How it Started
I became a NICU nurse (RN) 3.5 years ago straight out of nursing school. Around the same time, my passion for photography began to sprout and I was beginning to entertain the idea of becoming a ‘real photographer.’ Once I took a course and learned the basics of photography, I began photographing families, newborns, and mothers. From here I built my brand, Alyssa Marie Photography, and later, the NICU Warrior Session.
After a couple of years working both as a NICU nurse and a photographer on the side, I thought of the idea to join my two passions. I wanted to begin photographing the journey of NICU babies and their families. I feel incredibly fortunate to be in a position of fully understanding life in the NICU. This very unique place of being a photographer and a NICU RN allows me to see firsthand the NICU journey and understand the importance of every milestone achieved, small and large.
What it’s all About
Mothers and fathers who have a baby in the NICU face a long, difficult and emotional road. I see this. I know this. The NICU I work in has a population primarily of infants who were born extremely premature (as early as 22 weeks gestation). Because of this, many babies stay for as long as 3-4 months. As nurses, we are lucky to have tiny patients that we can get to know and bond with over this longer time period. Not only do we get to know the babies, we also bond with the parents and other family members involved. The day of discharge is the happiest day in the NICU for parents. Finally, they can take their baby home!
The NICU Warrior sessions is a type of photography session I created for ex-NICU families. The intimate session is designed to acknowledge and celebrate everything the mother, father and baby have conquered through their long NICU journey. I design the session to tell a story of strength, perseverance, joy and love. It tells a the baby’s story from day one of life, all the way to the current day life of that baby. I highly encourage parents to look back on their NICU memorabilia that we will incorporate in the photoshoot.
A Breakdown of what to Expect in the NICU Warrior Session
- I will get to know your NICU story and learn all about the journey you have been on with your baby
- Next, we will discuss which items you want to incorporate in the photographs. This will make your baby’s story true to life and eye-opening. Most parents choose to use their baby’s preemie pacifier, tiny NICU swaddles, journals, preemie blood-pressure cuff, printed images of the baby from the NICU.
- I encourage mothers to participate in the photoshoot. Every mother I photograph receives a double makeover (hair and makeup) so she feels pampered and looks her best in the images. Moms LOVE this service because they can relax and don’t have to stress about getting ready one bit! I will photograph your ex-NICU baby in the most beautiful way surrounded by their old NICU memorabilia. This helps to paint the picture of how far they have come in their life.
- Reveal & Ordering
- After the images are edited and polished, I meet again with the mother to show them their final images. From here, they decide which images they want to keep forever, and I create custom artwork order with their images.
A Real NICU Warrior Session
Benefits of the NICU Warrior Session
- The NICU Warrior Session ties together the entire NICU journey into one cohesive story. From the day of birth and admission, the highs and lows, the milestones reached, the day of discharge, and your child in current-day.
- The sessions can help parents heal. Parents usually have little bits and pieces of the NICU floating around in their memory as their child grows. These memories are lightly overshadowed by post-traumatic anxiety and fear for their child’s future. The NICU warrior session is a frequent reminder and continues to instill the overall success that came from the NICU journey. Rather than being a memory of dread and discomfort, parents can flip through their NICU Warrior albums and prints from the session, and feel an overall sense of pride and accomplishment for their baby. To inquire about a session, please visit this page!
- In the future, the NICU Warrior session is a reminder to the child of their strength. When the ex-NICU baby grows up and becomes a school-aged child and older, they begin to grasp the concept of what the first few months of their life was like. Looking back on images taken of them that beautifully tells their story, they will feel a sense of pride and love for themselves. They will value the images because they can fully understand how their life began, how tiny they were, and how far they have come.
Questions, Comments, Love Notes
If you would like to see more of my work, please visit my site Alyssa Marie Photography. If you have questions or comments, please send me a message or write a note directly to email@example.com!