Linda Remembers the NICU Nurses Who Made All the Difference

**From now through January 27, 2017, we are joining Pampers in inviting parents, co-workers, family members and friends to nominate and share the story of an extraordinary NICU nurse who provides babies and their families with special touches of love – stories like the ones shared here. You can nominate your preemie’s favorite nurses at**

To say I had the best pregnancy ever would be like saying I had the best vacation when meanwhile I spent a good part of it sick as a dog from the food poisoning I got from that quaint, off the grid restaurant I just HAD to try – despite my known daily struggle with spicy foods.  Neither of my pregnancies were perfect, but my twin pregnancy takes the cake.

I had my first pre-labor scare at my 28-week ultrasound and was sent to the hospital with contractions.  After two rounds of steroid injections and a bout of magnesium I was sent home on bedrest.  You would think bed rest would be a dream.  Laying around in my pajamas watching Criminal Minds and Law and Order SVU all day long – now with two 4-year old’s and a 2-year-old that sounds like a dream vacation, but then I was terrified: terrified somehow in my motionless state I would someone screw up and go into labor early which is exactly what happened that fateful Thursday back in January of 2013.  

At first I thought I peed myself, which to be honest, wouldn’t be a first so I wasn’t too concerned.  I cleaned up and went back to bed.  Then it happened again!  Once, ok that could be acceptable for a 32 week and 1 day pregnant lady, but twice!?  Something was wrong.  The best way I can describe it was a leaky faucet that just kept dripping no matter what I did.  I called the covering doctor (my doctor was unfortunately away) and was told to go to the hospital and get checked out.

My mom happened to be coming over that Thursday after work as she always did and was bringing over a pizza, which I didn’t eat but really should have had I known that I wouldn’t be allowed to eat a thing until the next day!  When she arrived I was hysterical.  This couldn’t be happening.  I did everything I was supposed to do and somehow I still managed to mess up.  I cried the whole way to the hospital, sitting on a towel and replaying what I could have done to make my water break.  I had an emergency Cesarean Section due to two breach babies and at 9:18pm and again at 9:20pm I became a Mom.    

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Meet Our 2017 Ambassador Family

When Katie and Tom Timmers became parents unexpectedly when Katie was just 28 weeks, 4 days along in her pregnancy, it was a surprise. Like many women who give birth to preemies, she had no major health issues and no idea that she might deliver early.

“I started getting swollen at about 24 weeks along,” she said. “But I’d never been pregnant before and there were four other women in my office who were pregnant at the same time and dealing with swelling themselves, so I didn’t think it was abnormal. Swelling was just one of those typical pregnancy symptoms, right?”

When Katie realized that the swelling she was experiencing wasn’t an isolated symptom, however, she decided to call her doctor to schedule a checkup to make sure nothing was wrong. Her gut feeling paid off. When she went to her appointment, her blood pressure was very high. At the very least, according to her doctor, she’d be on bed rest – but they’d get blood work done to find out exactly what was going on.

“I went home, prepared to be on bed rest,” said Katie. “But as soon as the results came back I got the call that I needed to go straight to the intensive care area of maternity because I was so sick. Tom will tell you that when I called him at work he made it home in about three minutes because he ran every red light.”

The Timmers suddenly found themselves the center of attention in a flurry of activity. Doctors, nurses, and specialists from the NICU and Maternal Fetal Medicine were in an out of their room, drawing vial after vial of blood, asking questions, and sharing statistics before coming to a conclusion. Their baby, Dominic, was fine but Katie had HELLP Syndrome.

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Preemie Parents Share About the NICU Nurses that Meant So Much

Preemie parents know that NICU nurses are heroes. They are more than healthcare providers. As time passes they become confidants, friends, mentors, extended family members, and advisors. They laugh with us and they cry with us. They celebrate victories – no matter how large or small. They mourn with us – the loss of a baby or the loss of the hopes and dreams we have for our preemies. And NICU nurses provide a glimmer of hope on the days when it seems all hope is lost.

