Thursday, March 10, 2016

NICU Grad Photo Shoot: Xander!

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.


Our son Xander came at 24 weeks, 5 days. I was having some pains thinking I was going to have to have to have my gallbladder removed and spent all day in the ER, they decided nothing was wrong with my gallbladder but my bp kept going up and my platelets count was dropping. Unfortunately for me I always suffered from protein in my urine and headaches so it was hard for them to diagnosis me with HELPP syndrome right away ( a form of preeclampsia). They wanted to keep an eye on me so they checked me in. At 11pm they decided they were going to do an emergency c-section and our little hero was born at 15 ounces. After 6 minutes of resuscitation on Xander they were finally able to bring him into the NICU. The doctor said to my husband usually she would stop after a few minutes but he was responding to everything so they were going to keep going. I didn't get to see him until the next day. 

We were in the NICU for 120 long days sometimes the medicine will work, sometimes it will make it worse. I know that is scary to say but it is true. Our son was born with a small brain bleed on one side and a PDA, they gave him medicine to close the PDA and it made the brain bleed worse and caused another one to form on the other side. So we had to go to heart surgery. Before they did the heart surgery he was air lifted him to another hospital and at that hospital for five long days those doctors decided the best course of treatment was to withhold breastmilk or formula only giving him tpn and any other sustenance he needed for survival. They were hoping he would "dry up" and the hole would close on it's own. I can't tell you how hard it is watching your already tiny son get smaller and smaller. Everyday you ask how much does he weigh today hoping he gained a few grams, one day he would but they would say it is probably water weight. This is the hardest thing you will ever do but it is the best thing too. Remember to take breaks it is ok, I know you will feel guilty for not going in one day but call on them to see how they are. It doesn't make you an awful parent for not going in one or two days sometimes you have to destress so you don't get sick because then you will be out even longer. And please if you do feel like you might be getting sick don't risk going in. And remember to be your child's advocate. I remember asking when we were going to start breastfeeding or bottle feeding and the doctor said we normally don't start that until 32 weeks. I said ok, well he was 34 weeks. And she said, oh let's wait a little longer. (he was only about 3 lbs at that point so they tended to forget how old he was but i knew he was ready) so I waited until the next doctor was on staff and asked him and he ordered it and guess what?!? He latched on right away!! He was ready!! Mommy knows best, remember that!!! So if you feel like something isn't right, speak up. If you don't like a nurse, talk to the charge nurse or a doctor. They are there to take care of your baby, you need to feel comfortable with them too. 

A Note From Erin

I had such a great time with this family. It is clear that they both adore their little one. Xander is doing amazing things and has come so far. During our session his dad brought out a box of butter and explained that they nicknamed Xander "Butter" because he was the size of a butter box when he was born. He is crawling, laughing, interacting and practically ripping books out of his moms hands, he is so excited to learn and grow. He has overcome so much and I know with the love and support of his family he will do big things

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 600 NICU family sessions. 

This was a Preemie Prints NICU graduate photography session that took place near Los Angeles, CA.
We're thankful to the family for sharing their story & memories in support of other NICU families.

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