Hi, my name is Whitney Newman. Along with my husband, we have three beautiful children Christian, Faith, and Ashlynn. My pregnancy with my son went smoothly other than some pregnancy induced hypertension right at the end. Both of my girls, however, were born premature. My youngest also having IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction). It was such a scary time for our family with both girls being born so early and so small. I really didn't know where to go for support but I also knew there were other parents that probably felt the same way so I started a support group for IUGR awareness and I also became a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist. I feel so blessed to join the Preemie Prints family and help be a support system for other families with preemies!
Hi, my name is Sherri Crum. I am a proud mom of two wonderful boys, and volunteer for Preemie Prints with the support of my wonderful husband, Matt. My youngest son, Caiden, was born at 35 weeks gestation and spent 9 weeks in the NICU. He was diagnosed with Prolonged Pulmonary Hypertension of a Newborn and Respiratory Distress Syndrome. He was on ECMO for 5 days, and had heart surgery at 7 weeks of age to correct a heart defect. Today Caid is happy, healthy, energetic and keeps us on our toes. Whether it's one day or several months, life in the NICU is hard. Hopefully through our many services here at Preemie Prints, we can make your journey a little bit easier. ~ Sherri
Hi! My name is Jennifer Sternal-Johnson, and I’m a volunteer
photographer for Preemie Prints. My twins Ethan and Lyra were born three
months early. When you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, you do
everything you can to remember today, and so during the 9 weeks that we were
in the NICU, my husband and I took hundreds of photos to document our
family’s beginning. The photos are some of the most treasured images
I own. Looking back at them, I remember the details: Ethan’s tiny
hand curling around my finger, Lyra’s little toes, the way they looked
like tiny old men. Our first family photo was taken by a nurse, and
it is framed in a place of honor in our house.
Eventually, we left the NICU, and life carried on. I’ve always been
interested in photography and took several classes. When I left my
first career as an ICU nurse, I suddenly had a lot of time on my
hands. I picked up the camera and started to work. Once I found
Preemie Prints, I knew it could combine my skills as a nurse, as a
preemie mom, and as a photographer--all rolled into one! I’m so
honored to be invited into these early family moments. I’ve taken
photos of a mama holding her baby for the first time, of a baby’s
first time breathing on his own, of a grieving family. Every session
I shoot is different, and yet every single time, I’m reminded of why I
do this. I look forward to meeting my next family!
Hi, I'm Amber, President of Preemie Prints, and mom to identical twin girls and a 3 year old boy. Eden & Pryscilla were preemies, born at 32 weeks gestation. We were in a NICU for 4 very long weeks. Although that time is short in comparison to many NICU families, it was a difficult and long journey for our family and was the inspiration behind this organization. My time spent in our NICU and those first weeks back at home with two preemies, was one of the most trying yet shaping times in my life.
There were a handful of things that got our family through it. First, a firm reliance and faith in God's plan. Second, my support network filled with family, friends, doctors, nurses, and many other people who had been through similar experiences. Third, our precious babies. As my husband and I watched them grow stronger everyday, they were a constant reminder that our parenting in the NICU was helping them. Lastly, pictures. Everyday after we would leave their room in the NICU and head home, I would stop by the store to print all of the pictures I took that day. Even once they were both home with us, my husband and I, would flip through the book I made of their NICU stay and homecoming often. It was therapeutic and it helped me, it helped my family heal, and those pictures will be a lifetime reminder of our strength.
Being in a NICU, as well as, those first weeks at home with a premature baby is unexplainable to anyone who has not been through it. We would "joke" all the time about feeling like round the clock nurses once we got home. So many people think that once you are home the scary part is over, but we know that is not true! Emotions run wild, as sometimes you are extremely sad and other times overly joyful, then scared beyond belief, yet prayerfully hopeful. I remember nights when my husband and I would go from crying to laughing hysterically in a matter of seconds. We were honestly an exhausted mess.
The pictures were therapeutic then, but now they are even more precious. They bring me great joy, pride, and confidence, in myself, my children, and my family. They truly are priceless. I look at the girls NICU pictures more than any others, and now I share those same pictures with them telling them how their tiny lives started. They will treasure those same pictures.
Some may feel that the NICU isn't a place you necessarily want to document with great photos, but I disagree. Although it may be an extremely difficult time, I've talked to many moms who wish they had them now. At the time many feel photography was not something of importance, since your baby is fighting for life. It is understandable but later regrettable, which is why I want to encourage you to take pictures during your journey and why our organization offers the gift of charitable NICU and NICU graduate photography to you and your family. ~ Amber