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Tiny Tots Defying The Odds

Tiny Tots Defying The Odds

Season 1, Ep. 1
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Welcome to "Tiny Tots Defying The Odds," the podcast that invites you into the extraordinary world of NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and neonatal care. Hosted by Danielle Vassell, a living testament to resilience, this podcast is your beacon of hope and inspiration.


In this special trailer episode, we offer you a sneak peek into the heartwarming, informative, and emotionally charged journey that "Tiny Tots Defying The Odds" will take you on.


Meet Danielle Vassell, your host, and a remarkable individual who, against all odds, has not only survived but thrived after being born weighing just one pound and four ounces.

Her personal story is one of courage and determination, and it's just a glimpse of the incredible tales you can expect from this podcast.

You'll get a taste of the sound and feel of "Tiny Tots Defying The Odds," a podcast that is as hopeful as it is impactful, as positive as it is calm, and as humorous as it is reassuring.


We want you to join us in creating a community of strength, resilience, and unity as we delve into the experiences of NICU parents and medical moms and dads who have faced the challenges of premature birth and neonatal care.


"Tiny Tots Defying The Odds" is not just a podcast; it's a movement. It's a platform with a mission to raise awareness of premature babies, not only in the UK but across the globe. It's a place where you'll find support, education, and the inspiration to defy the odds, no matter how insurmountable they may seem.

Get ready to embark on a journey of empowerment and enlightenment.


Stay tuned for the official launch of "Little Might" in December 2023, just in time to brighten your Christmas with stories of strength and triumph.


Subscribe now and be part of a community that celebrates the tiny tots defying the odds. Let's make a difference together.






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  • 8. From Preemie to Survivor

    16:30
    I've got something truly special for you in our latest episode. I sat down with the remarkable Christina Gagnon, a warrior who entered this world as a preemie with the odds stacked against her. Weighing just 1 pound and 8 ounces at birth, Christina's resilience is nothing short of miraculous.🌟 Overcoming the Impossible: Christina's journey is a testament to human strength. She's faced a staggering 44 lung collapses, battled numerous diseases, and even conquered the loss of her toes to gangrene. Yet, she stands today as a beacon of hope and determination.👶 The Power of Sharing: Christina's experiences, often unheard from adult preemies, shed light on the unique challenges and triumphs of surviving and thriving beyond a precarious start to life.💔 Raw and Real: Our conversation dives deep into the emotional rollercoaster of her childhood, the bullying, and the moment of acceptance that changed everything. Christina's story is a raw, unfiltered look at the reality of growing up with medical challenges.🤗 Embracing Differences: Learn how Christina transformed her struggles into strength, finding acceptance and love in a community that saw her for who she truly is.📘 A Memoir in the Making: Christina is penning her memoir, a work that promises to be as inspiring as her life. It's a story that's sure to resonate with anyone facing their own battles.🌈 A Message of Hope: Christina and I discuss the importance of perseverance and finding light in the darkest of times. Her message is clear: never give up, and embrace your journey with pride.I'm beyond inspired by Christina, and I know you will be too.So, grab your headphones, find a cozy spot, and join us for an episode that's sure to move your heart and ignite your spirit.Let's celebrate the power of defying the odds together!You can connect with Christina hereLinkedinInstagramTikTokTranscript.
  • 7. How Can Counseling Support Parents of Preemies in the NICU?

    27:57
    In this episode, Danielle hosts Dr. Deborah Simmons, a mother of two premature babies, a fertility counsellor, and author of the book 'We are always with you'.Dr. Deborah shares her experiences as a parent to two prematurely born babies and how this inspired her to transition from being a lobbyist to getting a Ph.D. in specialised counselling for infertility, all aspects of fertility treatment, pregnancy loss, and traumatic deliveries and starting her practice, Partners in Fertility.She discusses the emotional trauma experienced by parents of premature babies and the importance of seeking professional help for it.Dr. Debra showcases the need to share both the good and bad parts of our journeys without any shame or fear of judgment.Chapters00:00 Introduction to Dr. Debra Simmons00:59 Dr. Debra's Personal Journey with Preemies02:11 The NICU Experience: A Mother's Perspective06:04 Finding Humor in the Midst of Struggle07:51 The Power of Laughter and Positivity08:00 Changing Careers for a Cause09:12 The Importance of Seeking Counseling09:28 The Impact of Counseling on NICU Parents18:58 The Journey of 'We Are Always With You'24:10 Advice for Parents in the NICU26:38 Connecting with Dr. Debra Simmons27:23 Conclusion and FarewellKeywords:preemie, preemie parents, NICU, counseling, fertility treatment, pregnancy loss, traumatic deliveries, premature delivery, Dr. Deborah Silver, Tiny Tots Defying the Odds, Daniel Bison, We Are Always With You, counseling for parents, NICU journey, resilience, trauma, support, counseling work, trauma work, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), shame, guilt, comparison, We Are Always With You book, joys, successes, milestones
  • 6. How Can Parents Find Support in the NICU Journey?

