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Rachel Astorga-McCain grew up in the small border town of Del Rio, TX, and has been an Austin transplant since 1999. electricity use in the us She currently resides in the north Austin area with her husband and daughter, Patrick and Leila, and their dog, Amelia. After her water broke at 24 weeks, followed by a short antepartum hospital stay, Rachel gave birth to Leila in the fall of 2016 at 26 weeks gestation weighing 2 pounds, 2 ounces and was discharged after spending 81 days in the NICU. Despite numerous respiratory issues since then, Leila continues to thrive and is one happy-go-lucky girl.

Rachel experienced first-hand the exhausting emotional and physical toll a NICU stay can have on a parent and the conflicting feelings of excitement, gratitude, worry and grief that continue after discharge. She looks forward to her new role where she can be part of team that supports fellow preemie parents through quality and meaningful programs.

Prior to joining Hand to Hold, Rachel worked for the Prevention and Early Intervention division at the Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS) managing strategic cross-state agency efforts after serving as project manager for the federal Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant. She previously served as the Director of Community Education at Any Baby Can of Austin, Inc. where she coordinated outreach efforts and managed cross-sector partnerships. gas vs electric oven for baking cakes Before accepting this position, she was the Family Education Program Manager overseeing family literacy and parenting education programs for Austin area families.

Sonja Ferguson is a native Southern Californian who moved to Austin, TX in 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications from California State University-Fullerton (Go Titan Baseball!), with a minor in Psychology. She then began her journey into education by earning her certifications and Master’s degrees in both cross-cultural teaching and educational counseling from National University. tgask Before becoming a middle school counselor in the Austin area, Sonja spent time as a teacher and college advisor/counselor.

Sonja began working for Hand to Hold as a Family Support Navigator in September of 2017. The support she received from Hand to Hold after the premature birth of her own son Jack at only 29 weeks in December of 2016 was invaluable and became a catalyst for her to want to help others grappling with NICU life. gas hydrates ppt Sonja runs the Hand To Hold NICU Family Forum page on Facebook, connecting families all over the world who are currently experiencing the rollercoaster of the NICU and those who have graduated and can provide support through the lens of their own experiences. This has been such a rewarding endeavor for Sonja and she is honored to be a part of this organization.

Becky lives in a small town north of Austin, Texas with her husband and two beautiful children. After their daughter was born healthy and full-term, there was no reason to think their second child would chart a different course. However, Becky’s water broke in her 24th week with her second pregnancy, and their son was born at 25 weeks and 2 days. He spent 103 days in the NICU, with the family doing their best to balance their time between being home with Big Sister during the holidays and being at the NICU with their preemie.

After discharge, Becky quickly learned that the journey doesn’t end when you leave the hospital. gas vs electric water heater savings She understands the barrage of emotions NICU parents feel, from joy and gratitude to guilt and fear. electricity electricity schoolhouse rock Before the birth of her preemie, Becky worked for 13 years in Early Childhood Education, most recently as an administrator at a large preschool, where she developed a passion for learning, supporting families, and helping others grow. Now as a Family Support Navigator working directly with NICU families, she is able to channel that passion into helping families find purpose in their pain, using her experiences to support and empower parents facing a similar journey.

Sara has an enthusiasm for spreadsheets and helping people. She originally came to Hand to Hold as a volunteer and now combines her enthusiasm for spreadsheets and helping people as our Volunteer Coordinator. electricity electricity music notes She lives in Austin, Texas with her paramedic husband and two children, Charlie and Nora. Nora was born at 32 weeks and 1 day by emergency C-section due of a placental abruption. After spending 53 days in the NICU, Nora has had a relatively easy path with minimal occupational therapy, eye surgery, ear tubes, and some asthma. Charlie joined the family in October 2016 with no complications.

Sara is originally from rural south Louisiana and received a B.A. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. gas after eating eggs She has worked in higher education and educational publishing in a variety of roles, from project management and sales support to academic advising and orientation. As a true Cajun, she enjoys feeding people, talking about food, and explaining the difference between Cajun food and Creole food.