alyssa marie 

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PHOENIX, ARIZONA

Damian’s NICU Journey

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April 24, 2022

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“…the feelings I once felt when I was still pregnant came rushing back to me. It’s like my body recognized him instantly as if he was in my belly again. In that moment I knew he would be with me forever.”

As a NICU nurse, I am blessed to build relationships with the tiniest patients in the hospital, as well as their parents. Damian was born at 27 weeks gestation, and he overcame many obstacles that all babies born that early have to face. As Damian grew and developed, he was able to discharge home after 3 1/2 months in the NICU. I decided to create celebratory NICU journey photoshoots and join my passion for photography and NICU babies. Damian and his parents would be the perfect family to kickstart the NIUC journey Warrior sessions.

I remember the firs time I took care of Damian. He was a sweet little boy who was, of course, tiny like every other premature baby in the NICU. Nurses are very comfortable seeing, handling and caring for humans that are just one pound. It was a typical day, but Damian was different. Often times, nurses are drawn to specific patients. This was definitely one of those times for me. Damian was easy to care for. He had a sweet spirit, and he reacted positively to being handled. After taking care of Damian and meeting his parents a couple of times, they asked me if I would be the primary nurse for him. Without a doubt in my mind, I said “of course!”

The NICU Journey from the Perspective of Damian’s Mother:

“I’ll never forget the day I met my son, it was a day after I delivered him. They wheeled me into the 5th floor NICU and as I passed the other babies I wasn’t too worried because they all looked healthy and developed. But when they finally stopped the wheelchair and placed me in front of MY baby, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

I wish I could say it was that beautiful  ideal image of a mom meeting her baby for the first time in the delivery room. Instead, my face expressed shock and sadness and truly I was speechless. The nurses talked and talked but all I could think about was the fact that there was no other baby in the unit as small as mine. My eyes looked around at the other boards and no baby was near his birth weight. I was certain my baby wouldn’t make it past that night. How could he? He almost didn’t look human. My guilt was so much stronger than my love at that moment. That feeling remained for the following weeks as I had to go home without him, leaving him all alone in that cold hospital with a bunch of strangers.

Until one day, I was told that I would be able to hold him. That Monday morning, he was placed on my chest. This tiny squirmy puppy sized baby, and the feelings I once felt when I was still pregnant came rushing back to me. It’s like my body recognized him instantly as if he was in my belly again. In that moment I knew he would be with me forever. I was once again his mom and I could now protect him and offer him a safe place.” – Karla V

The Reality of the NICU Journey

The NICU is a scary place for new parents. It can be a place where they feel guilt, worry, loss, and complete heartache for their tiny baby. Thankfully, after much time and medical intervention, many babies grow strong and are able to discharge home. However, the journey is a long one, with a rollercoaster of emotions for parents. Often, NICU nurses educate and re-educate parents about the highs and lows they will experience.

If you are a NICU mother and are looking for more resources, I check out this NICU site!

Celebrate the NICU Journey

NICU Warrior Sessions are designed to celebrate the NICU journey of the baby and their parents. The session is photographed in a lifestyle documentary style to effectively tell the story of NICU life, the baby’s road home, and the joy of how much the infant has grown and accomplished since being discharged.

What a joy it is to connect with parents and understand all of what their journey has involved (from a nurse’s perspective). I look forward to documenting more NICU babies’ journeys and celebrating all they have become in their short life. To learn more about NICU Warrior sessions, please visit this page!

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I'm Alyssa and I'm so happy you're here. In this blog you'll get to know me, learn about photography, and you'll find many inspiring messages and stories to live your best life. Browse away!  

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