Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Free Anat Baniel Online Seminar

For those who are interested:

Kids Beyond Limits: Breakthrough Results for Children with Autism, Brain Damage, ADHD and Developmental Delays
Saturday, Jun 9, 2012 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM MDT

Sign up today for Kids Beyond Limits: Breakthrough Results for Children with Autism, Brain Damage, ADHD and Developmental Delays, a featured webinar with guest speaker Anat Baniel and host Jeff Goelitz.

How can parents and teachers and clinicians who treat children help those with special needs overcome challenges and dramatically improve a wide range of abilities? The Kids Beyond Limits webinar will offer remarkable insights and practical advice for children with disabilities.

Clinical psychologist and author Anat Baniel’s scientifically based, cutting-edge work has been transforming the lives of children and adults with special needs for 30 years. Movement is at the core of Baniel’s approach, and that means any activity within the body, including thoughts and emotions, that helps organize the brain. With intelligent movement, Baniel says, the brain immediately begins building billions of new neurological connections that usher in changes, learning and transformation. A new learning switch goes off inside the body that creates new possibilities.

Anat Baniel has established an international reputation for her work with children and adults with special needs. She is a clinical psychologist and author of two books, Kids Beyond Limits and Move Into Life. She has refined her methods for more than 30 years and currently runs the Anat Baniel Method facility in Marin County, Calif.

Jeff Goelitz, in addition to his work in education programming, planning and development for IHM, has authored and co-authored a number of publications for the institute. He is a senior trainer for HeartMath programs and has helped create HeartMath programs for teachers and schools, including the nationally successful TestEdge®, Early HeartSmarts® and HeartSmarts® home and classroom learning programs and the Wild Ride to the Heart™ board game.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Preemie Prints NICU Graduate Shoot: Ransom & Sadie

Please enjoy these gorgeous inspirational photos of two tiny NICU fighters and consider supporting our mission to share hope with families who have a baby born prematurely or critically ill. This mother explains so beautifully why our work is important. Our online support group, gift of photography, meetings, information, and email support, empowers parents in the NICU. We thank our supporters and donors for allowing us to touch the lives of NICU families through our many support programs. If you've thought about donating we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization so your gift is tax deductible. 

A note from mom: 
"I have a daughter named Sadie who was born at 28wks she weighed 2lbs and spent almost 3 months in the NICU. She was born April 14th 2011 and although she has flourished in so many ways the signs of prematurity are stil there. I also have a son named Ransom who was also born 12 weeks early at 28 wks weighing 2lbs 9oz.With two micro preemies born less than a year apart you can believe that I thank God everyday for the blessings hes given me and also for the kindess people like you show for people who are in my situation, all I really seek is a small sense of being "normal" and when I see pictures of my two beautiful loves I only see normal.

The NICU stay with my daughter was a roller coaster of feelings. I was new to being a mom of a preemie and new to the NICU scene. I felt like it was a fog of never ending feelings, not knowing was what hurt the most, it made the days seem longer. After three months of ups and downs I finally got to bring my beauty home. Recently being back in the NICU with my son I was able to have more support. After I brought my daughter home I reached out to where I knew I would find support, the INTERNET. Being able to talk to parents that have been thru the NICU experince and have graduated was a wonderful thing. I felt as if they were actually sitting right along with me to help me thru it all. I was able to reach out on the days that I felt was not going so good when he had a "down day" I had the support I needed and I also had the support to help celebrate all the milestones he reached. To be honest I believe that the reason his stay was not as long as hers was because of me, I was a stronger me because of people like you who care about people like me. Thank you."

Volunteer NICU Photographer: Wendy Shears - Hamptonville, NC

A note from Wendy about the NICU graduate shoot:
"I had the pleasure of photographing Ransom and Sadie. They are doing so well that I was able to photograph them in the studio. Ransom was a bundle of joy and very good. Sadie is so beautiful and precious. The family had a crazy time getting to my studio due to a flat tire. But what was amazing was they never seemed bothered by it. They have been through so much that the little things didn't bother them. A great lesson. I had a great time with the family and I can't wait to share this experience with others."

We thank our volunteer for doing such an amazing job for this family as they continue to face a difficult road ahead. These images are property of Preemie Prints, our volunteer photographers, and our families. Please do not use for any purpose

Monday, May 21, 2012

"Love Is In The Air"

Sewing for NICU babies = LOVE, and it was in the air today! I received numerous pictures, calls, and emails from a few amazing volunteers all in reference to our sewing division. In College Station, Richmond, and Houston Tx sewing for NICU babies seemed to be on everyone's mind. After visiting on the phone this morning about Preemie Prints Sew & Craft with Melanie, who is currently helping to organize the sewing division; I received numerous emails, pictures, and new volunteer inquiries from people who would like to help us remotely. By the end of today, I was truly in awe of our volunteer's support and the Lord's obvious continued guidance of Preemie Prints.

