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

About Andrea Mullenmeister

Andrea Mullenmeister (MN) is a stay-at-home-mom for a little adventurer. Jaxson decided to meet the family while they were on vacation! After a terrifying helicopter ride, Jax was born at 23 weeks 3 days weighing 1lb 8oz. He suffered from severe ROP, humongous inguinal hernias, Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia and severe hyspospadias. After 93 days in the NICU, Jax came home. He is a happy and mostly healthy toddler with only minor issues. Andrea volunteers on a parent advisory council for "Jax's" NICU and shares their story to give other parents hope. She writes about the life of her micropreemie at An Early Start. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

{Book Review} Peanut: A Storybook for Mighty Preemie Babies

Sometimes preemie parents take their traumatic NICU experiences and turn them into something positive. Preemie mom, Lindsay Nolan, is one of these parents.

Lindsay never expected to become a preemie parent. “I come from a family of nine girls,” said Lindsay, “so I figured if my mother could handle pregnancy that many times, my first pregnancy would hopefully go nice and smooth.”

Unfortunately, Lindsay developed preeclampsia early in her pregnancy and her son Henry arrived at 32 weeks gestation weighing 2 pounds 15 ounces. He quickly dropped to 2 pounds, 5 ounces.

“My NICU experience had its ups and downs.” said Nolan. “I was so in love with my child. It was rare that I left the hospital in the two months I was there, only to grab a few necessities from home and return.”

To cope with the stress of having her only child in the hospital, Lindsay began writing a “love story” to her preemie son. “It was my way of documenting what happened for when he was older.” Eventually, the private love story transformed into a way to offer other preemie parents hope. [Read more]

Finding Hope in the NICU: National Doctors’ Day

On March 30, National Doctors’ Day, physicians across the country are recognized for their work. I always had an appreciation for doctors and their ability to see the big picture as well as the important details, but I never knew how much a doctor could change my life until my son was born four months early.

It was 11 o’clock at night when I first met my son’s neonatologist. When he approached us, I bombarded him with questions. Worry and anxiety spewed from my mouth and heart with an intensity that intimidated even me.

As I questioned the doctor, I peered through the plastic walls of the isolette at the smallest baby I had ever seen. [Read more]

Birth Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

It’s been three years since my son, Jaxson, was born more than four months early and I still relive the experience, scene for scene, when I see or hear a helicopter.

I am there. I feel the rumble of the helicopter blades. I smell the humid July air. I taste the fear in my throat when they tell me there is a chance I will deliver my baby while in flight to the hospital. I feel my blood turn to liquid lava the second the magnesium hits my bloodstream.

These flashbacks leave me gasping for air and disoriented. [Read more]

Transitioning From Early Intervention to Special Education Preschool

I never believed people when they said that time flies – until I had a child that taught me just how precious time really is. [Read more]

Can You Hear Me Now? Preemies and Ear Tubes

Jaxson, my micropreemie born at 23 weeks, passed his hearing test before he was discharged from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I thought we were in the clear with hearing issues, but then Jaxson started getting recurring ear infections and fluid build-up in his ear canals. The constant fluid in his ears was causing a […]