Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Elijah & Owen's NICU Grad 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.

“After 8 years of struggling to become pregnant, we finally were able to become parents through the miracle of embryo adoption. After a somewhat uneventful pregnancy, my water broke at 31 weeks. I spent the next few weeks as an inpatient at Strong Memorial under close observation until I went into labor at 34 weeks. Our boys were both over 4 pounds when they were born which was really good. We expected a short NICU stay, but the days dragged on and on. The nurses referred to ""wimpy white boy syndrome"". For some reason, white boys just take longer to improve when born early.
Elijah was born at 4lbs 8 oz. He required breathing assistance for a while and struggled with weight gain and holding his temp. He was in the NICU for about a month. Owen was 4lbs 11oz at birth. He had severely underdeveloped lungs. He was intubated for a while and had back to back bouts with pneumonia. He struggled with being weaned off oxygen. He was finally able to come home after 53 days.
It was so difficult to be recovering from a C-section and not be able to be home. The trip to the NICU every day was exhausting. I would spend 8 to 9 hours a day there. I would encourage parents to take advantage of the Ronald McDonald house and it's services. I was able to escape to a little family lounge for snacks and just some time away from the over stimulating NICU environment. They also provided us with meal tickets. I also really appreciated the help from the lactation consultants. Don't be afraid to call on them whenever you are struggling. Trying to breastfeed preemie twins is a challenge!
Know your support system and don't be afraid to ask for help. You will need all your energy for when your baby/ babies come home. It's ok to ask favors. Friends/family will want to help but often won't know how.
Each nurse is different in how he/she cares for your baby/babies. This can be frustrating. It can be intimidating in the NICU and you may not know how to handle it. Remind the nurses that this is all new to you and that you would appreciate open dialogue about what is going on and what is needed from you.
You may not feel like a mom. Or you may feel like only a part-time mom. It's hard when you can't hold your baby or take them home. You may only get to see them a few hours a day. You may not feel a connection. It's ok. Give yourself grace and time. It's ok to be sad, angry, stressed, disappointed, etc.  For me it took months to finally feel that overwhelming love for my sons. Starting out in the NICU presents challenges, but the day will come when it all seems like a long-ago memory. You will be an amazing parent and the NICU journey will have made you stronger and at the same time so much more appreciative of every moment you have with your baby/babies.”

This photo session was taken and donated by Preemie Prints volunteer photographer, Jen Sternal-Johnson.

A Note From Jen:
“Christina and Rick went through 8 years of infertility before finally adopting embryos from a couple in Washington. After Elijah and Owen were born at 34 weeks, it took 53 days before both boys were finally able to come home. They have just turned one, and it was such an honor to meet them and hear about how far they've come! We even managed to sneak Rick's dad in there for a special 3 generation picture. I wish them all the best.”

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 graduate photography session that took place near Rochester, NY.

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

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