We are so thankful for everyone's hard work, donations, time, dedication, and love for babies born prematurely or critically ill. Without volunteer support, we would not be --- so I send a special thank you to each person who makes up Preemie Prints Sew & Craft.

All of the pictures taken below are from volunteers who were working remotely today. We invite you to consider joining us as a remote volunteer. If you are local to Bryan College Station, Tx or don't mind driving and enjoy sewing or crafting in a group setting (sewing skills are not required), please join our group for monthly meetings that takes place every 1st Thursday of the month.  ~Amber

Upcoming Meeting Information
St. Joseph's Hospital | Basement room B | Thursday, June 7th | 6:15-8:00

Tina, Alannah, & precious little Logan hard at work today on NICU positioners and cuddlers!

Jen's brightly colored fleece purchase from today. This fleece is for the NICU positioners she is currently working on! We are always in need of fleece fabric so if this is something you might can help us with please email me

TIna & Alannah finished sewing 20 adorable positioners, now they just need to be filled! 

A precious preemie using our positioner in the NICU today! Thank you Morgan for sending us this picture of your baby boy. What an amazing blessing he is.

A little about our NICU positioners
Jen's Giraffe's are added to our NICU gift bags! Thanks for your help little Ruby!!

30 giraffes ready to stuff at our next meeting thanks to Jen & Ruby!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Preemie Prints NICU Photo Shoot: A Miracle ~ Baby Xander

Please enjoy these inspirational photos of a tiny NICU fighter and consider supporting our mission to share hope with families who have a baby born prematurely or critically ill. Our organization with our volunteers is blessed to be able to give this special gift to so many families. We thank our supporters and donors for allowing us to touch the lives of NICU families through our many support programs.

A note from Xander's mom: 
"Xander was a twin and at 11 days we lost his twin brother. He is still in the hospital and has yet to come home. Xander also loves his lollipops. He has been in 3 different hospitals and has had 6 surgeries. What is keeping him in the hospital for so long now is his chonic lung problems. The hospital he currently is in now is the closest he has been to us in the past 8 months and we have been able to see him alot more now. My husband and I are having to juggle time with our son who is 1.5 years old, I am in school, I am in the Marine Corps and back to work, as well as spending time with Xander. It is diffucult because every time we see Xander we need to make sure we have someone to watch our son because he isn't allowed in the NICU."

Volunteer Photographer: Anna Caryn - Wilmington, NC

A note from our volunteer:
"I will say this little man absolutely loved the camera! He was constantly following my lens as I was taking the photos. I really enjoyed my session with this family!"

We thank our volunteer for doing such an amazing job for this family as they continue to face a difficult road ahead. To our friends, fans, & supporters: please keep baby Xander & his family in your prayers! 
The following pictures are property of Preemie Prints, our volunteer photographers, and our families. Please do not use for any purpose

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Newsletter Archive - Updated

Vol. 1 Preemie Prints Newsletter -
Vol. 2 Preemie Prints Newsletter -
Vol. 3 Preemie Prints Newsletter -
Vol. 4 Preemie Prints Newsletter -
Vol. 5 Preemie Prints Newsletter -
Vol. 6 Preemie Prints Newsletter -

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Welcome New Photography Volunteers!

Heather Hughes
Heather Hughes Photography
Service Area: El Paso and Fort Bliss, TX

About Heather:
"I am a mother of four beautiful children. Thankfully they were all born healthy. I know not all families are as lucky. We have countless friends who spent time with sick babies in the NICU and I like to give families like them a glimmer of something positive during what is likely the hardest times of their lives. I am a natural light family and children's photographer. I have been in business for the last three years." 

Lindsey Klimek
Lindsey Klimek Photography
Service Area: Alexandria and St. Cloud, MN and Fargo, ND

About Lindsey:
"I want to be able to give the parents memories of the child's first few months. I have always loved photography, but jut recently started a business."

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What is a NICU H.O.P.E. Meeting?

Last night was our monthly NICU H.O.P.E. (Helping Other Parents Endure) Meeting at The College Station Medical Center. Our Brazos Valley meetings are held on a monthly basis - the 2nd Friday of every month from 6:15-8:00. Any family who has ever spent time in a neonatal intensive care unit is invited to attend, no matter the duration or outcome of your baby's stay. Last night's meeting was sponsored by Newk's Express Cafe. They graciously donated sandwiches, fruit salad, and desert for our meeting. The food was wonderful and the service excellent. We cannot thank Newk's enough for their amazing support, and after last night I'm sure they have some new fans!

