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Norah Hope’s NICU Journey | Born at 23 Weeks

August 21, 2015 is a day that will always stand out in my mind. I was at the children’s hospital in Fort Worth to photograph a baby for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. I had just finished up and as I was walking to the elevator to leave I dug out my phone. It was dark outside and when I’m walking through hospital parking garages alone with expensive camera gear I always like to make sure I have my phone in my hand. When I pulled out my phone I noticed that I had a text from my mother in law letting me know that her friend’s daughter just had her baby at 23 weeks gestation and asking if I had any ideas for something she could do to be of help to them. I told her that I would ask my mom who is a NICU nurse if she had any ideas. Then it hit me. I texted her back asking if she knew what hospital they were at. I sat down in a waiting area instead of getting on the elevator because I knew I would have crummy cell service in the elevator and parking garage and I didn’t want to miss her next text. She texted back that they were at the very hospital I was at so I told her I was up there already and had my camera gear with me and would love to come take photos of their sweet new tiny baby if they would like that. They said yes! Sweet Norah was 3 days old when I first met her. She weighed 1lb 4oz the day she was born and was just impossibly tiny. Heather and Clark were so sweet the night we met and when you looked into their eyes you could see nearly every emotion under the sun: shock, amazement, joy, fear, uncertainty, and so much pride and hope for their baby girl. So far baby Norah was doing great but they told me that micro-preemies have what NICU nurses and doctors refer to as a “honeymoon period” where they do great for the first few days, and after those first few days are over, things that will be problematic start to appear and you get a clearer picture of what the long road ahead will look like. When you grow up with a NICU nurse for a mother, you know that two of the biggest struggles a micro preemie is at risk for are head bleeds which can cause brain damage, and gut problems like NEC (necrotizing enterocolitis). Norah beat huge odds and didn’t face either of those problems! We decided that I would come up to the NICU once a month on her monthly anniversary of her birthday to document her growth and progress. Each month I was blown away with how far she had come since the last time I saw her! It was truly the highlight of my month for the past four months and now I’m happy to say that yesterday, at exactly 4 months old, weighing in at over 7lbs, and just a few days after her due date, Norah got to go HOME!

Three Days Old

To give you an idea of just how tiny Norah was, thatpintopinterest

To give you an idea of just how tiny Norah was, that’s her daddy’s wedding ring around her wrist.

DSC_9547pintopinterestDSC_9552pintopinterestDSC_9557pintopinterestDSC_9569pintopinterestOne Month Old


Two Months Old

norahtwomonths-7pintopinterestnorahtwomonths-8pintopinterestnorahtwomonths-10pintopinterestnorahtwomonths-59bpintopinterestnorahtwomonths-62pintopinterestThree Months Old

DSC_7728pintopinterestDSC_7731pintopinterestDSC_7732pintopinterestDSC_7742pintopinterestDSC_7747pintopinterestDSC_7755pintopinterestDSC_7761pintopinterestDSC_7794pintopinterestNorah’s Due Date: December 11, 2015


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