Sunday, August 25, 2013

Miracle Milk

#Breastmilk #Miracles!! So if you've been around Preemie Prints for any amount of time - you know we love miracles. Miracles happen all of the time surrounding the NICU, preemies, and our precious angels. This post is devoted to Miracle Milk. Enjoy!

Here is just one story is about a baby boy. His mom was born with a rare bone disease and not expected to be able to carry a baby. She was determined and wanted her child so she moved forward! She gave birth to a baby boy. Shortly after birth he contracted NEC, which we all know is deadly. "Thanks to donated breast milk - a natural antibiotic - and a team of dedicated hospital staff, the 28-year-old mother and son are now out of danger and doing well." Read their story here.

Here are some things you might not know about Miracle Milk (breast milk) :)

1. Breast milk changes to meet the specific needs of your child.   Moms with premature babies make milk that is much higher in fat content and protective antibodies, for example. It's awesome that it’s adaptable. The milk changes as the baby ages!

2. Breast milk becomes more watery on hot days to help with hydration!

3. Breast milk can be used for all sorts of things! These are some of the things moms wrote in and told us they've used breast milk for: a decongestant, diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, eczema, acne, and bug bites! I used it to help relieve my son's blocked tear duct. Use a little in a milk bath to help with diaper rash and red bumps common in infants.

4. Breast milk tastes better than formula and can help your baby develop a better palate for solid foods

5. Breast milk is not only packed with nutrients, it also has antibodies which help fight off illnesses and protects from future illnesses.  It is more like human blood than cow’s milk because it has white blood cells. It’s nutrition, comfort, and immune system, all in one.

6. Breast milk helps fight tooth decay. In fact, all efforts by researchers to grow bacteria in breast milk (including the bacteria that causes tooth decay) were completely unsuccessful.

7. It has day-specific ingredients that stimulate activity in the infant, and other night-time components that help the baby to rest. Read more here!

8. 3 different kinds of stem cells are in breast milk. Dr Cregan said the discovery of immune stem cells was the "most exciting development", adding, "It's quite possible that immune cells in breast milk can survive digestion and end up in the infant's circulation.

9. Alpha-lactalbumin
Alpha-lac causes unstable fast-growing cells (such as cancer cells) to self-destruct. That's in your milk! The fact that your breast milk causes cancer cells to commit suicide is awesome!

10. BF for flying with an infant because if they are nursing during takeoff/landing, then the constant swallowing helps their ears pop and adjust.

11. The LOVE hormone is released. Extra oxytocin for babe and mom!!!!

A Preemie's Story - Baby Hunter

We love to share preemie, NICU, & angel stories with our readers! Reading stories written by other NICU parents is therapeutic for current parents, past parents still coping, and also for the writer. It is a wonderful way to release emotions and to have your story continue to make a difference in the lives of others for years to come. We're happy to share stories like these, so if it's something you think you may want to do please use the contact button on the right of the page or leave us a message on facebook. 

Baby Hunter's Preemie Story:

I'm a type 1 diabetic, since I was 9. We had our daughter in May 2011, 39 weeks being induced at 6 lbs 15 oz. We found out the summer of 2012 we were expecting again, and it was boy -  we were so excited! This pregnancy was a lot harder and more complicated than the first. I had felt sick all Sunday, Monday I had my regular OB check up along with my high risk check up, didn't make it to either. I was so sick and started throwing up, felt as if I had to go to the bathroom and push, got scared and told my husband I had to go to the hospital, his mom picked me up so he could stay with our daughter. We showed up at the hospital at 1:30 pm on Monday, and I was 4cm! I had been in labor all weekend apparently!

Hunter Aaron was born at 34 weeks and 4 days at 3:43pm on February 11, 2013. I got ready to push but his heart wasn't having it. I ended up with an emergency c-section. Both of his adrenal glands were hemorrhaging, along with a blood clot in his left arterial vein. He was on oxygen and a feeding tube. His blood clot passed after two weeks. He was in the NICU for exactly one month! As of today he is almost 7 months (5 1/2 corrected) and is healthy and happy! He is the happiest baby I have ever seen and his sister just loves being a big sister!

You are precious baby Hunter!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Virtual Run/Walk Option For Little Monsters 5K

After a few inquiries about a virtual run option we are opening the door & inviting Preemie Prints supporters across Texas & the nation to join in The Little Monsters 5K For A Cause! Here's how our virtual 5K will work:

1. Form a team for the 5K or register as an individual

2. . RSVP to the Little Monsters 5K facebook event (if your not on facebook no worries! Pictures will be posted on the website too!!)