Preemie Prints is a community of people who share 1 common bond: our journey's all began in the NICU - past or present - the NICU is what ties us all together. We have families who have spent only a few days in the NICU and others who have spent months. Some who have healthy toddlers running around, and others who face long roads ahead with therapies, surgeries, disability, and/or developmental delays. Many of our families had a NICU stay that ended in the tragic loss of their baby. We all come together once per month to meet up, visit, check in, share updates, ask questions, share dinner, and most of all support each other.

When a mom or dad walks into a NICU H.O.P.E. meeting they are immediately reminded that they are not alone in their journey. No matter where they are now, our Preemie Prints family is willing to offer support, lend a listening ear, look through photos, hear stories, share advice, inspire one another, recommend resources, and even shed tears together.

We are not a traditional support group. We are a friendly hope filled support community. We laugh, we cry, we talk, we vent, we share. So if you haven't joined us please consider doing so, and if you ever feel alone, remember you are not. ~Amber

Updates on meeting times and other family events can be found our our website, facebook page (events tab), or through the Bryan College Station group page.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Preemie Prints NICU Graduate Photo Shoot - Rochester, NY: Jackson

Please enjoy these inspirational photos of a tiny NICU fighter and consider supporting our mission to share hope with families who have a baby born prematurely or critically ill. Our organization with our volunteers is blessed to be able to give this special gift to so many families. We thank our supporters and donors for allowing us to touch the lives of NICU families through our many support programs.

A piece of Jackson's story from his mom: 
"Jackson was born at 4:30 am Christmas morning. He came without any notice, weighing 1lb 6oz. He was lucky to be at an amazing hospital with the most incredible NICU staff, at strong memorial hospital. Jackson was intubated for 10 weeks and we first held him on day 56. We had a lot of scary moments, laser eye surgery to correct ROP in both eyes, double hernia repair, clubbed foot correction and his main issue being his lung development. Jackson has been incredible, he proved us all how strong he is and although he was discharged on oxygen and I had to choose to stop working to take care of his medical concerns full time, he is healthy and continues to make amazing strides. We couldn't be more happy!!"

Volunteer Photographer: 

Nancy Langenbahn 
- Rochester, NY

And now the beautiful pictures. These pictures are property of Preemie Prints, our volunteer photographers, and our families. Please do not use for any purpose

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Preemie Prints NICU Positioners

Every month Preemie Prints volunteers meet at St. Joseph's hospital in Bryan, Texas to "craft & sew" for NICU families - both babies & moms! It's two hours that I look forward to every month and am so very thankful for each volunteer and mom who attends in support of NICU families, preemies, and babies in the Brazos Valley! We truly have a wonderful time. If you have been thinking about joining us we would love for you to. You don't need to know how to sew to join us because there are plenty of other things to help with like tracing patterns, cutting out fabric, filling positioners, and stuffing bunnies. Also, if you can't make meetings or live out of town/state we invite you to join us as a remote volunteer. We have many remote volunteers who sew on their own time and donate when they can. Join our group and we will send you more detailed information about our ongoing projects and how you can get involved. 

We just finished up 60 positioners that will be donated to our partner hospital NICUs. Our newest partner is McLane Children's Hospital in Temple Tx. This 60 bed level IV unit helps some of the tiniest preemies born. We are blessed to be a part of helping these tiny miracle babies & their families in Temple, Tx.

Please join us

When: meetings are held the 1st Thursday of every month 
Where: St. Joseph's Hospital Grant Education Center (basement) Room B
Time: 6:15 - 8:15 pm

What You Can Do: Caring For Your Baby in the NICU

Your baby came too early. Now you are trying to recover, possibly in a drug-induced haze, agonizing over her condition, standing helpless by her bedside. One of the most difficult experiences in the life of a parent is too watch your child suffer, and not be able to do anything about it.

If this is where you're at today, I've been there too. Take heart friend- there are ways that you can help and care for your baby, long before he is able to snuggle in your arms. Here are a few ideas:

1. Be there. Even though you can't hold him, and may feel useless, your presence is of utmost importance. Your baby recognizes your voice from the womb, and hearing you with him will be reassuring in his new scary world. Your presence also communicates your level of concern with the staff, they will know that you care and will seek to better equip and inform you in your NICU journey. It will be vital to your comfort and peace of mind to know as many of your baby's caregivers as well as possible. Lastly, the best way to become as knowledgeable as you can is to be present, asking questions and observing the doctors and nurses.

