Friday, July 31, 2015

Emma Monet's NICU Photo Shoot

Please enjoy Preemie Prints' families’ inspirational story & photos. 
Consider supporting our mission to share hope with families who have a baby born prematurely or critically ill. We thank our supporters, Preemie Prints volunteers, and donors for allowing us to continue touching the lives of NICU, preemie, and angel families.

We pray these special memories from Preemie Prints 
will help families heal and remember how strong 
they were in overcoming their NICU journey together.

“My daughter's name is Emma Monet and she was born on April 26, 2015 at 24 weeks gestational age. She was born at 1lb 15oz and is now 5lbs 3ozs living at Tacoma General Hospital in Tacoma Washington where she will continue to grow stronger until her original due date; August 10, 2015.
 Several weeks ago, life looked so very different. Never did we imagine, that we would soon be in the midst of what can only be described as our worst nightmare. I was pregnant and feeling great, ready to work 2 days and then be off to Mexico with a dear friend for a long weekend. This was not our plan. Looking back on it though, all we can see is God’s hand, His provision, leaving us nothing but thankful to be truly living His plan.

Thankfully, I decided to see my OB one more time before heading out of the country. Dressed in scrubs, I was hoping the appointment would be quick and I’d make it to work on time. I had no pain and no real symptoms that made anything seem like it was seriously wrong. It was about 10:15am on Tuesday, April 21st. I was 24 weeks pregnant. Baby girl’s heart rate was great, I measured exactly where I was supposed to and then the midwife took a quick look inside “just to make sure”. You could see it in her eyebrows and then the change in her voice – “well you’re going to the hospital, but it won’t be to work. You’ve started dilating and this is very serious.”
 It was the craziest thing, because instead of being overcome with terror and breaking down in tears, all I felt was this overwhelming peace and clarity of mind. I already seemed to have a game plan in my head for this exact scenario…. “call Michael to come and pick you up and call Scott at work and have him meet us at the hospital.”

I was at St Joes for about 2 hrs before they transferred me to TG. There was a whirlwind of doctors and ultrasounds during that time, as well as quick hugs from my work family that were much needed as I was wheeled out on a stretcher and transported by ambulance a mile down the road.

Upon arriving to Labor and Delivery at TG, I was again met by a series of the doctors and nurses who went right to work. They literally put me on my head in bed and did another series of ultrasounds. The ultrasound at that time showed that I was already 3cm dilated and that my membranes/sac holding our sweet baby girl in had already started to come out. I was started on magnesium (which feels awful to get) and nifedipine to help stop the labor from progressing, given steroids to jump start baby girl’s lungs and to give her best chance, antibiotics to prevent infection for the exposed membranes and closely monitored for hours until they felt I was stable enough to move out of a delivery room. Throughout all of that, again, Scott and I both just felt this overwhelming peace.

That first night we were quickly surrounded by friends and family. The way our village has responded to our time in need is something we will never, ever forget. There was no hesitation on anyone’s behalf, only love and support. We will forever be grateful. I couldn’t see it, but for multiple days there were 30+ people in the waiting area. We were covered in prayer almost immediately and so many different things from meals, to financial assistance, to decorations and socks, were taken care of without us even having to think about asking. It was incredible to not have to worry about a single thing, because during that time my goal, and only focus, was to stay pregnant and to do that for as long as possible.

Only being 24 weeks pregnant, Scott and I thought we had all kinds of time to keep preparing for having a baby. We hadn’t taken any classes; we had only started to think about the nursery, and had only a few conversations about baby names.

With the sudden change in our situation, I remember being somewhere in a dream/wake state around 2am that first night. I was praying and asking God to give our sweet girl a name. My prayer was that it would be one with meaning and purpose. It was so vivid at the time and so clearly God spoken, “Emma Monet”. This was not a name that Scott and I had discussed before, but it was definitely her name. Emma means “whole” and “God answered”. Monet means “to be heard” and is also the middle name of one of the most strong and Godly woman that I know. As soon as I shared it with Scott, he knew too that was her name. We believe there is a promise in her name and one that she will boldly live into.