From now through January 27, 2017, we are joining Pampers in inviting parents, co-workers, family members and friends to nominate and share the story of an extraordinary NICU nurse who provides babies and their families with special touches of love – stories like the ones shared here. (You can nominate your preemie’s favorite nurses at

pampers-thank-you-nurse-awards-6 Continue reading “Preemie Parents Share About the NICU Nurses that Meant So Much”

Parents Share Their #TouchesofLove for World Prematurity Day

If you follow us on social media, you’ve probably noticed our recent posts asking moms and dads to share their Touches of Love moments in observance of Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Day. We were thrilled to be able to help Pampers, one of our longtime partners, promote their #touchesoflove campaign as part of the launch of their newest, smallest, and gentlest diaper line – which was designed for the tiniest preemies by neonatal nurses.


As a parent of a preemie, you know how alive with meaning touch can be. Touch can be scary – your baby is so tiny and fragile looking. But touch can also be transformative for parents and their babies. Touch is healing for preemies who need that connection with their parents, as well as for moms and dads who need to feel like they are parents. More than just a sign of love, touch is medicine. From the nurses who care for them day and night, to the anxious parents who can’t wait to take them home, to the fabrics that envelop their skin, every touch helps the most vulnerable babies grow stronger and healthier.

As we worked with Pampers to promote their campaign, we have collected some of our favorite images of special touches between preemies and their parents as well as between preemies and their nurses and we wanted to share those with you in celebration of World Prematurity Day.


Jessica Wisniewski Franks‎: Not only is it Prematurity Awareness month, but it’s also a very important month as my daughter will be 4 this month. Olivia was born at 27 weeks, weighing 1lb 3oz. She had many ups and downs during her 119 day stay in the NICU, but now, she is a loving, caring, spunky, sassy, intelligent little girl. She is such a blessing and never ceases to amaze me. She reminds me what a blessing life is and that miracles happen! #touchesoflove #prematurityawareness


Flower: My 25 weeker born August 25th is still in NICU, but growing everyday! #prematurityawarenessmonth #preemies #NICU #prematurebirth #touchesoflove


Jennifer D.: This is Andrew #touchesoflove


Kristina Culp Lowman: In honor of #WorldPrematurityDay on November 17, I’m sharing my #touchesoflove 2 of MANY of our wonderful favorite NICU nurses Jan Vargo and Paula Meyer on the day Kailey was discharged!! 7 1/2 weeks in the NICU after being born at 27 weeks. Still home before her due date! Birth weight 2 pounds & Discharge weight 4.5 pounds #forevergrateful #bestnicunursesever


Kendall: My first time touching our 2lb 13oz 32 weeker- my husband had to be there for our preemie until I could, as I couldn’t move for 36 hours after #touchesoflove


Kristina: This is my former 27 weeker meeting her 2 day old sister, a 33 weeker. Both born to severe preeclampsia and HELLP this pregnancy. (Notice I am very swollen, on oxygen, IVs and still recovering myself.) THIS was the first time I had both of my Miracle Girlz together!


John Border: This was my first time holding my son #touchesoflove


Valerie: I didn’t get to hold by baby for almost a month. Born 1 pound 15 ounces. Now my preemie is a perfect 2 year old at 26 pounds #touchesoflove


Lori Shuart: I got to hold my preemie just over 24 hours after he was born. I was recovering from my c-section and had to brought to the NICU in a wheel chair. He is now 9 years old #touchesoflove #prematurityawarenessmonth


Nicole: My daughter at 5 weeks old (30 weeks gestation) holding my husband’s hand and wearing his wedding band 🙂 Lexi was born at 25 weeks and 500grams due to HELLP syndrome . She will be 4 this November #touchesoflove


Rebecca Heatherill: After my first kangaroo cuddle with my 32weeker, it left an emotional imprint on my heart, holding my tiny miracle in my arms against my heart ……. with his tiny foot leaving a literal imprint on my skin #touchesoflove

Are you sharing YOUR story for World Prematurity Day?

Whether your prematurity story is big – touch that saved a life – or small – a kiss to welcome your preemie into the world – we want you to tell it on social media because for every photo and story you share with the #touchesoflove hashtag on your own Facebook wall or on ours, Pampers will donate $1 to prematurity research.

What that means is that every Touches of Love share is important. Every story can make a difference!

