We’re Previewing Our New Support Materials at the 21st NICU Leadership Forum

The parent-focused organization has updated its NICU and Transition Home care packages with a design created by experts in cooperation with families.

In a press release, we recently announced Graham’s Foundation will preview its newly redesigned care packages for preemie parents at a booth shared with our longtime sponsor and supporter Bionix at the 21st Annual NICU Leadership Forum in Phoenix, AZ.

The NICU Leadership Forum is attended by professionals from the NICU, PICU, CVICU and other pediatric specialty areas who are looking for practical solutions for the challenges they face caring for the most vulnerable babies. Graham’s Foundation president Nick Hall will be at the event to connect with leaders in the neonatology space who want to support parents of the preemies in their care but need help to do so.

“While surveys our organization has conducted show that family centered care is an emerging trend in neonatology, they’ve also shown that reaching parents when they need support most can be incredibly difficult,” Hall said. “Graham’s Foundation’s primary mission is to support parents of preemies to improve outcomes for entire families. It’s a model that works because research shows that when parents receive encouragement, education and community, they’re better equipped to care for their babies.”

Our free care packages are designed to meet not only the practical needs of families in the NICU and those making the transition home, but also the emotional needs of moms and dads coping with the ups and downs of premature birth. We also offer a third care package option created specifically for families who are dealing with the loss of a premature infant.

To learn more about Graham’s Foundation care packages for preemie parents, visit We’ll be debuting our beautiful, newly redesigned care packages on Parents of Preemies Day on May 7 – stay tuned!

How 24 Week Twins Inspired Two Parents to Give Back

Anne-Marie & Jonathan are not just Graham’s Foundation NICU Ambassadors. They’re also the parents behind one of the biggest annual Parents of Preemies Day celebrations! We had a chance to ask them about their prematurity journey and why they dedicated their time to helping a new generation of parents of preemies.

Q. What was your family’s experience with premature birth?

A. My husband Jonathan and I were thrilled to learn we were pregnant with boy/girl twins. We have an older daughter, now seven, who was born at term and it never occurred to us that something like that this would happen.  Unfortunately, around Week 22 gestation, one of the amniotic sacs on the twins ruptured and I was immediately put on bed rest at UCLA Santa Monica hospital.  We were all committed to many weeks of bedrest until the twins could be safely birthed however, about two weeks later, I unexpectedly went into labor in the middle of the night and the twins had to be emergency delivered.  They were born at 24 weeks and 2 days gestation and each child weighed about a pound and a half.

Continue reading “How 24 Week Twins Inspired Two Parents to Give Back”

Did You Know the NICU Before You Needed It?

NICU MonitorsTo the uninitiated, the neonatal intensive care unit can seem less like a nursery and more like NASA! Everywhere you look, there are wires and tubes and computer monitors and machines.

That’s a good thing, of course. All of the technology visitors see in the NICU is a big part of why outcomes for extremely premature infants have gotten better and better over the years. And yet things like isolettes and infant warmers, feeding tubes, and IV infusion pumps, ventilators and phototherapy lights, and computerized monitoring equipment can seem more than a little intimidating when it surrounds a newborn you can literally hold in the palm of your hand.

Visiting the NICU for the first time when it’s your son or daughter in that isolette, wired in to what seems like a laboratory’s worth of tubes and machines, can be particularly terrifying.

Parents of preemies certainly have a unique post-birth experience – one that can involve bonding through voice and presence instead of through touch, fear mixed with feelings of triumph, difficult choices, and the reality of a long and difficult road ahead. And the strangeness of the NICU can magnify the difficulties of the post-birth experience for preemie parents.

Considering that prematurity is, according to statistics, an epidemic globally, what if pregnant women and their families were introduced to the NICU before it became their home away from home? For obvious reasons, most pre-natal maternity ward tours do not include NICU walk-throughs. The babies in these isolated areas, whether sick or simply growing, aren’t ready to handle the presence of so many people. But there’s no reason why midwives, OBs, nurses, and hospitals can’t introduce women and families to this important part of the hospital in the early days of pregnancy through literature and photographs and their own stories.

Until prematurity and the long-term impact of premature birth become a part of the standard early pregnancy dialog the same way care providers discuss the possibility of birth defects and health risks to the mother, organizations like ours and many others will continue to raise awareness of not only the existence of extreme prematurity, but also what moms, dads, grandparents, and loved ones can expect just after birth and in the weeks and months and years beyond.

Knowing the NICU may not ease all the feelings of fear and confusion that new parents of preemies face, but it can put a kinder, more reassuring face on a place that is just where a very early baby needs to be to thrive.

Did you know the NICU before you needed it? If not, would that have made your unique experience a little less frightening?

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