3. Register via Active

4. If you formed a team, we'll create a webpage for your team to share with friends and family (see a sample here). Just email your team name, pictures, and about section to

5. Schedule your race day/time & plan your 5K route!

6. Your team walks/runs/or strolls the required distance on your own time at your own place (we'd love for you to schedule your virtual walk/run on October 26th (day of the home run event) but anytime in October is great!

4. You report back to us with your time, and pictures.

5. Once your time & pictures are posted we will mail all virtual team members a t-shirt! One group photo plaque will be sent out to the team captain! (After October 27th)

We hope to "see" you at the race & sincerely thank you for your support. Without participants & supporters our organization cannot exist, so you truly are making a different in the lives of many preemie, NICU, and angel parents by participating in this fun event. In addition you are raising awareness and getting your family & friends involved in a great cause!

This is an October 5K costume virtual run or walk. The event is being held on October 26, 2013 anywhere you choose! Participants are invited to dress up for this fun run for a cause and also encouraged to form teams, make T-shirts in honor or memory of their baby, and make signs/posters.

12 and under run/walk/ride for free!

This event is being held in support of and to raise awareness for those families who've had a baby born prematurely or critically ill and have had to spend any amount of time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In addition this run/walk supports community angel families (those who've had a pregnancy or infant loss). October is Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month and together we celebrate the lives of many angels. Preemie Prints has a mission to support preemie, NICU, and angel families through a variety of outreach programs across the nation. Learn more about our programs here. All proceeds help us to continue our mission and help more NICU families.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Welcome New Volunteer Photographer,Randi!

Please help us give a warm welcome to our newest volunteer photographer, Randi! Randi will be helping give the gift of photography in Georgia.

Randi Malone Photography

Service Area: Northern Georgia Area, Northeast Georgia Regional Hospital, Northside Hospital

About Randi:
"I want to volunteer with Preemie Prints, because I feel a calling to help every child to live a long and happy life. I hope to become a neonatal physicians assistant and do photography on the side and this is just perfect for me. I have been a professional photographer's assistant, an intern and now have my own business. I am beyong happy to volunteer and share hope with these. families."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Racin With Bailen 5K Team

Team Racin for Bailen is celebrating the wonderful NICU experience we had with Bailen. Bailen Michael Kocurek was in the Texas Children's Hospital Level 3 NICU for almost 3 months.  He was treated for Hydrops Fetalis.  He was 5 weeks early, and had fluid under his skin and around his lungs.  He went through 8 chest tubes, a VATS procedure, a month on ventilation, and many x-rays. He had so much support from family, friends, and hospital staff. We were blessed to have such wonderful care.  By walking/running in this race, we want to celebrate Bailen's good health, and his experience in the NICU!

Thanks for joining our team!
Marsha Kocurek

Team Members:
Marsha Kocureck
Savanah Sanchez 
Anthony & Tanya Muzny
Victoria Perez

Racin With Bailen Team Donation

July 2013 - Preemie, NICU, Angel Inspiration & Information Archive

Highlights/Archive for July 2013 -  facebook....

One of the best things in the world: when someone you love holds your hand  ... or finger  

Any friends in the Houston area interested in having a giraffe making party or have fabric to donate? We are trying to get our Sew & Craft group there up and running  Jen Please email if you are interested in helping with Preemie Prints sew & craft!

Hightlights from out Houston June H.O.P.E meeting

After 42 days in the NICU, Piper and her family are glad she is home! You can read about her story and see her Preemie Prints sneak peaks here. Thank you, Savannah Grace Photography for providing these precious moments.  Sherri

Isn't this so true for our fierce little fighters?

Some NICU grads and friends at our July Bryan-College Station HOPE meeting

Thank you to Fazoli's of College Station, Tx For sponsoring our July NICU H.O.P.E. Meeting & supporting NICU families!!

We enjoyed speaking to the NICU/L&D staff at the new College Station Scott & White Hospital today! We're looking forward to being a part of their NICU and offering additional support to families. We also had a chance to see the Preemie Prints photos lining the walls of the NICU and loved them!! We welcome them to BCS.