    34:11
    In this touching episode of "Tiny Tots Defying the Odds," host Danielle has a heartfelt chat with the incredible Alison Dunn.Alison is not only the founder of Me Two Books but also a fierce mom to preemie twins. She opens up about her journey with such emotion, sharing the struggles with fertility she faced and the early arrival of her twins at 28 weeks. The conversation dives deep into the emotional whirlwind of having a child in the NICU, shedding light on the strength and openness needed by parents in these tough times.But Alison's story is more than her own struggles; she's turned her experiences into a source of hope for others. She talks about how she started Me Two Books to fill a gap she noticed in children's literature about the NICU experience. Her books are more than just stories; they're a source of comfort and a way to connect for NICU families and twins.Her words are a powerful reminder that even when times are tough, there's strength in fighting for what's dear to your heart.And for those who've found comfort, inspiration, or a sense of belonging in this episode, we've got something special for you.Come join the "Tiny Tots Defying the Odds" family by signing up for our newsletter.It's more than just updates; it's a way to stay in touch, stay informed, and stay inspired as we share stories, resources, and the wisdom of our amazing guests. Don't miss the chance to be part of our community. Subscribe today and let's keep defying the odds together.Connect with Alison Here:Me Two BooksInstagramFacebookTwitter/XPinterestTimestampsThe fertility journey and challenges (00:02:34)The NICU experience (00:03:36)Coping with infertility (00:07:39)Leaving one twin in the hospital (00:11:09)Importance of seeking support (00:13:11)Triumphs in the NICU (00:15:44)Transitioning home and twins' progress (00:18:04)Witnessing Daily Miracles (00:20:06)Inspiration Behind Me Two Books (00:20:50)Expanding Me Two Books (00:23:13)Impact of Me Two Books (00:25:40)Future Goals for Me Two Books (00:26:45)Balancing Roles (00:28:15)Advice for Parents (00:31:03)Stay Connected with Me Two Books (00:33:04)Transcriptpodcast, Tiny Tots Defying the Odds, Allison Dunn, Me Two Books, founder, twins, 28 weeks, NICU, preemies, infertility, IVF treatments, high-risk pregnancy, emergency C-section, emotional turmoil, support, small milestones, post-NICU period, medical fragility, childcare, triumphs, hope, challenges, parents, support, NICU, children's book, I Was a Preemie Just Like You, NICU journey, twins, I Needed the NICU Just Like You, One of Two, NICU lending libraries, author, work-life balance, passion, positive impact, social media, website.
  • 5. The Unspoken Challenges of Fatherhood in the NICU

    24:59
    Welcome to a heartfelt episode of the "Tiny Tots Defying The Odds" podcast, where we delve deep into the lives of those who navigate the challenging journey of parenting against all odds. In this episode, Danielle Vassell speaks with the inspiring Carl Macdonald, affectionately known in the parenting community as "Prem Dad UK." Carl opens up about his personal voyage as a devoted father to his prematurely born twin boys, and his impactful work with "Prem Dad," a blog that has become a beacon of hope and a source of solace for parents of preemies.Throughout the episode, Carl shares the poignant emotional hurdles he faced during his twins' extended stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), shedding light on the often-overlooked emotional rollercoaster that fathers endure in such circumstances. He speaks candidly about the crucial need for fathers to break the silence and express their feelings, advocating for a cultural shift that encourages paternal vulnerability and emotional openness.Danielle and Carl discuss the pressing need for more tailored resources and support networks specifically for dads, recognising that fathers play an equally vital role in the nurturing and development of their children, especially during such critical times. Carl's insights into balancing precious family moments with his passion for writing are both relatable and motivational, highlighting the delicate act of juggling parental responsibilities with personal growth and self-expression.Carl emphasises how taking care of one's own mental and physical well-being is not just beneficial but essential for the overall health of the family unit. He encourages parents to find strength and seek out communities where experiences and advice can be shared openly.This episode is not just a conversation; It's an essential listen for fathers navigating the NICU journey, those seeking to understand the paternal perspective, and anyone looking to be part of a supportive community that uplifts and empowers parents facing similar challenges.Don't forget to subscribe to the "Tiny Tots Defining Odds" podcast for more inspiring stories and valuable insights that can make a real difference in the lives of parents and their little warriors.Connect With Carl:Website/BlogInstagramTwitter/XThe NICU journey (00:01:29) Embracing vulnerability (00:03:05) Touching moments in the NICU (00:06:10) Documenting the journey (00:09:59) Supporting NICU dads (00:14:19) Raising awareness and future goals (00:16:30) Balancing Family and Projects (00:18:23) Cherishing Family Time (00:19:43) Work-Life Balance for Dads (00:20:42) Message of Hope for Dads (00:22:29) Connecting with Prem Dads (00:24:00) Episode Transcript
  • 4. Advocating for the Black Disabled Community

