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

The Night I Met My Son

The night I met my son will forever live in my mind as one of the scariest, loneliest, yet happiest nights of my life.

My wife gave birth to our first child more than 100 days before he was supposed to be born. I wasn’t even mentally prepared to be a dad, even though we planned the pregnancy and had a due date. I just figured I had more time to get ready, but I was wrong. At six o’clock in the evening, I was eating dinner and getting ready to play softball when my wife came home in tears. By 7:33 that night, our son was born. So much happened in those 90 minutes, it is still hard to believe. I experienced fear, anger, anxiety, frustration, sorrow and the thought that I might lose my son and my wife on a hot summer night in which I was supposed to be playing a game instead of contemplating starting my life over. [Read more]

‘Your Child is Welcome in Our Nursery.’ Please Say It.

I sat, nervous and emotional, in a room of about a dozen hospital administrators and said, “It would help if you started by telling parents like us, ‘Your child is welcome in our nursery.'” They all nodded and I felt like their faces showed I had gotten through to them. “When our son was about to be born, they talked about statistics and outcomes and decisions people make about whether to try to save their baby, which is important, but it would have really helped just to know that you were willing to have him, because there was literally no other choice for us.”

My wife and I were talking to the hospital’s medical ethics committee. I had written them because while Swedish Medical Center did save our son’s life, we were still really unsettled by the near miss we’d had when he was born in 2012 at 22 weeks and 6 days of gestation. I felt like a vulture was sitting on my shoulder, asking, “What if you’d made the wrong choice?”

The wrong choice, in this case, would have been accepting the on-duty neonatologist’s recommendation to not have our son resuscitated, saying he was too immature to survive. [Read more]

Dear Preemie (On the Day You Are Born)

Well, my dear, here you are. I don’t know why fate brought us together so soon, for neither of us are finished growing. You are still so small and fragile; I am still preparing myself to be your mom. I planned to read a few more books and learn how to crochet before you were […]

New Hope for 22-Week Preemies

A new set of guidelines has come out for the resuscitation of preemies, and it means a huge deal to families such as ours. It provides more hope that preemies born in the 22nd week can get treatment.

Shortly before our son was born at 22 weeks and 6 days of gestation, the on-call neonatologist told us that they had a rule at the hospital that babies should not be resuscitated before 23 weeks and 0 days. “I don’t recommend that babies should be intubated at this stage because the results are so poor. If you give birth after midnight, I’ll be the one who comes and treats him, but my heart won’t fully be in it.” This caused us considerable stress, wondering “Is he going to show up?” He did, the birth occurred at 11:20 p.m., and he “rounded up” and saved our first and only son. [Read more]

Book Review: Girl in Glass by Deanna Fei

Deanna Fei, author of Girl in Glass (Bloomsbury Books, 2015), didn’t seek national attention. Fei’s four month NICU stay with her daughter Mila led to a national uproar when AOL CEO Tim Armstrong identified her daughter as a “distressed baby.” [Read more]