A set of triplets spent a month in the St. Joseph's NICU. That green tube is a positioner made by our Preemie Prints Sew & Craft group. Awesome to see they are being used to help these tiny miracles ♥ Jen
Our newest set of triplets went home over the weekend, after about a month in our NICU. Read about their journey on our blog:

Here's our latest NICU Grad Photo Shoot of sweet little Eleanor. You can read more about her amazing journey on our blog by clicking the link below. Special thank you to Tammy at Fraley Photography for these precious photos.

Sweet donation we just received! These are beautiful handmade crochet baby blankets! Thank you so much to the special person who sent them to us. 

Handmade gifts displayed at Scott & White open house. These are the gifts we will be donating to families!

Every baby is a miracle, preemies just had to work a little harder at it!
Good morning!! In or out of the NICU, I Hope everyone has a blessed Saturday with lots of happy moments!

July Houston NICU Hope Meeting pictures!

"Gram by gram we cheered when she gained weight..." Little Zoey beat the odds. You can read more about her story here. Special thanks to Andrea Bacle Photography for capturing beautiful moments for this beautiful family. ~Sherri

Registration is up!! Lets run or walk for our preemies, NICU babies and and angel babies. Spread the word to share awareness and hope 

View event on Facebook here

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Darling Dawson's NICU Grad Photo Shoot

Please enjoy our inspirational photos and consider supporting our mission to share hope with families who have a baby born prematurely or critically ill. Our programs include an online support group, the gift of photography, group events and meetings, information, and email support. Our mission is to connect parents and let them know they are not alone. We thank our supporters, volunteers, and donors for allowing us to touch the lives of NICU, preemie, and angel families. 

We pray these special memories will help the parents to remember how strong they were in overcoming a crisis situation.

A note from Mom:
"I was scheduled to have a C-Section on July 10th, but went in for my 36 week appointment and my blood pressure was elevated. I figured my doctor would continue to monitor me knowing that I was a nurse and that she trusted my judgement and send me home on what was supposed to be bed rest... But I didn't expect her to say that I would be having a baby next week. I was re-scheduled for a C-Section at 37 weeks exactly and Dawson was born at 7:46am on June 25th. He was a big boy even at three weeks early. He weighed 8 pounds 13 ounces and was 21 inches long. I briefly got tot see Dawson when he was born, but shortly after that my husband carried him into the nursery where he only stayed for a few hours before being transferred to the NICU. Dawson had Respiratory Distress Syndrome. He started off on oxygen, but soon after had to be put on the ventilator. He was on a ventilator for about 4 days, and when he was ready for it to be taken out, he nearly pulled the tube out himself! He stayed on oxygen for another three days and battled his bilirubin being high. At one week old he was ready to be home! Dawson came home July 2nd...just in time to pop fireworks! :-)"

Volunteer Photographer:
A note from Larry:
"I drove to Dawson's house in Franklin for the shoot to try and keep his routine as normal as possible. Dawson's mom, dad and older brother were very helpful before, during and after the photo session. Dawson was born at 37 weeks and was in the NICU on a vent for several days. He was 8 weeks old at the shoot, an age at which a lot of babies would rather not "pose" for extended periods, but not Dawson! He slept soundly the whole time and allowed us to move him several times without waking up, or even acting like we were bother him! This family was just awesome to work with and as you can see from the pictures, Dawson's older brother, Andan,  LOVES him very much. These two will have lots of fun together as Dawson gets older!"

The bible verse Dawson rests upon:
 "For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD."
1 Samuael 1:27-28

Monday, August 19, 2013

Claire-Bears 5K Fundraising Team

The Claire-Bears

A picture from Claire's Preemie Prints NICU grad photo shoot with volunteer Malisa Phillips

Claire was born at 23 weeks and 5 days and was 1 lb 11.5 oz. and 12 inches. Literally as long as a ruler. She has come so far since birth. She still has many Doctors but you wouldn't know it by looking at her. She has had 2 surgeries and possibly another in the future.  She is a happy 2 year old and her weight is caught up. She spent 89 days in the NICU and has not had a hospital stay since but don't  misunderstand, I know how lucky we are that she has made it this far with out many issues. 

If it were not for the Preemie Prints network and support, I don't know how I would have gotten through it. I had no idea how often babies where born into the NICU, much less how often a preemie or micro preemie was born, until I went through it myself. I don't want anyone to feel alone and want to take something so important out of the dark and bring it to light! I want to spread hope, and I am lucky for everyone to be on the team! I thank those that can't make it, who have been there to support us and keep us positive, even when it gets annoying. It does sometimes because of frustration. 