Ever wonder why Graham’s Foundation works so closely with Pampers? We know that Pampers believes every touch of love matters to the health and development of babies, especially the most vulnerable babies, and that Pampers continues to do its part to support families with preemies in and out of the NICU through their giving initiatives.

A Wrap Up of Our 2016 ‘Tinis for Preemies NYC Event


Our NYC ‘Tinis for Preemies event on Nov. 2, 2016 definitely delivered! Corporate and individual supporters, specialists in the NICU field, preemie parents and friends gathered at the Ernst & Young building of 5 Times Square to further the Graham’s Foundation mission of providing support, advocacy and research for premature babies and their families.


Board Member Chris Becker, Co-Founders Jenn and Nick Hall, Board Members Xena Ugrinsky, Jason Hart, Dr. Mia Wechsler Doron, and Ambassador Kellog (Kelly) C. Gaines

Co-Founders of Graham’s Foundation, Nick and Jenn Hall and Graham’s Foundation Board Members greeted guests at the start of the evening.


The Gaines twins, Chilton and Simmons

Supporters had the opportunity to meet the 2016 NYC Ambassador Family, Kellogg C. (Kelly) Gaines, Director of the New York Capital Markets division at Jones Lang LaSalle, a global commercial real estate firm and his wife, Kerry, a Partner at Judson Partners, an executive search firm based in New York and their preemie twins, Chilton and Simmons, now both 20 years old and attending college.  


Ambassador Kelly Gaines shares his preemie story

Kelly shared his family’s preemie story adding how much easier it would have been to have an organization like Graham’s Foundation available when their preemie twins were born.  Twenty years ago, Kelly and wife Kerry felt on their own and completely lost.  No amount of time can truly prepare parents for the prematurity journey.


The Mead Johnson Nutrition crew

Supporting change makers like this year’s honorees is crucial to the evolution of preemie care, in and out of the NICU. In recognizing the important work of honorees we aim to raise awareness of not only the impact of prematurity, but also the need to increase funding and research into improving outcomes for future preemies and families.  The HOPE Award was presented by Graham’s Foundation and Shire to Maureen Doolan Boyle, founding member of MOST (Mothers of Supertwins).  The MIRACLES Award was presented by Graham’s Foundation and Mead Johnson Nutrition to Dr. Jatinder Bhatia of Augusta University.


“Double Your Awesome” was the theme for the evening. Signature ‘tinis with Tito’s Handmade Vodka were featured, and guests doubled their awesome with donations to Graham’s!  Tito’s matched every dollar for dollar, up to $5,0000! Thanks go out to Xena Ugrinsky and Kathleen McLane for their awesomeness!


Connie Karcher, Jenn Hall, Xena Ugrinsky, Kathleen McLane

Other awesome supporters include Dana Wechler Linden and Larry Linden, Emma Trenti Paroli and Richard Thaler. What a pleasant surprise when Luigi Paroli surprised his mother, Emma, with an impromptu visit!

Luigi Trenti Paroli, Emma Trenti Paroli, Richard Thaler

Luigi Trenti Paroli, Emma Trenti Paroli, Richard Thaler

Also seen were Amy and Jason Hart with friends Nancy and Ryan Deane and Vivian Blanco; Jennifer Degl, author of “From Hope to Joy” and her husband, John;  Steve Bethel of Angel Eye Camera, Dr. Robert Paduano, Dr. Rochelle Steinwurzel and husband Dr. Brian Steinwurtzel; Dr, Chavis Patterson, Scott Panzer, and Kyle Manske among a host of other fantastic folks.


Jenn Hall and Dr. Chavis Patterson

Corporations gathered round in sponsorship, too. Katie Moore, John Langevin, Kristin Petrullo and LLana Golovaty of Mead Johnson; Tidewater Dermatology; Jeep Newman of Medical Predictive Science, Jack Foley of Stewart Title; Shire, Ernst & Young; and Craig Fraser and Kathryn Cole of Windtree Therapeutics. Fabulous florals were provided by Starbright Floral Designs.

Seasonal color by Starbright Floral Designs

With the generosity of so many individuals and corporations, ‘Tinis for Preemies raised over $41,000!

Stay tuned for details on events coming your way, like our 2017 Golfing for Graham’s Foundation and the NYC 2017 ‘Tinis for Preemies.

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