Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents
Summer Hill-Vinson

About Summer Hill-Vinson

Summer (MS) delivered her son 14 weeks early in July 2010 as a result of preterm labor, and he was in the NICU for 3 months. She unexpectedly developed severe preeclampsia with her daughter, almost had her in another state while on vacation, and delivered her 11 weeks premature in January 2013. Both babies weighed 2.5 pounds, and they were in the same NICU for a combined 150 days. Summer, a journalism instructor, is writing a book about her family's NICU years.

Imprints Where I Once Saw Scars

A certain peace lies in discovering that the emotional scars of the NICU have faded into imprints of two tiny faces born too soon. [Read more]

9 Ways Parenting a Preemie is Unique

Preemies are not small full-term babies, and parenting a preemie is its own unique roller coaster of joys and challenges separate from the standard newborn experience. Here are 9 ways the experience of parenting preemies is unique.

1. Having a preemie begins a journey, one that often has twists and turns. Our babies don’t come straight home from the hospital, and the hospital isn’t a brief stop but a central part of what can be months of ups and downs as our babies work their way home to us. There are good days and bad days, steps forward and steps back, and as the parents of preemies, we know that we are definitely not in control. [Read more]

Learning Our Baby Had a Congenital Heart Defect

Like so many families, the 150 days we spent with babies in the hospital were a rollercoaster. But, if pressed on which day was the worst, one immediately comes to mind: the day I was told J had a congenital heart defect. [Read more]

NICU Friends Who Become Forever Friends

Within a 6-week span, we bought our first house, moved 400 miles to a new city, and became parents, 14 weeks early. We had no local support network. No church. No friends from work. No people to call in a pinch. No one to bake us casseroles or tie balloons on our mailbox. No one to walk our dogs or check our mail. We depended on our mothers who both lived hours and states away. They stayed with us for months while we commuted back and forth to the hospital. [Read more]

Singing “Happy Birthday” on Global Handwashing Day

Before the NICU, I had the luxury of being healthy and not fearing illnesses. But, all that changed when I had tiny babies. [Read more]