Real lives changed right here in Northeast Texas.
Not every birth story goes exactly as planned. At just 26 weeks gestation, what started as a routine doctor visit for mom, Conswello, ended up as an emergency C-section to save her baby's life. Hermyoné Wallace was born at just 1lb 2oz has been treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital - Tyler.
Over an hour away from her home in Jacksonville, TX, Conswello comes to visit Hermyoné nearly every single day. One of her favorite things to do is read to her baby. Conswello also cherishes her NICU Milestone Bead necklace, provided by
Hand to Hold, and wears it each day.
"It just feels like I'm here with her when I'm not."
(Speaking about the NICU Milestone Bead Program)
It is with heavy hearts we must update:
Hermyoné's journey has been long and difficult. She fought so hard. After months in the NICU in Tyler and in Dallas, she gained her angel wings on 1/16/2021.
Whitney Guth is no stranger to NICU life. When she gave birth to her daughter, Kolbie at 34 weeks. she experienced first hand the challenges NICU families face. Three years later, when she gave birth to her son, Kase at just 24 weeks, she knew they'd have a long road ahead. He spent four and a half months in the NICU where Whitney was introduced to the Hand to Hold Program to help her family cope with the challenges of having such a critically ill baby. Hand to Hold and the peer mentor program made such an impact on Whitney's life, when she was offered the opportunity to help other NICU families, she jumped at the chance!
Whitney is now the Family Support Specialist in the NICU at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital - Tyler and offers support and encouragement to other families navigating the NICU life.
THE BELL FAMILY'S STORY
When Abbie Bell was admitted to the hospital for precautionary bedrest, she had no idea she would spend the next 40 days in antepartum waiting for her twins babies to arrive. When Fallon and Declan were born at just 29 weeks old, weighting 3 and 3.5 lbs, Abbie and Casey Bell were overjoyed to meet their babies but also had to accept the reality that their hospital stay wasn't over. After a difficult year of family heartache, the beautiful babies are a welcome blessing for the Bell Family but the long hospital stay, especially during the holidays, has been an incredible challenge for the new parents.
"It's helpful to have that support system of people who have gone through it. Because of COVID especially, you can't really interact with other families and it can feel like you are really alone."
Abbie has found tremendous support through the Hand to Hold Peer Mentor Program and credits her relationship with her mentor as one of the things that is getting her through this difficult and isolating time.