Please welcome Amber from Preemie Prints Ministry as she shares her story from the cross to God’s merciful gift of love.
The founding of Preemie Prints-Part I
I woke up January 1, 2011 with this urge to search the internet. I do that a lot! I am a researcher always looking for inspiring information. I’m also a photographer and recently received a new DSLR camera as a gift. I had settled in with a cup of coffee to research photographers and look at inspiring pictures, which is one of my favorite pass times. I am going to interject a little background information here:
I had identical twin girls one year ago. They are dolls and have changed me as a person from the moment they were born. However, we had a very rough start together! My blood pressure had been rising slowly over the last trimester of my pregnancy, and when I went in to see my Dr. for my 32 week appointment it had spiked. My Dr. diagnosed me with preeclampsia, a condition in which high blood pressure develops after 20 weeks. It can be very dangerous for both mother and child, so this condition is a major cause of premature birth. I was promptly admitted into the hospital and she delivered my twins at 33 weeks.
My girls were in the NICU for 4 weeks. The experience of parenting in an NICU with premature babies is life changing. I didn’t know it at the time but over the past months, I have realized that statement to be true. Once we got home the chaos didn’t end. Both girls were hooked up to apnea monitors for their breathing. I was having to change sensor pads and figure out how best to attach them to their tiny bodies and extremely sensitive skin. All while pumping milk for them every 4 hours, not getting near enough sleep, and wondering if they would breath through the night. Over the next months I developed post pardum depression and that was a whole new level of scary. First time mom, surgery, NICU, preemies, pumping milk, apnea, and now depression? It was a roller coaster, but thankfully in the midst of the chaos I stayed strong in my prayer life. I prayed often to St. Philomena and St. Gianna Molla; I know they were with me.
From the time my twins were about 3 months up until January 1 of this year, I knew I had a calling to do something with preemies and the NICU. I am not a nurse or a Doctor so I prayed about what this calling might be for a compassionate creative artist like me. Fast forward to 1-1. I’m sitting at my computer researching and looking at pictures, and I come across an amazing image of a tiny preemie holding tightly onto her mom’s finger.
|preemie holding momma’s finger|
All of a sudden like a powerful yet peaceful wave crashing over me God touches my soul. I know in an instant that this is what I am supposed to do…this is the answer to my calling. I had just been given a DSLR camera, I love creating memories, I love preemies, I want to help people and offer them support, I am prayerful and compassionate, and I know full heartedly that at some point all of these things will come together to form a ministry for God. He honestly worked just like that. In a moment, through a picture of a preemie holding her mom’s finger, just as I had done one year ago with my preemies. In that moment, in spite of any reservations about the timing and our financial situation, I knew this was the beginning of the answer to my novena. Just like God usually works, it was very unexpected.
Having this new passion and God in full control of it led to very fast developments. Over the next month Preemie Prints was formed. The website, idea, story, and organization miraculously took shape. People were being brought together in unexplainable ways, inspiring stories were being shared, relationships were being formed, and I was in awe of it. In the past I always wondered, when God was in complete control, if I ever fully surrendered, would I feel restricted? I find the answer is simply no. I have felt more free over the past two months than ever before. I feel happier, inspired, trusting, and loved. I have felt moments of fear when it all seems to be happening fast and then I wonder things like “what if this doesn’t work”, “what if people don’t like or support this ministry”. Then, I realize it is the devil battling God’s work. When this happens I stop and pray. I pray novenas and I pray every day for God to do with this ministry as He so chooses and to not let my human hands corrupt it in any way. I pray for purity. I know I am doing God’s work through being a wife and mother and now through Preemie Prints. This is what I was meant for here on earth. My twins, the difficulties that came along with their birth, a fondness for creating memories, and a momentary life changing spark is how this ministry came to be.
To be continued… Part II: Our Mission and Future