    32:44
    Nana was born prematurely and lives with a tracheostomy tube. After workplace discrimination, he created Mr Unique Voice to advocate for the black disabled community.Join Danielle Vassell as she speaks with Nana AKA Mr Unique Voice, a passionate advocate for the black disabled community. From his premature birth to tracheostomy tube dependence, Nana has fought discrimination while empowering other people in the black disabled community in the UK with disabilities.As a premature baby, Nana spent months in the NICU before he could go home. Doctors warned his parents that he may face developmental delays and difficulties later on. However, his mother tirelessly sought support services and educated herself on best positioning, feeding, and caring for a preemie baby.While Nana did remarkably well health-wise, he faced workplace discrimination as an adult due to his disability, leading him to start his platform. On Mr Unique Voice, Nana raises awareness about issues impacting members of the black disabled community in the UK, that often go overlooked.He also aims to inspire the disabled black community to use their voice to drive positive change. Nana believes that while disability comes with challenges, it is not a limitation but rather a testament to the incredible resilience of the human spirit.This compelling discussion sheds light on the importance of parental advocacy starting in the NICU as well as the discrimination those with disabilities face. Most impact-fully, it celebrates the strength of black men and women who refuse to allow disabilities to define them.You can connect with Nana on:LinkedinXEnsure you're subscribed to our newsletter for exclusive content and reminders for future episodes.If you enjoyed our podcast, please consider leaving a review and sharing with friends and family.Together, let's spread hope and positivity! 🌟Highlights(00:24 - 02:13) Overcoming Odds(12:23 - 13:39) Textbook vs. Real Life Experience(16:50 - 18:10) Defying Odds and Overcoming Limitations(25:03 - 26:40) Impacting Lives Through Small Gestures(30:56 - 32:15) Inspiring Film and Changing Disability PerceptionsKeywords:black disabled community, disabled black community, premature African American babies, tracheostomy tube, parental advocacy
  • 3. Overcoming the Odds

    34:52
    In this heartwarming episode of "Tiny Tots Defying the Odds," our compassionate host Danielle sits down with the inspiring Tasmin Bota, founder of Preemie Connect. Tasmin opens up about her deeply personal journey with prematurity, starting with her baby's birth at just 28 weeks following a car accident. She takes us through the rollercoaster of emotions in the NICU, the mental challenges she faced, and the critical role of support networks during such a vulnerable time. Her son's ongoing health battles, including mild hypotonic cerebral palsy, are a testament to the resilience and strength of these tiny warriors.As a mother of three, Tasmin juggles her family life with her passion for helping others, running an online store, and leading Preemie Connect. Her collaboration with global organizations is making a real difference in the lives of premature babies and their families. Her message is one of hope and empowerment, urging other mothers to follow their dreams and make a positive impact in the world.If these stories have touched your heart and you want to stay connected with the amazing work of Tiny Tots, we'd love for you to join our community. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, stories of courage, and ways you can help make a difference. Your support means the world to us and to the countless families navigating the challenges of prematurity. Together, we can continue to defy the odds.You can connect with Tasmin here:FacebookPreemie ConnectInstagram @PreemieConnect.To contact Preemie Connect use the following E-Mail address: preemieconnectsa@gmail.com00:00 Introduction and Welcome00:20 Guest Introduction: Tasmin Bota01:11 Tasman's NICU Experience and Challenges06:14 Overcoming Mental Struggles and Finding Support09:00 The Turning Point: Baby's Improvement and Discharge13:58 Post-NICU Life and Current Status15:15 Launching Preemie Connect: A Support Organization16:47 Challenges and Achievements of Preemie Connect24:48 Balancing Motherhood and Entrepreneurship29:02 Advice for Aspiring Mompreneurs33:59 Connecting with Preemie Connect34:45 Conclusion and Farewellpremature baby, nicu, neonatal intensive care unit, preemie, micro preemie, prematurity awareness, developmental delays in premature babies
  • 2. Rising Above Grief

