Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kayden and Emmaline: A 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.

"No amount of preparation can prepare you when your babies come too early. Our twins came at 31 weeks. We were so excited to be having babies. We did everything right. Waited until we were in our 30’s. Had a home and could financially support children. We were so happy preparing for our new little bundles of joy. And the scary thing happens. Our water broke at 31 weeks. The first thought was it is too soon! What do we do? Are the babies ok? So many questions running through our minds and it seems like the most gut wrenching fear we have ever had in our lives was happening.
Our amazing OB explained that there would be 3 teams of nurses in the room. One for mom and one for each of the babies. A NICU team would be standing by to take our babies as soon as they were born. Our boy came first. 3 pounds and 7 oz. That’s it. When he cried it was the sweetest sound we ever heard. He was the one who broke the water. It meant things were okay! The NICU team got him weighed and out of the room to be tended within a couple minutes. Then our girl came. She cried out for about 3 seconds and then the room went silent.
Have you ever felt the floor fall out from beneath your feet? That is what it is like when your baby stops breathing. Everything stops. You keep asking what is happening and hear the words not breathing, intubate, and then finally we are in. And the baby is taken from the room. Wait… what? What is happening?

We didn’t know it then but our babies were taken straight to the NICU and put in Isolettes or big incubators so they could get the care they needed. They had feeding tubes put in, and our girl Emmaline had to be on oxygen with an Endotracheal Tube because her lungs weren’t fully developed. There were so many tubes and IV’s it broke our hearts. The happiest time of our lives is still kind of a blur.
We couldn’t hold them at first. We couldn’t hold our babies. We could look at them with all the tubes and wires. We could see the little chests move up and down. We could talk to them through the isolette. And during all this we met so many nurses and doctors that helped us through. They told us about kangaroo care. Where you hold the baby against your skin for an hour a day for each parent. They were too little to maintain body temperature so this would help, and it would also help accustom the babies to our scents, our heartbeats, and hear our voice. Of course as soon as they were able we wanted to try.
We had hope. It didn’t take long to be able to hold our boy Kayden. He was so strong. The nurses allowed us to help feed him with the syringe in his tube. They would allow us to help with their care. We had to follow the NICU rules and such but we could be there. 24 hours a day if we wanted as long as we could. These were our babies, our hearts, and we could be there. These nurses would incorporate us into their operations. It wasn’t just a hospital. It was a place to care for our babies and teach us what it would take to care for preemie babies.
We learned to change diapers around the tubes and IV’s through a portal on the isolette. We learned what a Brady was. We learned about jaundice and the blue light or bilirubin light. So much in just the first week. These nurses were so willing to let us help and to help us it was mind boggling. We went from scared, to educated, to knowing we could do this. With the help of the nurses we realized it could all be ok.
For over a week we were unable to hold our baby girl. We could reach in the Isolette and place a hand on her and talk or read to her so she knew we were there. We would have never known about the startle reflex that preemies deal with without these amazing nurses. Our Emmaline couldn’t cry after they pulled the breathing tube because her throat was so dry. She cried silently for days. But healed quickly! Every day was something new. And they taught us. They really did. When we started Kangaroo care the nurses placed the babies inside our shirts against our skin. Our babies would know us too.
So as I have written this I may have digressed a little. I could go on for days about our babies. The first time we saw Kayden Smile was in the NICU. They had their first baths in the NICU. Their first bottles, the first time they opened their eyes they were in the NICU. So many firsts. And our fear was we would miss these moments. But with the amazing staff in the NICU we could be there for them. They had cameras we could watch from our cell phones when we weren’t there so we could see the babies.
The nurses knew what they were doing when we didn’t. They knew the special care required to take care of preemies. They took the time to explain what the doctors were doing when they ran tests and helped us deal no matter what the outcome would be. We met other parents while we were there that were going through the same thing. There were prayer groups that brought in little knitted hats for our babies. The nurses prepared us to take our babies home. So as scary as it is at first you can adjust and learn.

The NICU wound up being a blessing. While we could be there to care for our babies we learned to do it without the risks of hurting them. Our babies were put on a schedule that we were able to maintain once we got home. And we felt safe and felt our babies were safe in the hands of the staff. I hope reading this and seeing some of our journey you can see the hope that there is in the NICU, and know that your baby too will be cared for. Though we will never forget what we went through and the fear as a parent is always in our hearts, we also know we needed the care that we were blessed with and are forever grateful!"
Kayden & Emmaline’s photo session was taken and donated by Preemie Prints volunteer photographer, Andrea Bacle.

A Note From Andrea:
"These preemie twins are about to celebrate their first birthday and are as cute and cuddly as can be. Thank you, sweet mommas, for a super fun red wagon shoot! Love, Andrea "

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 sherri@preemieprints.org and visit our website at www.preemieprints.org. To date Preemie Prints and our volunteers have gifted over 500 NICU family sessions. 

This was a Preemie Prints NICU graduate photography session that took place near Spring, TX.

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

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