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

In the NICU during the Holidays

Three years ago I was in the NICU with my tiny baby when the weather turned cold, the leaves fell, Halloween came and went, Thanksgiving came and went, Christmas cheer and holiday shopper enthusiasm blew by in the cold wind outside the dark NICU windows, Christmas day came and went, and the new year rang in quietly.  Every year since then the holidays have brought with them a sense of reverence and occasional heartache.  This year it crept up on me unexpectedly and I found myself humming “Silent Night” to my baby while tears flowed down my cheeks.  I had forgotten how much Christmas music brought me back to moments of sitting beside my tiny baby’s crib, singing her Christmas songs, wanting her to know that outside there was holiday cheer, giving and loving, and families gathering to celebrate the birth of the Savior.  I had wanted to take her home with me so badly and to hold her in my arms the whole day long, but I could not.  I had to say goodbye to her each night, and as I stepped out into the biting cold and watched thick snowflakes swirl around me I wished I could show them to her.  I wished I could sit by a Christmas tree with her and gaze at the twinkling lights for hours on end.  Most of all, I wished that she could be with my husband and I and we could be together as a family.

I cannot think about those difficult months without expressing my gratitude to all of the wonderful graduate families and church groups who brought letters of hope, stuffed animals and blankets, and sweet gifts to brighten the holidays for all of the parents and babies in the NICU during that time.  Every tiny donation brought comfort to me and to this day I have not forgotten a single one.

I pray that those of you who are in the NICU right now, and especially those of you who will STILL be in the NICU through the Christmas season, will find peace and joy in the quiet moments you spend with your preemie baby.  These days will never be forgotten.  I hope you feel loved and supported through heartfelt gifts you may receive, and I pray that you will be able to bring your babies home soon to be with your families.

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. I just came across this site and was very touched by the above post. I gave birth to my twins last week (they were 31 weeks) and are in the NICU. They will more than likely be there over the holidays due to breathing and feeding issues. Reading things like this makes me feel a little better through this heart-wrenching process!


  2. It was six years ago that I spent the holidays in the NICU with my twins. I will never forget each day arriving to find a new gift at the cribside of each of my babies. Even though it was so hard to be in the hospital during the holidays, the staff was amazing in helping to bring cheer to us.

    Melanie, I hope you can find comfort in the experiences shared here. Afton has done an amazing job in sharing information and hope. Congratulations on your little miracles!

  3. This makes me sad. My son was born on July 14,2009. I was 28weeks. He is still in the hospital today. I wish he could be with us through the holidays. Sucks having a part of your family missing during this season….

    (Nov 24, 2009)

  4. I am so sorry that your baby is still in the hospital. It is difficult leaving your baby alone when you go to be with family, or to simply miss your family functions. We missed all family celebrations for a long time after we brought our baby home just to keep her safe. I hope your baby gets strong enough and healthy enough to go home soon.

    (Nov 24, 09)

  5. Thank you. Its tough but I know right now that being in the hospital is the best place for him, and I am sure not going to be going anywhere when he gets home!

    (Nov 24, 09)

  6. My baby is two now and I think back to that first Christmas she had maybe reached 5lbs by then and we had her in this preemie sized santa outfit and it swamped her and I can still see her eyes with the light of the Christmas tree lights and thinking to myself, I finally know the true meaning of this holiday, I get the love, hope, and the meaning of… See More true peace, since that night the feeling has never left and I thank God everyday for my little gift seeing her run, play grow and beat the odds of her early birth is likke Christmas day for me , everyday.

    (Nov 24, 09)

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