2. Get on your knees. Run to the LORD for healing and comfort, seek the face of the God who formed your precious baby in your womb and still is holding her in His hands. He knows, He cares, He is at work here. You will have the unique privilege of watching your baby's development week by week, a process normally hidden from human eye. You will see His miracle of life at work in a way that many will never see. Seek Him for grace and strength, find grace in the everlasting arms. In Him you will find the power and grace that you need to walk through this difficult journey.

3. Get rest. While it is important to be there, it is equally urgent to get good rest. You cannot help your baby when you are battling exhaustion and a weakened body; these factors will only add stress and weigh you down. Go home, get some sleep, eat good food. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

4. Pump breastmilk. Breastfed preemies flourish on a much higher level then formula fed. When your baby has breastmilk, his chances of developing the dreaded NEC infection are much lower. Your milk will keep his G.I tract healthy, aid in quicker development, and provide him with much needed immunities. Seek out a lactation consultant for help here, if your hospital does not provide one, La Leche League can help you to find one in your area (or at least provide you with some much needed information!). If your milk doesn't come in as quickly as you're told it should, do not stress out! This was a high stress area for me in the first few days of S' life. The sooner you relax, the better off your supply will be. Just follow the advice of your lactation consultant, and try to find a back-up plan if possible. If you really are unable to pump, ask your NICU staff about donor milk. The head doctor of our NICU ordered several ounces from a milk bank just in case, which helped me to relax and did increase my supply.

5. Read up. One of the best things I did in those early days was to purchase a couple of books on prematurity. I found Dr. Sear's The Premature Baby Book and Dr. Jen Gunter's The Preemie Primer to be especially beneficial. As I learned the medical jargon, what it really means, and what we were potentially going to be dealing with, I felt empowered and better prepared to advocate for my daughter.

6. Touch. Depending on how early your baby came, and how stable their condition is, you might not be able to touch or hold them for a long time. Ask the nurses about how you can safely touch your baby. With S, we were told to place a hand on her head and one on her feet and legs (no rubbing or patting as this irritates their fragile skin!) to comfort her, because it made her feel snug and secure like she would have been in my belly. At five days old I was able to kangaroo with her, which was a very healing experience for both of us. If you're unable to kangaroo for weeks or even longer, read about it, tell the doctors that you want to do it as soon as your baby is physically ready, and prepare by bringing a button down shirt to the hospital. When S was several weeks old, one of the Neonatologists really encouraged me by praising her extreme alertness. She explained that this was due to all of the touch and special care S had received from me. Let me tell you, that was a happy day for me in the NICU!

7. Express your desire to be involved, ask what you can do! Most nurses will teach you how to change your baby's diaper, give them a bath, take their temperature. Tell them that you want to do everything that you are allowed to do. They should be very happy to assist you in this way!

Ultimately you are essential to your baby. You may worry that your baby doesn't know you, that they will know their nurses better than their mother; I did. These feelings can be devastating. Rest assured, your baby does know you the best and need you the most! The first time I kangarood with S, her oxygen saturation was excellent, and she cried when they pulled her off of me at the end. It was the first time I felt like her mom; she wanted to stay with me. It was a truly precious moment. At 7 months old one of our favorite NICU nurses came to visit S- S started bawling and looking for mommy the second I handed her to the nurse. You may not feel like the mom right now, but someday soon you will. Never question this!

Do what you can do. At the end of the day, refuse to beat yourself up for what you didn't or couldn't do. Cherish whatever time you are given with your baby. And be sure to thank God for His mercies which are new every morning!

Rachel O'Neill is the proud mama of S, her little girl who came at 27 weeks weighing 1 pound, 15 ounces. She blogs about walking with Jesus, marriage, motherhood and housekeeping at The Purposeful Wife

Preemie Prints would like to thank and welcome new guest blogger Rachel! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Poems, Prayers, & Quotes For NICU Parents

A Few Inspirational Poems, Scriptures, and Quotes for you today...

You were born with wings 
wrapped translucent 
around your naked skin 
waiting to unfurl- 
to fly away 
though we ached to have you stay. 

You were born with wings 
so we tethered you with tubes 
IV's and ventilators 
NG tubes and oxygen 
labwork and broviacs 
surgeries and suctioning 
and finally blood... 
so much blood. 

You were born with wings 
and we tried to tear them off 
watching in horror 
the times they opened wide- 
holding tiny hands 
as though we held your soul 
sitting at your side. 

