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

About Rhiannon Giles

Rhiannon Giles is an overwhelmed mother who only occasionally considers giving her children to the circus. Her daughter, born in 2010, was a full term induction due to Cholestasis of Pregnancy. Because she likes a full range of experiences she went with partial abruption and severe Preeclampsia for her second pregnancy. Rowan was born in 2015 via an urgent c-section at 31 weeks and 5 days, and spent 40 days in the NICU. Rhiannon has a sarcasm problem and writes regularly at rhiyaya.com . To keep up with new posts and see some of her favorites, join her on Facebook. To read more about Rowan's story, head over to rowan.small.and.mighty.

The Journey to Ear Tubes

Prematurity is the gift that keeps on giving. Even if you were lucky enough to escape the NICU with no lingering complications, sometimes issues will crop up much later that leave you wondering if prematurity is rearing its ugly head again. For us, it has been hearing issues. Is it related to prematurity, genetics, or […]

Navigating the NICU When You Have Older Children at Home

Having a baby in the NICU is painful. There is a special, additional, layer of hell when you also have other children at home.

My daughter, Lorelei, had just turned five when her brother was born two months early. She lost her only child status in grand fashion.

There is no way to protect your older children from the situation completely, but there are ways to help them through. [Read more]

Emotional Gifts: Holding Virtual Space

I will never be able to adequately express my thanks for the outpouring of support that flooded over my family in the weeks before and after my son’s birth. I had a five year old at home, and was in the hospital for two weeks before my urgent c-section, and heading back and forth to the NICU for six weeks after. We needed all the help we could get.

Friends and family sent food, cleaned our house, arranged childcare. They generally took as much of the load from our shoulders as they could.

Sometimes people ask me what they can do for their loved ones in a similar situation. There are lots of practical answers beyond food deliveries, and I can rattle off a list from the top of my head.

When I was in the thick of it, there was one gift that surprised me in its emotional usefulness. [Read more]

(Not Quite) Silver Linings of an Extra Two Months

Two months. A lot can happen in two months; you could try and abandon a fad diet, your heart beats seven million times, and you take more than a million breaths. If you happen to be residing in utero you are busy with tasks like doubling your weight, learning to do your first headstand, and building the skills to survive in the outside world.

In the last two months of pregnancy I can make dozens of to-do lists: feed the freezer meal plans, what to pack in the hospital bag, birth plans A, B, and C, and the million tiny details that still need attention. Instead, I had a baby.

I didn’t have a list for that. [Read more]

Being Aware of Preeclampsia

With May being Preeclampsia Awareness Month, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of this dangerous disease.

What is preeclampsia?

From preeclampsia.org:

Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms.

It also accounts for 15% of all premature births in the United States. I know these facts because last May I sat in the hospital after having my son at 31 weeks of pregnancy. I remember thinking that I was painfully aware of preeclampsia. [Read more]