It’s been pretty quiet here on my blog (which is in desperate need of updating) and some may have noticed that I haven’t posted a lot of NICU related work on my Facebook page lately either, so I thought I would give a quick little update on how things are going!
As most of you know, my hubby and I moved out to the countryside in March of 2015, about an hour NW of where we used to live in south Overland Park here in the Kansas City metro. I went from living within 10-20 minutes of all the area NICU units and now it is an hour commute to any NICU. In 2015 I was able to keep up with requests, even through losing our own miracle baby at 10 weeks gestation and through my pregnancy with my second miracle baby. In 2016, things slowed down with the arrival of my son Charlie but still I kept up with requests as much as I could, finding volunteer babysitters, putting the baby in the car for an hour each way and squeezing in NICU sessions in between nursing sessions because my sweet little boy refused a bottle.
Eventually, I had to stop trying to find volunteer babysitters and have to pay out of my own pocket for a reliable sitter close to the main hospital I photograph at for consistency’s sake for Charlie and my schedule. As he got older and naps became less, the hour car ride each way has become harder and harder on Charlie to do in a short amount of time so I can get him back home in time for his daily nap. And the costs of the babysitting really does add up for something I do at no charge. So, with another year left out here in the countryside, I have made the very hard decision (and I hope you know it broke my heart to make this decision) to put all volunteering on hold until we move back to Johnson County next year with the exception of St NICU at Overland Park Regional in December.
We had created a 501(c)3 non-profit back in 2015 with grand plans for projects, expanding services and fundraising to help cover the costs of providing this integral service to families. Within a year all of us board members had become pregnant and one of us had lost her baby just as I had lost my first, so the non-profit definitely went on the back burner. I’ve kept it active legally and have done some minor fundraising to help towards costs (mainly my NICU Then & Now sessions I do every year), but it’s basically just a binder of paper right now with all the plans on the shelf waiting to be brought to life. My hope is that when I live back in the metro next year, and since Charlie will be a little older, that we’ll be able to get it up and going again.
I have such big hopes and dreams for all that I can do for families facing such trials in the NICU, even more so than what I’ve already done in the last 6 years. But doing it alone, and as a new mom living such a long commute away, it’s just something that will have to wait for my return to Johnson County. In the mean time I will be sharing sessions I’ve done (and I’ve done quite a few I just haven’t been sharing that much as I struggle to find time for even social media) and making plans for breathing a fresh start to my NICU work that I love so much.
Thank you all for supporting me on this journey to love all the parents, babies and staff in the NICU, and thank you for understanding why I have to take a temporary pause. I’ll be back soon. It’s a promise you can count on.
All my love,