My second day in the hospital continued with me tilted on my head in bed. We were blessed by a prayer time where several of our high schools students and friends came and prayed over us, anointing both me and Emma with Hawaiian tropic oil (one of my all time favorite smells). Along with that, family and friends continued to surround us. God’s presence filled the room and, even with times of tears, fear and anxiety, we were calmed and reminded of His goodness and His grace.
Doctors came and went – with the idea that they would just keep monitoring me for any further indications that I was going into labor. There were none for several days. It was boring and uneventful – just the way we like it!

Scott filled our days with beautiful scripture and words of encouragement he found and always read whatever was sent in from all of you. What a blessing… thank you.
Saturday evening, however, around 8pm, things changed and I started feeling some intermittent pain in my back. At first I wasn’t sure if it was contractions, because I was having so much hip and back pain already from being laid up in bed. I had the nurse put me back on the monitor and sure enough – the contractions started coming more and more regularly. By 9pm they were consistent and very noticeable – I was in labor.

They moved me again to a delivery room and assembled the team. The NICU staff came in and set everything up to be ready at a moment’s notice for Emma’s arrival. I was monitored closely from here on out.

The contractions continued to grow in intensity and consistency. I was started back on the magnesium to help provide neuro protection for Emma. By 2am, Sunday morning, I was fully dilated and the drs thought for sure she would come at any time. I breathed and relaxed through each contraction with a full team of family members surrounding my bedside. Again, we had a huge group gathered in the waiting room, anxiously awaiting Emma’s arrival.
By 11am on Sunday, the doctors decided it was better for Emma to come out and it was time to start pushing. They did another ultrasound to make sure our girl had stayed head down. Our prayer was answered and she was.

Before she was delivered, we were told multiple times by doctors and nurses not to expect to hear any crying or sound. “24 weekers don’t cry” they said. Ok, we were prepared for that.
Sunday, April 26th at 11:27am – Emma Monet entered this world and, living up to her name “to be heard”, our fierce little one gave multiple cries. I will never forget the sound. 60 seconds later, after getting as much blood from the placenta into her body, the cord was cut and she was whisked to the other side of the room where the NICU team immediately went to work. They stabilized her and we were able to see her up in the NICU about 2 hours later.

She weighed 1lb 15 ounces and was 12.1 inches long at birth.
Scott and I look back on those 5 days and are so grateful to see God’s hand.

We are thankful that I felt the nudge to have an appointment before leaving the country.
We are thankful to be at TG where our Emma is receiving the best care possible.
We are thankful Emma had 5 more days on the “inside” to grow and develop that much more.
We are thankful to have had wonderful nurses and doctors that cared for me and are now caring for Emma.
We are thankful to be surrounded by a community that loves us so well.
God is good and He has shown us that goodness every step of the way.
No, this is not our plan, and even in our nightmare, we see the light and we are blessed by that light every day.
We pray our journey will be a testament to God’s glory and love and that we may glorify Him throughout it.”

Emma’s photo session was taken and donated by Preemie Prints volunteer photographer, Tara Giles.

A Note From Tara:

“It was such a pleasure to spend time with this wonderful family, and an honor to be able to take pictures of their sweet baby girl. Emma was only 24 weeks along when she was born, and is now celebrating being 3 months old. Such a blessing! She is such a beautiful little princess! I enjoyed seeing her smile and the tender way her parents cared for her. She is surrounded by so much love!”

Photos belong to our volunteer photographers, families, 
and organization please do not use for any purpose. 

Preemie Prints is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization sharing hope with NICU families through a variety of support programs. One of those programs is the gift of NICU photography and preemie photography. NICU families from across the US can request a no-charge photography session by a Preemie Prints volunteer. The family request from can be found on the right side of our website. These sessions are free of charge and for any NICU family, regardless of time spent in the NICU. The NICU photo shoot can take place inside the NICU or after baby is discharged and at home until their 1st birthday. Facing time in a NICU with a premature or critically ill baby is an extremely difficult time for families. Preemie Prints has a mission to share hope by letting families know they are not alone. Preemie Prints currently has over 100 volunteers nationwide. We are always looking for more volunteers to share in our mission! If you are interested, please email and visit our website at To date Preemie Prints and our volunteers have gifted over 400 NICU family sessions. 

This was a Preemie Prints NICU photography session that took place near Tacoma, WA.

We're thankful to the family for sharing their story & memories in support of other NICU families.

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