Meet Natalia! @Natalia at Hand to Hold is one of our bilingual Family Support Specialists (Certified Peer Specialist), supporting NICU families virtually and in person. Natalia currently hosts our support groups for NICU moms, NICU parents, and our group for high-risk pregnancy support, as well as supporting parents directly in our partner hospitals. Natalia’s first daughter, Mariana, was unexpectedly born at 34 weeks gestation with a genetic disorder called Central Core Disease. Mariana faced many complications. Mariana’s lungs were underdeveloped, and she had to be resuscitated several times within her first month of life due to her disorder. She couldn’t swallow, she had low muscle tone, and she eventually had a g-tube and tracheostomy placed. That’s when Natalia knew she was going to be a special type of mom. While in the NICU she learned all about trach care and ventilator settings. After four and a half months, she was able to come home with Mariana and a lot of medical equipment. Natalia has since grown her community and learned a lot about Mariana’s genetic condition. She has become Mariana’s greatest advocate, and she feels she was selected to be her hero. Natalia is passionate about offering support, knowledge and providing education on mental health to NICU families. Watching Mariana grow and accomplish all the hard challenges that she faces every day fills Natalia’s heart with joy. Natalia's advice for new NICU parents? "Familiarize yourself with your baby’s care, and don’t be afraid to ask any questions." Great advice Natalia! To join one of Natalia's support groups, visit the Get Support section in the menu!

Posted by Leigh Ann at Hand to Hold at 2023-07-07 17:41:14 UTC