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

When Your Preemie Never Comes Home + {Giveaway}

This post includes a review of an item PreemieBabies101 received for free in exchange for our honest opinions. All opinions are the author’s own and no affiliate links were used.

Family photo from their first Christmas at home. Photo by Two Birds Photography.

Family photo from their first Christmas at home. Photo by Two Birds Photography.

See that picture to the right? That’s my family. Well, sort of.

On December 9th, 2011 after a month of hospital bed rest, I suffered from E Coli poisoning and went into labor. I was 27 weeks and 5 days along, and baby A’s water had already broken 19 days prior, leaving him unprotected. Baby A – Carter – was 2 lbs. 5 oz. and immediately placed on the highest forms of support. It would be a long NICU stay.

Baby B – and Baby C – were 2 lbs. 10 oz. and 2 lbs. 5 oz. respectively. That’s right – there were three!

Unfortunately, my husband and I lost Carter after 49 days of life. He was a fighter, and we’re very blessed to have been able to know him for those days. I often write and speak about loss, faith, and surviving tragedy; it’s part of why I am so honored to be Preemie Babies 101’s new lead blogger. My husband and I make it a point to find ways to honor Carter and his legacy while still focusing on our two survivors.

That’s why I was excited to hear from Hallie at Jewelry Keepsakes. Their site offers remembrance jewelry of all kinds – even for pets! I was particularly interested in their cremation pieces because I had wanted to have something special to remember Carter by that was just about him. I had given thought to getting a tattoo like my husband, (he designed a memory tattoo in honor of Carter) but chickened out. When I learned about cremation jewelry, I knew I’d get something one day.

My ring to symbolize Carter and filled with some of his ashes.

My ring to symbolize Carter and filled with some of his ashes. Professional photo by Lullaby Lane Photography.

I chose a ring because my survivors are two and still like to mess with hanging jewelry. The heart was perfect – I often see hearts in random places and they make me think of Carter. The kit came quickly in the mail and included the supplies needed to add Carter’s ashes inside the ring. It’s simple for the most part – you unscrew the screw that hides in the side of the ring, fill it 3/4 full (there’s quite a bit of area, actually), and then screw it back together. The hard part comes if you chose to do the final, recommended step of putting super glue on the screw to help secure it permanently. That took both my husband and I to do because everything is so small, and I don’t think we got it quite right, but you can’t really tell at all.

I absolutely love this ring and wear it all the time along with my wedding rings. Every time I do, I think of Carter. I’ve gotten amazing comments on it and the great thing is that no one even knows it’s a cremation ring unless I tell them.

It’s an unfortunate reality, but some preemies don’t make it home from the NICU. Hand to Hold offers many resources for parents of preemies, and this includes the bereaved parent. If you have lost a preemie, I urge you to check out our resources.  If your preemie is currently fighting in the NICU, we also offer parent mentors who are here to encourage you through this stressful time.  I’m so glad to be a part of Preemie Babies 101, and I hope to encourage, support, and even inspire you during my time here.

My survivors are now two and quite the handful! Baby B – Braden – was in the NICU for 111 days, and Baby C – Tenley – was there for 89. All three babies were born with E Coli sepsis poisoning and endured level 3 and 4 brain bleeds. Braden had NEC (ruptured bowel) at 7 days old and deals with slow stomach emptying and gag reflux issues, along with some sensory issues and a shunt as a result of the hydrocephalus and brain bleeds. He’s walking now, and he actually tests ahead of his age for cognitive skills! Tenley contracted meningitis during her NICU stay from contaminant exposure and has ongoing issues with her shunt, including cysts in her ventricles and seizures. This has set her back developmentally, but she’s doing very well and is expected to catch up. She also suffers from sensory issues, oral aversion and feeding issues, and GERD. Our journey hasn’t been easy – it’s filled with many appointments, therapies, ER visits due to shunt scares, and post-release surgeries. They are also slow to gain weight and both are on special high-calorie diets. I never thought I’d be counting calories in an effort to gain weight!

But we make it. We make it because we have Carter watching over us, and no matter how stressed I get, I try to remind myself that I’ve been through worse.

If you have experienced the loss of a child like I have (or know someone that has), I’d like to invite you to enter our giveaway. Jewelry Keepsakes and Preemie Babies 101 have partnered to bring one winner their choice of one of the offered designs below. Three of these pieces are cremation jewelry, although they do not have to be used in that manner, and one piece is a photo pendant that can be engraved with your choice of photo. You can learn more about each piece on their website.

The winner gets to choose their favorite!

The winner gets to choose their favorite!

Enter below for your chance to win (anyone can enter) and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Angie Bickford About Angie Bickford

Angela “Angie” Bickford (TX) is the mother of triplets born just shy of 28 weeks and weighing only 2lbs. 5oz. each. Sadly, baby A only lived for 49 days, but she and her husband make it their mission to celebrate his short life by helping others who have lost children. She spent 111 days total in the NICU, and between her three children, has experienced NEC, brain bleeds and hydrocephalus, reflux/GERD, sensory issues, daily therapies, and several trips back to the hospital. She is a speaker, published author, and blogger. On her personal blog, she talks about loss, faith and her obsession with cupcakes. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest or via email.


  1. Sabina Richter says:

    How beautiful! I’m glad you have another little something to help your heart heal 🙂

  2. i like the photo necklace

  3. Love, love, love these!

  4. I love the Angel Wing. I have a friend who lost her son when he was 5. I would gift this to her for her little angel!

  5. Angie – Such a beautiful way to honor your little angel. I am extremely touched and as always awed at how much one mama can endure. I am blown away by this idea and think it is such a blessing for families. Thank you so much for sharing your story and this amazing resource. And btw… welcome to the H2H family! We are SO proud to have you!

  6. This is beautiful. I lost my son William after 33 hours. He and his brother Linus were born at 28 weeks. Linus is home and thriving after 66 days in the NICU but balancing the grief of losing one son and the happiness of watching the other grow has been life altering.

    • Thank you, Jennifer. I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad that you got the time with William that you did. It’s never easy, and I hope you’re finding a balance. You are right, it is certainly life changing!

  7. I love the angel wing pendant, although all pieces are so beautiful! I’ve lost 2 babies due to miscarriage – very hard times but now I have a beautiful 9 month old born at 26 weeks, 2 days (spent 86 days in NICU). She’s amazing and we are so blessed!

  8. Special story and honor. We lost our twin in utero and are now fighting for our survivor a second time after the cat alerted me to him not breathing. I found him unresponsive and in respiratory arrest and began resuscitation while EMS arrived. He’s doing better now, currently being monitored and evaluated. So scary

    • Oh, Kristen, I’m so sorry for your loss. Having gone through that same situation with one of my survivors, I can relate. Isn’t it amazing what our animals know? Glad you found him in time! ((Hugs))

  9. I am currently carrying a severe iugr baby he is 27 weeks and only weighs 766grams..I am praying for him everyday that he gets stronger and gets to stay in untill he will atleast be stable when born..I am hospitalised at the moment to keep control over both of us all I ask is that you keep me and my baby(it’s a boy) in your prayers cause at the moment he’s small but he has a very strong heart and since it’s my first baby I realy do not want to loose him…thank you in advance

  10. Alexis Kohler says:

    Hello I have read your story and it has brought me to tears. i also though have been through a long journey bur sadly my sons journey had ended at just 17 days old. I am hoping im not to late to enter the giveaway as it would be very nice to win one of these. If someone could let me know where to sign up or let me know if i am to late. thank you very much.

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