Preemie Prints featured on Today Moms website! February 2014
December 2013 - KBTX Bryan College Station - Features Preemie Prints on the Brazos Valley Morning Show. Watch here!
October 2013 The Motherhood Center Of Houston - Blogs about Preemie Prints
December 2011 Magazine articles
http://flairmag.net/Images/FLairWInterLowRes.pdf - see page 16
abouTown Press - article
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 At 7:47Pm
Preemie Prints is looking for mothers of preemies to mentor other parents going through the same experience of caring for a premature infant.
A baby born prematurely is immediately placed in an isolette – a plastic incubator – and taken away from the mother who has been laboriously carrying the infant for nine months. Parents are left worried and helpless as the focus turns to the medical attention needed by the baby. Amber Collier founded Preemie Prints, a non-profit organization devoted to providing support, hope and photography to the families of premature babies, to provide the support parents also need.
“Parents [of a premature baby] endure an emotional rollercoaster – feelings of joy, excitement, guilt, fear and sadness are common,” Collier says. “And that’s just the hospital stay! Alongside the relief of leaving the hospital is the fear and frustration of caring for this tiny baby at home by yourself.”
Collier speaks from experience. Her identical twin girls were born at 32 weeks, and she, her husband, and the girls had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Houston for a month after the birth. It was during this life-changing experience that she was inspired to found a support system.
Preemie Prints was launched at the beginning of the year in Bryan/College Station and has since expanded to Houston to assist preemie families in a number of ways. Gift bag donations are distributed in the NICUs at St. Joseph’s and The Med to families when they contact Preemie Prints. The bags include a number of things the baby will need, as well as items specifically for the mom like relaxing bath products and teas. Monthly meetings are held at the College Station Medical Center for current or former NICU moms. Preemie Prints also holds sewing/craft meetings at St. Joseph for anyone interested in sewing preemie items.
One of the most special gifts Preemie Prints offers is complimentary photography. Collier found great comfort in her journey with her daughters through the photos she took; each day after leaving the NICU she would develop her photos and found that it helped with the bonding between mother and child. While some may argue that it is a time of grief that they don’t want photographed, Collier assures parents they will look back and regret not having those moments captured.
It is also a goal of Preemie Prints to minimize the risks of Post-Partum Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, conditions for which parents with babies in the NICU are at an increased risk. “I had PPD after my girls were born and it made it all the more difficult,” Collier says.
Collier says her experience was less severe than others; she describes one mother who gave birth to micro-preemies born at just 24 weeks who spent nine months in the NICU. “Life stops while you’re in there,” she notes. In addition to the local efforts, Collier wants to reach mothers on a national level. There is a group forum on the website where mothers can match up with others to share similar experiences and offer advice. There is also a prayer wall where parents can submit short messages, post prayers, or simply read for strength.
Preemie Prints is financed through donations and the work of volunteers. It has grown substantially simply through word of mouth. The organization is looking for mothers who have had a premature baby to provide support at meetings to mothers currently undergoing the same trial. Funds are needed for operating expenses and to produce the gift bags. A volunteer can also be a photographer or a moderator of the Facebook page. “We are built on people who have some sort of connection to the preemie world with a passion to be involved,” says Collier. “My heart goes out to moms.” – by Clarissa Orth
Anyone interested in becoming involved as a volunteer or by providing items for comfort bags, donations or by offering office space may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
INSITE MAGAZINE, August 2011 Issue
Former student’s photography charity aids families with premature births
Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 18:0
Pamper commercials and Gerber jars make having a baby seem like an effortless walk in the park. The truth is, it can be scary and chaotic in special cases like premature birth, crisis pregnancies and babies born with critical illnesses. Thankfully, Preemie Prints of College Station offers a most unforgettable service to the parents and families enduring these trying times.
Preemie Prints, founded by Amber Collier, class of 2003 and mother of two, provides charitable photography for families dealing with such situations, as well as parents going through child adoption.
"In my eyes, all of these people deserve beautiful pictures of their child at that life-changing moment. The pictures will trigger memories of a time in their life when they were having to show unbelievable courage and faith — the memories will give them confidence to face anything the future holds," Collier said.
With Preemie Prints, a family receives a free photography session of their baby, offered as late as the child's first birthday. The family also receives a disk of all the pictures, a DVD slideshow and a small, portable booklet of prints free of charge.
"We are also working on providing ‘Preemie Bags' to both The Med and St. Joseph's for every family that comes through a NICU [neonatal intensive-care unit]. We also want to provide ‘Angel Bags' for the babies that very sadly don't make it, containing items for the parents to collect and hold on to the short precious memories they had with their angel," Collier said.
The Preemie Bags are filled with an assortment of useful things for new parents, such as information, clothing and gift cards from local restaurants that deliver, for those arduous nights when having the time to cook a meal is out of the question.
Preemie Prints is also in the beginning stages of organizing a Brazos Valley support group for moms who have previously been in a NICU or had a premature baby and moms who are currently going through the experience of having a premature baby. The group's first meeting will be March 20.
But what could inspire one woman, Collier, to begin such a charity as this?
"What sparked the specific idea was the birth of my twins and my time spent in NICU," Collier said.
Her twins were born at 33-weeks in Houston and had to spend four long weeks in the NICU, an experience that proves to be stressful for the parents, especially the mother.
"Even with wonderful friends and family supporting me, it was honestly the most difficult time in my life to date," Collier said.
Out of her love for photography, Collier took pictures throughout the whole process and was able to capture some beautiful memories, but couldn't help but wonder how many families deserve the same memories yet do not have the means to hire a photographer, she said. If not a money issue, most parents do not have photos taken of their newborn simply because they are so overwhelmed with the situation of having a premature baby to even think about pictures.
Collier said she credits her faith and trust in God for her decisions with Preemie Prints and the success of the charity itself, along with her marketing experience and her A&M business degree.
"Things are just seeming to come together. I know there is a need and place to fill here in the Brazos Valley," Collier said. "There really isn't a charity around like this benefiting premature babies and their families in this particular way."
Other moms have experienced the helping hand of Preemie Prints and said that it truly is a needed charity.
"I was 15 for my first daughter and had cancer during my latest pregnancy. Knowing what a hard time each of these were, I love that [Collier] has found a way to reach out to people during these difficult times and offer them an experience that they will cherish," said Rebecca Wilson, a close friend of Collier.
Mellissa Roy, a new photographer for Preemie Prints and mother of two, has also had experiences with the NICU and lost her baby girl Acadia in the hospital at the age of only 11 days in 2007.
"The one thing I did happen to do was take photos of her. These are the only things I have left of my daughter and they are so valuable to me," Roy said. "That is one reason this charity has drawn me in so much, because I know how important those are to me, and I know how important they can be to another parent who may find themselves in a similar situation."
Collier encourages all readers to visit the Preemie Prints website at www.preemieprints.blogspot.com and "Like" the Preemie Prints Facebook page.
On TV News Segment - NBC BRYAN COLLEGE STATION TX - October 2011