacy Through Social Media by Joel Brens of www.papasofpreemi... - "It wasn’t until after Jayden came home that my uncertainty began to manifest itself. The question that consistently ran through my mind was 'Am I cut out for caring for this child?' I needed to connect with others to feel like I wasn’t alone. Seeing the success of other support groups and wanting that for dads like me, I created Papas of Preemies to connect with other dads and shed light on our journey."

Using the Internet To Heal From a NICU Stay by Elaine Jones - A Story about the creation of www.babieswithnec... - "When Caitlyn passed away at twelve-days-old our world shattered. Lost, alone, angry, broken and a feeling of being hollow was all I felt... However it wasn’t too long before I believed it was Caitlyn’s wish for us to create our website – a place to share our story and help others by doing so."

Blogging, Raising Funds, Giving Gifts, Mentoring: How Can You Give Back to the NICU? By Samantha Pridgen