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

{Giveaway} From Hope to Joy

front coverWe are thrilled to partner with Preemie Mom and Author Jennifer Degl to give away two copies of her memoir, From Hope to Joy. If you missed her interview earlier this fall, Jennifer gives you a taste of what her experience was like after the early birth of her micropreemie, Joy, at 23 weeks gestation.

Enjoy this abridged excerpt from Chapter 1: The Campout

As an earth science and biology teacher, one of the greatest joys of my school year is our annual freshman class trip to Sharpe Reservation, a campground located in the Hudson Highlands near Fishkill, New York, about 45 minutes from where I live and work. A few other adventurous teachers and I take more than 100 kids on this excursion to give them a dose of nature, and to allow them to experience life without technology. But perhaps the most important reason we teachers make the trip with our students—at least from my point of view—is that it allows them to be kids for a couple of days…

Snuggled in my sleeping bag, lying on my cot, I listened to the silence and was drifting to sleep, but my brain just wouldn’t cooperate. Thinking back on my decision, I tried to rationalize why I came on the trip. I’d been bleeding slightly since becoming pregnant with this baby, but I’d bled with all my previous pregnancies, so I thought, no big deal…

Until 4 a.m.

When I rolled over and sat up, I knew with certainty that the fluid I felt was blood. I’d had two previous miscarriages. Although this didn’t feel exactly the same, I was positive I was losing the baby. In the dark, I half-walked, half-crawled to one of the bathrooms, dragging my overnight bag with me. I felt for the light switch, flicked it on, and began to hemorrhage in earnest. There’s no way the baby will survive, I thought…

With my cell phone lighting the way, I left the cabin as quietly as I was able and walked the quarter-mile to my car. The security guard gave a slight wave as I drove past him—it never occurred to me to stop at the guard gate—and I drove to my hospital 30 minutes away…

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Amy Carr About Amy Carr

Amy Carr (TX) is a parent of a late-term preemie, Ella, born at 35 weeks. After an uneventful pregnancy, Ella's early birth and the complications that followed were a shock. Now in elementary school, her daughter is doing well and Amy enjoys using her writing, marketing and communications acumen on behalf of nonprofits and charitable causes. Formerly a founding staff member at Hand to Hold, you can reach Amy via email.


  1. Alicia Hagerman says:

    I’m from PA. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book. I keep wanting to read this book and I have it on my Christmas list.

  2. As a writer and author myself, I love reading books by other authors that relates to the same experiences I’ve had. Thanks for the chance to win! From Houston, TX. 🙂

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