Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Amy’s Story

This story was thoughtfully submitted by Amy, one of our readers.

Derek William – born at 30 weeks, after my water broke at 26 weeks.
Born at 2lbs, 14-1/2 inches, on August 14th, 2010.

Derek was transported to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (where we live) where he would spend 154 days in the incredible NICU. He had 15 blood transfusions, 4 platelet transfusions, 3 operations (2 major & 1 minor), was on O2 off & on and placed on vent 4 times, the oscillator once after he almost passed when his lungs went stiff. While given the steroid for his lungs they gave him a dose of fentanyl which caused his heart to stop & required CPR – he was 1 hour from being placed on life support. We almost lost Derek 3 times, w/o doubt there’s plenty more bad that happened, but he is the strongest fighter I know and he has made me appreciate life more than ever!!
He was well enough to come home 2 months after his reversal surgery that took 7cm of his small intestines due to NEC.

He’s been home since Jan 5th 2011 (just hit 2mths) & he’s made great improvements-he’s just amazing.

Nothing short of a Miracle!! I Love my little Pumpkin! (I call him this because he was due in Oct)

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. Its amazing how these lil guys are SO strong, how much of a will they have to live even though they do not know life, how hard they fight through all the obstacles that are tossed in their way and they still come out victorious. Some go through so much more then others, and they seem to treat it like its the easiest thing. They are amazing human beings along with the mothers who never gave up. Im so glad your son has done so well through all hes been through. It most definitely makes you appreciate them, their lives, and life in general SO much more! my son was born at 26 weeks and 6 days (8/27/09) and has fought every step of the way to be here today. I wish you and your family the best. Enjoy your miracle!

    • Thank you Robin!
      It sure is amazing to see someone so little who knows not what life is to fight so hard.
      I dont and Im sure all or most mommys and daddys of preemies dont take a single second for granted. Im glad to see your son is doing well and bout to celebrate a much deserved 2nd birthday!! 😀 Happy birthday early! I thank you for your kind words and wish you nothing but the best as well.Enjoy that sweet miracle of yours!

  2. caroline burgess says:

    My grandson is in NICU at Mott hosp ann arbor MI he had Nec, we believe God is taking us thru. He was born 24 weeks 4days on 1-23-11, The doctors closed him up and in 6 weeks they will reconnect his intestines. God is so awesome and these little boys are strong fighters, I will pray for your Derek, please pray for Jason Christopher..thanks carol

    • Thank you Carol. Im glad to hear your grandson is doing well. They sure are fighters,they are simply amazing true gifts from God! I will Pray for Jason Christopher,praying that his surgery goes well..please keep me updated. GodBless 🙂

  3. Peek-a-boo ICU says:

    Yay! I am so happy your story was shared! 🙂

  4. RES-Q Wedge Infant Pillow says:


  5. Katherine says:

    Sincerely happy for you. I had a 28 week preemie and he was one of the very few that had no problems, but stayed in nicu for 6 weeks and 2 days to gain enough weight to come home. He weighed 3 punds 4.2 ounces at birth but lost down to 2.10…. I know he is lucky, but I was so scared and worried for his whole first year. I can only imagine what you went through and having a preemie does make us appreciate not only our baby but life as a whole. I am happy that God let you keep what he had given you. Keeping smiling and know that it is a rollercoaster ride that us preemie Moms are on, but we are not alone. 🙂 GOD bless you and your family

    • Thank you Katherine!
      Thats great your son had no health issues and was able to go home thats really fantastic. All thought being in the NICU 5mths with DERek,every moment was worth it..cause I got to bring him home and thats what I want more than anything,for him to be well enought to come home and live a happy healthy as possible life.GOD IS GREAT!!! Thank you for all the kind words. God Bless


  7. The pics posted in my story..1st one is of Derek after his first surgery,he was 6weeks old.

    2nd pic of Derek was the day after his birth,and my first time holding him. Such a amazing feeling.

    3 & 4th pic is Derek at 6mths(3mths adj) and 7mths is the last pic.

  8. This preemie world opened up to me today, with my step daughter’s baby girl being born at approx. 30 weeks. I want to help the family as much as possible with support groups, what to expect, etc. I don’t know how her health is, except that she had good color when she was born. Any advice? What to avoid, what to be sure to do? Thanks in advance.

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