I am grateful for all who join The Claire-Bears in person and in spirit because they have been amazing support! Very excited to do this 5k for an amazing cause! LETS SPREAD HOPE. 

We are excited to have you on the team & can't wait to meet you!

Cynthia Reid

Our goal is to raise $200.00 to help support NICU families. 

I would love to support and join the team 
by making a donation today.

Claire-Bears 5K Team Donation

ideas for fundraisers
Free thermometers
to track your cheerleader fundraising efforts

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

LIttle Camryn's NICU Grad Shoot

Please enjoy our inspirational photos and consider supporting our mission to share hope with families who have a baby born prematurely or critically ill. Our programs include an online support group, the gift of photography, group events and meetings, information, and email support. Our mission is to connect parents and let them know they are not alone. We thank our supporters, volunteers, and donors for allowing us to touch the lives of NICU, preemie, and angel families. 

We pray these special memories will help the parents to remember how strong they were in overcoming a crisis situation.

A note from Mom:
"Our NICU journey was brief, which was amazing to our NICU doctors and our pediatrician. I struggled with preterm labor with this pregnancy receiving progesterone injections weekly, steroids, month-long meds and modified bed rest. Even with all of those measures Camryn insisted on arriving at 35 weeks at whopping 5lbs. She was taken directly to the NICU, as it was the hospital's policy. She required use of the heater and oxygen in the isolette, as well as antibiotics and bili-light treatments. She was a fighter from the beginning, though, nursing like a champ and discharged from the NICU at 4 days old."

Volunteer Photographer:
Lindsey Shelburne - College Station

A note from Lindsey:
"Camryn and her family were a joy to work with! Camryn has two older sisters that I know will keep her busy. They love her with their whole hearts and are so glad to have her. Camryn is a little doll. She is a very happy baby and loves to smile at her sisters. I couldn't imagine them any other way!"

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Welcome 2 New Photographers!

Please help us give a warm welcome to, not one, but TWO new photographers!

We are thrilled that Larry Field Photography will be joining our Preemie Prints family to help give the gift of photography in Texas.

Service Area: Bryan/College Station, TX

About Larry:
"I am a father of four and grandfather of five, and I've been involved in photography for as long as I can remember. I've been doing photography professionally off and on for a little over 2 years now. Late last year I decided to include newborn photography and have loved doing so. To me, it's an extension of what I do as a father and grandfather, capturing those amazing images of the miracle of a new baby. Being married to a newborn nursery nurse has given me the opportunity to know many NICU nurses, and hear the stories of the babies these nurses care for. I really look forward to the opportunity to work with Preemie Prints and give parents who have babies in the NICU a little ray of sunshine through my photography of their precious baby."

View Larry's past Preemie Prints Sessions

Lisa M Grace Photography has gladly accepted our invitation to join our amazing group of volunteer photographers. Lisa will be helping us carry out our mission in Missouri!

Service Area: Kansas City, MO

About Lisa:

"Why do I want to volunteer with Preemie Prints?

Because no one tries to have a child in the NICU. No one becomes pregnant and hopes that it ends extremely early with a traumatic NICU stay, wonder from one day to the next if your child will make it to the next day. And even if she or he will ever come home. After delivering my daughter at 29 weeks, I developed a passion for preemies and their parents and I feel that if I had to go through that, then maybe I can help someone else currently going through it. Give them the sense of hope that seemed to lack during my journey. The hope that it can and will be ok. That their child can overcome this too. I just want them to know that there are others out there who have been through this too and understand the pain of watching their child grow in an incubator instead of their belly.

My photography background is short. I developed an interest in photography in July of 2012 with the goal of capturing my children as they grew. I wanted to remember their childhood, the emotions it brought. The good and the bad and I wanted to capture if visually. I am entirely self-taught and still learning the art-form. I love to just capture life, the special moments that make up our day. As my skills grew, so did my desire to combine my passion for preemies with my joy for photography."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sweet Kelsey's NICU Grad Photo Session

Please enjoy our inspirational photos and consider supporting our mission to share hope with families who have a baby born prematurely or critically ill. Our programs include an online support group, the gift of photography, group events and meetings, information, and email support. Our mission is to connect parents and let them know they are not alone. We thank our supporters, volunteers, and donors for allowing us to touch the lives of NICU, preemie, and angel families. 

