Local organization gives back to families with babies in NICU
Any new parent’s worst nightmare is having a child born with health problems. You feel helpless and want to fight every battle for them.
Now, a local organization is trying to take away some of that burden and bring comfort to those struggling families. Brian Parks snaps photos of families going through one of the hardest moments in their lives.
“It's a good way to give back," Parks says.
He’s part of a much bigger message that Preemie Prints is trying to spread.
"At Some points, we thought we'd never be able to bring him home," Robert Garcia said.
Garcia and his wife Sara welcomed their baby, Leo, at just 28 weeks at Baylor Scott & White.
"He was born at two pounds, 10 ounces. And we had to wait until he was 8 pounds because it was a very invasive surgery," Sara said.
Doctors reconstructed Leo's trachea, and now he needs a ventilator to breathe.
"We learned a lot, but we feel lucky that we are able to see the good and not just the bad," Sara continued. "There were people that were out there who understood what we were going through, so it was a sign of unity and just feeling like there were people that understand. And also hope."
Hope from Amber Collier. She is the founder of Preemie Prints. Volunteers take pictures of babies in the NICUs at both Baylor Scott & White and CHI St. Joseph Health and create homemade items.
"We bundle all of those together and deliver them to the local NICUs in the hopes that every family receives one of the bundles," Collier said.
Collier knows what the NICU families are feeling. Her twin girls spent a month in the NICU and someone changed her life with a simple gift.
"It's kind of funny to say that something so small can be so special, but I remember vividly that day in the NICU looking at my babies and I just thought it made my day," Collier continued. "It brought so much joy."
And that’s exactly what NICU moms like Ann Marie Lopez need right now. Her newborn baby is in the NICU at CHI St. Joseph.
"I can't take him home and I can't be here so I put this on him. It has my scent on it and leave it with the baby. And he knows that he has me right there," Lopez said.
After everything they have been through, it's hard to believe the families have something to smile about. The memories and support teach them never to lose hope.
"It made me feel like this is something to remember, but know that it will get better," Sara said.
Preemie Prints offers all of their services for free for families with babies in the NICU, but they are also in need of more volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering with Preemie Prints or donating items, visit the link in the related links section.
Preemie Prints is holding their annual Little Monsters Fun Run and Walk on November 9th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. They will also release butterflies in honor of the babies who have passed away