We’ve all heard the saying, “You’re never ready to have kids.” It seems there can never be quite enough preparation to bring a new life into your world. Yet this common saying rings truer for parents who must face a premature birth or even the loss of a baby. No expecting parent plans to spend any amount of time in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), yet many parents find themselves in this very place. Many must stand helplessly as they watch their newborn fight to survive or worse, cope with the loss of their baby. The feelings of loneliness and failure are often associated with mothers who lose an infant or give birth prematurely. “I should have,” “I could have,” “If only..” suddenly become the overwhelming thoughts that rob many new mothers of joy that a new baby should bring. Many parents struggle going back to work, while others stop their daily routine to stay with their babies. These unexpected and dreaded scenarios are for many women a heartbreaking reality. The journey for these families varies. While some infants must remain in NICU for a few days, others must stay an entire year. Some infants have no complications and are sent home very soon, while others require numerous surgeries and the baby’s homecoming is delayed. Coping with these unexpected hardships can be an overwhelming experience for many parents.
Yet for all of these situations that many parents face, there is HOPE.
At Preemie Prints, our goal is to share HOPE with these families and offer support during and after time spent at NICU. The roller-coaster ride, as the NICU is often referred to, seldom ends when the baby is discharged. Complications may arise from the very thing that saved their life. Once the babies are sent home, there is no longer qualified medical staff to provide 24/7 care. The time, attention and care given to a newborn baby is often intensified for parents whose baby has survived NICU. It is the goal of Preemie Prints to remain an active support not just during a family’s NICU stay, but long after the baby has returned home. Once a NICU family, always a NICU family. What we struggle through today can be a beacon of light for someone else.
How We Help:
Our H.O.P.E. (Helping Other Parents Endure) meetings offer support for past and present NICU families. Families find support, strength and encouragement through meeting with families who are going through or have gone through similar situations. We also offer online support through Facebook, our website, and our newsletter. Another small but significant way we help families is through giving handmade gifts, all crafted by our sewing division. Though they may seem insignificant, these gifts can brighten a heart and bring joy to a family, even if for just a moment.
One of the greatest moments after a new baby’s arrival is capturing this exciting time with countless photos that will be shared with family and friends for years to come. However when faced with a crisis, taking photos of your newborn becomes an afterthought. Preemie Print allows families to experience the “proud parent” moment of showing new pictures of their newborn. We have an amazing and talented team of volunteer photographers that actively support our Houston chapter, as well as provide their services nationwide. Our complimentary photography session is provided inside the NICU and for babies up to 1 year of age after their release. Not only do these photos bring a smile to the family’s faces, it also provides a sense of normalcy to a very unstable environment.
For more information, visit us online at www.PreemiePrints.org, email or call.
National Assistant Director
Houston Chapter Leader