We pray these special memories will help the parents to remember how strong they were in overcoming a crisis situation.

A note from Mom:
"Our little girl overcame so much in such a short time. It's a miracle she wasn't born at 26 weeks when my water broke. She was a fighter from the beginning. Kelsey was born at 31 weeks and 4 days. She was only 3 pounds 11 ounces. She is our miracle baby."

Volunteer Photographer:
Dina Farmer - Tucson, AZ

A note from Dina:
"I am very shocked with how far the family was willing to drive to meet me to take photographs of sweet little Kelsey. Unfortunately the city that the family lives in is not big enough to house a NICU, so in most cases families are brought to Tucson to be placed at one of the bigger NICU facilities. In this case the family, by the time Kelsey was almost 2 months old were used to driving back and forth between Tucson and their home. I have to say this day we were so luck to have her still be such a sleepy baby. She slept almost the entire session except for one of two little peeks to see what was going on around her. You can tell that her older brother is in love with her and I'm sure so happy to have a little sister to play with and protect as they get older. I have to say this little girl is so strong and lucky to have such a beautiful and wonderful family! It was also so lovely to talk to this sweet family about their story."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Preemie Story: The Roller Coaster That Never Ends

Shared with us by:
Valkyrie Schmidt
August 4, 2013

Doctors and parents alike have often been quoted calling the life of a premature baby a roller coaster ride, starting at the crucial moments the baby is born. They say that by the time you are awake and aware enough to know what’s going on, you know in your heart it’s too late to do anything but hang on for the ride. For me, it was well before that; during the time leading up to my daughter’s birth at approximately 26 weeks. She was born because she wasn’t growing in my womb, and I had such severe preeclampsia, both of our heart rates were dropping drastically, and the doctors were afraid I would start seizing.

I was wheeled in to the OR, given the epidural, and an emergency C-section later, my daughter was born. Sadly, I was so heavily medicated I don’t remember most of it. I couldn’t touch my daughter because her skin hadn’t even grown over her, and I was so drugged that I’m told she cried, but I don’t even have that to remember.

Fast forward to the next day. The drugs had started to wear off, and I was wheeled into the NICU for the first time ever. I had to wash my hands in the large, metal sinks, then put on hand sanitizer. When you first open the door to the NICU, you notice it’s very dark, and mostly quiet, save for a few lucky babies who were born strong enough to cry and be in a crib. You smell that so powerful scent of sanitizing chemicals, so thick you can almost taste it burning in the back of your nose and eyes, mingling with the salty tears you’re trying so hard not to shed. You see yourself reflected in the faces of the other parents: the wide, pained eyes; the hurried and distracted pacing, as if just sitting could end your child’s life.

I remember so vividly her little naked shape. She was so very red, even under the iridescent blue of the bilirubin lights; because her skin had not formed. She had what looked like the smallest sunglasses in the world, to shield her still-sealed eyes from that unforgiving light.

As you sit and pray, you hear the constant sounds of the monitors and machines of yours and every other child in the NICU. So often the alarms sounded, and everyone’s heart stopped; praying it wasn’t their child, and that whoever’s alarm it was, they would survive. That’s part of why they call it “the roller coaster ride”, because every child has good days, and bad days. You just had to pray that on those bad days, they still fought to survive, and that you wouldn’t have to suffer the ultimate sorrow.

One of the worst feelings in those first weeks, and maybe longer is that you can’t touch your child, for just to touch would break their paper-thin skins and kill them. You must console yourself to touching the hard plastic of the isolette, or the soft cloth of a receiving blanket and you wear it to leave your scent on it; to place in the isolette for them, to comfort them as the suffer and struggle to survive.

After the draining weeks turn into months, and you have suffered through surgeries, scares, pain, and fear; first you become numb. Then, if you are lucky, you get hope. Hope from the start is what keeps you from falling into despair every time you glance up from your baby to see another’s parents sobbing across the room. Hope is what makes you forge friendships with the parents whose baby is right next to yours. And hope, after those awful months, is what brings your baby home.

My daughter came home 4 and a half months after birth, and I remember as I walked out of the sterile hospital, and into the warm early September breeze, I was terrified, but excited. I could hold her, feel her warmth against me as often as I wanted. I could smell the airy sweetness of her, almost like a doughnut or powdered sugar. I could see her, day and night; wake up and she would be there, breathing so softly in the bassinet next to the bed. It is definitely a roller coaster ride; but it is also the ride of a lifetime.