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

About Bea Smith

As a nurse, Bea Smith (TX) found the roles reversed when her son was born with a congenital condition, imperforate anus (IA); he had no anus. He had surgery at two days old, spent a week in the NICU and has had three more surgeries to create an anus and to correct his spine. Diagnosed with VACTERL, an association of conditions, he also has kidney/bladder problems and had a tethered spinal cord. Bea is the mother of two daughters in addition to her son. She is adjusting to her role as a rookie special needs mom, balancing family, friends and work with a little humor and a lot of faith, chronicling it all on Caring Bridge.

Is Your Grandchild in the NICU? Here’s How You Can Help

One of the hardest moments I experienced after the birth of my son was telling my parents that he was in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).  I will never forget the pain in their eyes. The birth of a premature or sick baby is not merely stressful or difficult, it is traumatic. Suddenly you […]

Parenting Both a “Normal” and Special Needs Child

For me, the hardest thing about being a parent to a special needs child is watching Caleb, our son who was born with VACTERL, go through what he has gone through: a NICU stay, four surgeries, numerous hospitalizations and ER visits, countless specialist appointments, lab draws, radiology tests, daily medications and treatments, therapy, etc.  All […]

10 Tips for Your Baby’s Colostomy Care

Colostomy care.  Not exactly covered in any parenting class.  My son Caleb was born with VACTERL and required a colostomy at two days old.  He had his reversal at nine months old.  These are the tips and tricks I learned about colostomy care and bag changes.  Always discuss any change to your recommended or prescribed […]

Finding Healing Through Giving Back to the Ronald McDonald House

Our son Caleb was born with a rare, not well understood condition called VACTERL association.  The rarity and severity of his condition pushed us to go to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for his medical care – over 1,000 miles from home.  We have traveled to Cincinnati four times in the past year-twice for consultations and tests, […]

Organization 101 for the Medically Complex Child

Truth be told, I have always been very organized. A useful skill after my son Caleb was born with VACTERL association as it helped us to better navigate his seemingly endless specialist visits, therapy, hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, and insurance. Read on for my best organization tips. [Read more]