    32:50
    What's it like to navigate the complex world of healthcare as a single mom to a preemie?How does one find hope amidst such overwhelming challenges?Meet Ashley O'Neill, our guest for today's episode and a powerhouse of a woman who has taken her personal trials and channeled them into an inspiring mission.Ashley, a single mom and founder of Its a NICU World, shares her journey with her son Kolin, born at 25 weeks and how she has managed to cope with his health challenges and personal family bereavement during his NICU journey.We hear Ashley's candid discussion on the numerous challenges she faced as a single mom to a 25-weeker. Her unyielding spirit shines through as she provides practical advice for exhausted single moms. Ashley emphasizes the importance of advocacy, resilience and the need to create an emotional space for oneself.She also talks about her upcoming book, 'It's a NICU World, a Preemie Edition', a testament to her family's journey and a resource she hopes will provide hope, encouragement, and resources to families dealing with a NICU journey.Ashley's tale is not just about overcoming adversities, it's about creating a community, being a champion for her child, and helping other families navigating similar journeys. She's an embodiment of determination, resilience and love.Tune in to this heartfelt episode, it offers hope, encouragement, and a sense of community, something we all need, especially when navigating life's toughest challenges. Ashley's story is bound to inspire and uplift. Don't miss it!You can follow Ashley and Its a NICU world below:https://itsanicuworld.com/https://itsanicuworld.com/contact/https://www.instagram.com/itsanicuworld/TranscriptChapters00:00 Tiny Tots host Danielle Vassell welcomes guest Ashley O'Neill, a strong woman who overcame prematurity when her son Kolin was born, and personal challenges. Ashley launched It's a NICU World to support NICU families and is preparing to release her first book.03:40 Rapid deterioration, brain bleeds, hydrocephalus, shunt needed.07:24 Son born and died, husband died - traumatic 4 years.13:34 Hard childhood, high expectations, disabilities, therapy16:30 Get it done, promote, show, give hope.17:54 Supporting families through networking and storytelling.23:37 Healthcare system challenges for families with limitations.24:36 You can solve healthcare problems through ventures.29:57 It's okay to cry, find an outlet.31:07 Let go, appreciate, be the best mom.
  • 1. The Power of Faith and Resilience

    34:54
    Listen to this episode as Danielle Vassell speaks with Tanisha Bert Wormley, an inspiring mother who's journeyed through a medical crisis with her son Jaleel. From the NICU to being a kidney and cancer warrier.We discuss the many roles she balances as a mompreneur, wife, and medical mum, and how her faith was instrumental in overcoming grief and navigating Jaleel's NICU journey. She also shares about Jaleel's rare and unexpected medical condition, and the extraordinary steps she took to get the care he needed to survive. Tanisha's story is a testament to the power of faith and resilience in the face of unimaginable trials. In this episode, Tanisha further opens up about the challenges of being a faithful mother, her experiences with the Ronald McDonald House, and how the prayers and faith of people from around the world helped her family in unimaginable ways. She also shares about the launch of her own business, Absolutely Rich Nut Butter, which was fuelled by her family's medical journey and search for healthier alternatives. As Tanisha shares her incredible journey, she emphasises the importance of finding support during times of crisis, and how her family helped her stay grounded. Her story is one of strength, courage, and unwavering faith, and it is a conversation you don't want to miss.Guest Bio:Tanisha Burke-Wormley is a Medical Mom of NICU to Kidney Warrior & Cancer Fighter Jaleel. God blessed her with a very supportive husband Quentin of 6 years to overcome the medical challenges of first-time parenting. They also are Pandemic Parents of 2 under 2. Tanisha created a Facebook Medical Momunity called, “Medical Moms of NICU,” to help NICU Moms, Life after NICU Moms, and Medical Moms of Medically-Complexed miracles navigate the medical system with ease by sharing NICU resources, Medical Mom Tips, and NICU stories. You can receive Free Medical Mom Tips By Following Tanisha here:TikTokInstagramFacebookChapters:Chapter 1Journey of a NICU Mompreneur00:40Tanisha Bert Wemley shared her journey as a medical mum, discussing faith, grief, and balancing roles, as well as her son's rare medical condition.Chapter 2Challenges of Being a Faithful Mother10:47Tanisha's journey of faith, grief, and God's love helped her NICU, kidney and cancer warrior son, Jaleel.Chapter 3Strength and Support in Crisis21:27Tanisha Bert Wormley shares her medical journey, launching her business, and the importance of support during crisis.