Neonatal specialists agree that if a family is encouraged, supported and active in baby's care, babies tend to have a better outcome and a sooner discharge date. Because of the unique and challenging circumstances faced by NICU families, they need a special kind of support system that isn't offered in a traditional hospital setting.

After extensive research and recommendations from NICU caretakers and former NICU families, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System is committed to funding an essential NICU family support program. Hand to Hold is a nonprofit organization that helps families before, during, and after a NICU stay by providing powerful resources and support for the whole family. Most notably, our NICU parents receive one-on-one mentoring support from a trained professional who is also a former NICU parent. We need your help to continue to make these services available for our NICU families who depend on this support.

When you make a donation to Miracles Begin With You, you help ensure each family in our NICU will continue to receive the support and encouragement they need through the Hand to Hold Family Support Program.

SUPPORT

One-on-one support from a trained professional who has personal NICU experience is instrumental in a NICU family's coping process.

The on-site Family Support Specialist:

  • offers comfort family and friends may not be able to provide.

  • provides a safe environment to share feelings.

  • empowers parents to problem-solve and become advocates for their families and themselves.

  • helps parents feel less alone.

  • increases acceptance of difficult situations and offer important resources for coping.

COMMUNITY

High-risk pregnancy, a complicated birth, a NICU stay or the loss of a baby are very traumatic and isolating experiences.

Support groups aim to support and include parents at any stage of their journey, including:

  • in-person NICU mom and dad small groups while at the hospital.

  • virtual support groups allowing families to access support at all stages of the NICU journey, from the comfort of your own home.

  • private Facebook groups.

  • special NICU family meet-ups during holidays and special occasions.

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MILESTONES

When a baby is born early or with special health care concerns, milestones have a very different meaning.

Hand to Hold’s NICU Milestone Beads celebrate each special step in a family’s NICU journey.

  • For NICU parents, the beads are more than just a piece of jewelry. They are a symbol of their baby’s story.

  • Each necklace includes a NICU Milestone Bead Chart in which the family can record dates and make special notes as their baby reaches each milestone.

  • Hand to Hold also offers a special Love and Loss bead kit, a keepsake for families to memorialize their baby after enduring a devastating loss in the NICU.

RESOURCES

No one can prepare families for the difficulty of a NICU stay. However, with the right resources available, families can navigate their journey with confidence. 

Each NICU family receives a Family Support package which includes:

  • Navigating the NICU Handbook

  • NICU Graduate Handbook

  • Access to NICU family and specialist podcasts

  • Specialized support resources for spouses, family members and friends

  • Direct access to parent and professionally-authored blogs covering important topics such as NICU parent mental health, self-care and balancing life during the NICU stay.