You were born with wings 
but at last you grew strong 
and when your wings slipped off, 
they whispered to the ground 
lost in a pile of cloudy x-rays, 
and we found it wasn't lines that kept you, 
but the hand of God himself.

                      -Elisabeth Snell

The Dirt Road
Cruising along an endless stretch of highway, pavement hard and smooth. 
People staring straight ahead, not taking their eyes off the road.
The lines whisk past as dots that hypnotise, so boring and routine. 
Without challenge, without change and such a waste of time. 
Then suddenly, without warning, a detour sign ahead. 
I turn the wheel, screech and skid, down a dirt road I know not where. 
Stones fly from under my tires as I struggle to gain control.

I must slow down and keep my head, try to stay on course.
Lost, frightened and all alone on some lonesome backwoods road. 
The bumps, ruts, twists and turns, will I ever make it through? 
I take a deep breath, cautiously, progress, for what's ahead I do not know. 
Yet as I go, I start to note the beauty along this road. 
Then here and there I begin to see some others travelling here too. 
They smile and nod with a knowing look, I no longer feel so alone.

There is a kinship here, an understanding too, that sets us apart from the rest. 
Our road has the same destination, just a slightly different route.
We've learned some lessons, gained some skills that could only be learned here. 
This road has taught us how rough life can be, but has made us much stronger indeed. 

Cynthia M. Bissell


Dear NICU Nurse...  "Dear NICU Nurse, To be honest, I never knew you existed. Back when our birth plan included a fat baby, balloons and a two-day celebratory hospital stay, I had never seen you. I had never seen a NICU. Most of the world hasn’t. There may have been a brief, “This is the Neonatal floor” whilst drudging by on a hospital tour. But no one really knows what happens behind those alarm-secured, no-window-gazing, doors of the NICU. Except me. And you.I didn’t know that you would be the one to hold and rock my baby when I wasn’t there.  I didn’t know that you would be the one to take care of him the first 5 months of his life as I sat bedside, watching and wishing that I was you. I didn’t know that you would be the one to hand him to me for the first time, 3 weeks after he was born. That you would know his signals, his faces, and his cries. Sometimes, better than me. I didn’t know you. I didn’t know how intertwined our lives would become. I know you now.  I’ll never be able to think of my child’s life, without thinking of you. I know that in the NICU, you really run things. That your opinions about my baby’s care often dictates the course and direction or treatment as you consult with the neonatologist every day. I know that you don’t hesitate to wake a sometimes sleeping doctor in the nearby call room because my baby’s blood gas number is bad. Or because his color is off. Or because he has had 4 bradys in the last 45 minutes. Or because there’s residual brown gunk in his OG tube.I know now that youare different from other nurses.I know that, at times, you are assigned to just one baby for 12 hours straight. You are assigned to him because he is the most critically sick and medically fragile baby in the unit.  I’ve seen you sit by that baby’s bedside for your entire shift. Working tirelessly to get him comfortable and stable. Forgoing breaks while you mentally will his numbers to improve. I’ve seen you cry with his family when he doesn’t make it. I’ve seen you cry alone.I’ve seen you, in an instant, come together as a team when chaos ensues. And let’s be honest, chaos and NICU are interchangeable words. When the beeper goes off signaling emergency 24 weeker triplets are incoming. When three babies in the same pod are crashing at the same time. When the power goes off and you’re working from generators. In those all too often chaotic moments, you know that time is more critical in this unit than any other, and you don’t waste it. You bond together instantly as a team, methodically resolving the crisis until the normal NICU rhythm is restored. Yes. I know you now.  I’ll never be able to give in return what you have given to me. Thank you for answering my endless questions, even when I had asked them before. Thank you for your skill, you are pretty great at what you do. Thank you for fighting for my baby. Thank you for pretending like it was normal when I handed you a vial of just pumped breast milk. Thank you for agreeing to play Beatles lullabies in my baby’s crib when I was gone. Thank you for waking the doctor. Thank you for texting me pictures of my sweet miracle, even when it was against hospital policy. Thank you for crying with me on the day we were discharged. Most of the world still doesn’t know what you do. They can’t understand how integral you are to the positive outcomes of these babies who started life so critically ill. But I do. I know you now. I will never forget you. In fact, our story can never be told without mentioning you. So the next time you wave your access card to enter the place that few eyes have seen, know that you are appreciated. I know you, and you are pretty amazing." Your fan forever, A NICU Mom

Saint Theresa's Prayer
May today there be peace within 
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. 
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. 
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. 
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.