Friday, October 4, 2013

A renewed perspective

My girls are almost 4 years old. It has been 4 years since I sat in the NICU, holding them, crying, worrying, praying, and doing everything in my power to help them. To bring them home with me. We did come home, it was hard at first, but day by day they got stronger. They are now extremely healthy and very active almost 4 year olds.

Time has passed, but I am still living in the NICU world through Preemie Prints. We offer support to NICU families through many different programs. Photography, handmade items, group support, online support, and prayer. Although I know what these parents are facing and our organization offers so much support to them, not actually being IN the NICU can make a volunteer like myself feel distant from the difficult realities. Running any organization - there are so many aspects to think about - not only the outreach, but the administration, the marketing, the websites, the planning of events and meetings, making sure we have the supplies we need, special projects, the list goes on. So when a day like last Wednesday comes along that renews my spirit and energy for what I have chosen to do through Preemie Prints, it is very inspiring & refreshing.

In the beginning I had the time to actually volunteer for some of our charitable photography shoots. Photography was what inspired Preemie Prints all together. It was what inspired this organization. We quickly branched out to offer more support, but a few precious NICU pictures is what sparked the idea for PP. After my girls started growing up and the organization started to flourish, I stopped helping with the photography. It became an even more distant thought after I was pregnant with my son. So what I'm trying to say is, it's been a while since I've been a part of one of our NICU or NICU graduate photo shoots.

My cousin's baby girl, Laycee, was born full term by C-Section. When the doctors delivered her and she came into our world she wasn't breathing. They bagged her and got her to the small NICU where she was born. She was born with (CDH) or Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. Very shortly after her birth she was life flighted to Memorial Herman Children's NICU in Houston, Tx. She underwent 3 surgeries. She was there many days. I will save her full story for her sneak peek blog post because her amazing mom has shared it. With prayer from her family and friends, an amazing team of doctors and nurses, and reliance on our Lord's plan - Laycee fought and pulled through. She is a true miracle, she and her family have inspired me.

Laycee's mother, and countless others, had to watch their baby undergo surgery multiple times, had to see their baby cut open and watch the incision heal little by little day by day. Her strength and the strength of so many NICU & angel moms - is unexplainable in human words. It is God at work. God holding these parents together, giving them the strength they need to make it through. It is amazing.

Laycee's PP NICU graduate photo shoot took place in my home with one of our amazing volunteers, Ashley Diamond Siegert of FigMint Photography. I had the opportunity to be a part of it by just watching. I got to witness what a NICU grad shoot is without being behind the camera, and wow did it make an impact. I came away renewed in our mission. Renewed in what these shoots mean & why we offer them.

I sometimes wonder if people understand the reasons behind why we gift NICU graduate photo shoots. Although I could always give an answer, by witnessing it instead of being the mom or taking the pictures, I've again felt the meaning in my heart and it's beautiful. I'm tearing up as I'm writing this. As I sat there looking at Laycee so perfect and angelic, here with us by God's will, and her mother so strong and brave; I saw abundant love. A connection, not just between mom and baby, but one between mom and miracle. That deep down feeling, that you can see in a mom whose baby fought so hard to be here, is captured in these pictures that we give. These parents aren't just proud of their baby; they are in complete and utter awe of their baby's strength. To have their baby with them, like so many do not get, is the gift of a lifetime. From birth to 1 year of age we photograph their miracles in a beautiful way and that is a gift they will also treasure forever.

Every baby is a miracle. NICU babies & preemies just have a harder fight, some pull through and some have short miraculous lives. We honor their life, fight, and strength through this gift of NICU graduate photography.


Behind the scenes
Mom & baby

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