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

About Kelli Kelley

Founder, Hand to Hold - Kelli D. Kelley (TX) is the mother of two preemies – Jackson born at 24 weeks in 2000 and Lauren born at 34 weeks in 2003. She is the founder of Hand to Hold, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated providing support and navigation resources to families who had a preemie, who had a child in the NICU or with a special healthcare need, or who experienced loss. She has experienced the emotional fallout and isolation that having preemies often causes. As a direct result, Kelli has dedicated her life to offering hope and sanctuary to all parents who have had similar journeys. Contact her via email.

The Hug I Had Been Waiting For

When my son was about a week old, a very patient and wise NICU nurse encouraged me to change my son’s diaper for the first time. I will never forget how my hands shook as we maneuvered wires to delicately dab his tiny bottom with a cotton ball. I have no doubt she could have completed the task in less than a minute, but she took the extra ten minutes to help me have that important bonding experience with my son. It was the first time I truly took part in his daily care. And in many ways, it was our first bonding experience. The hug I had been waiting for. [Read more]

How a Bump on the Head Led to a Great Idea: The NICU Now Podcast is Here!

A recent article in The Times theorized that if English philosopher, political economist and civil servant John Stuart Mill were around today, “his father would have dosed him not with Thucydides and Plato, but with podcasts.”1 Why? Because while the rest of the internet entertains with cat videos and fake news, the podcast is “unashamedly, almost […]

The Value of Giving

On a cold day in December in the early eighties, my dad saw a man walking down the highway carrying an old sewing machine. My dad stopped and offered the man a ride. As the miles passed, the man shared that he had taken his late wife’s sewing machine into town for repairs because he needed to mend his young son’s clothes. It was apparent the man was facing some very difficult times. [Read more]

Bearing Witness to Pain After a Trauma

Many people have strong reactions to and opinions about being told, “everything happens for a reason.” I recently read an article that equated these words to “nothing less than emotional, spiritual and psychological violence.”

I know while my son was clinging to life in the NICU I would not have wanted anyone to tell me his early birth held deeper philosophical meaning that would make me a better person. But I also can’t deny the fact that 16 years later, my life has been transformed in ways I could never of imagined. [Read more]

Can You Hear Us? Hand to Hold’s Podcast Campaign Starts Today!

Today we are launching an important two-week campaign to fund our innovative support-based PODCAST for NICU families! Our podcast will eliminate the many physical and emotional barriers parents face in accessing and receiving support. Read more to find out why this endeavor is a valuable addition to the family-friendly support programs Hand to Hold offers.

For weeks after my son’s preterm birth at 24 weeks gestation, I sat by his bedside and desperately tried to see past the tubes and wires that engulfed his tiny body. I could barely see his face because of the respirator tube and tape used to hold it in place. I was told I needed to bond with my baby. But how was I supposed to bond with a baby I could not hold, feed or bathe? I knew the possible implications of allowing myself to bond with a baby that may not survive. [Read more]