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My Heart For the NICU

There is a truth about me you need to know.

We’ve tried everything over 9 years and I just couldn’t get pregnant.

Until I did. Miraculously.

And then tragically there was our loss.

It was devastating. Actually, that could never describe it.

You have to grieve something, someone, you never had

and that’s painfully hard to explain to those who have never gone through infertility.

What you thought would have, what should have been an easy and joyous experience

is anything but.

Having a premature baby can be compared to the pain of infertility

You have no choice in your circumstances

You just have to deal with the cards handed to you

And your only choice is how you deal with it

You grieve that normal experience you thought you would have

You never imagined life could be this hard

No one understands

Unless they’ve been there

And even then, around those in your shoes

You still feel alone.

There are many families who have first gone through and survived the infertility gauntlet only to end up with their baby born very early and in the NICU. There are others who are dealing with the very unexpected early arrival due to medical issues in either mom or baby. Some know ahead of time that they will be spending time in the NICU, others are born full term only to find out out there are significant issues at birth that require immediate, and often long term, medical attention.

Regardless of the WHY that put these families there, I can relate to the hardships they are facing. And through my camera, not only interpret to the world what they are going through and experiencing because it is important not to be isolated but supported, but show these families how beautiful they are, how beautiful their child is, no matter the circumstances.

When there are no words, you need a special kind of photograph to speak for you,

because photography is a language only the heart truly understands.

I rejoice with parents on the arrival of their child(ren)

And I show them they are loved, even by this stranger with a camera

When they see their images it gives them hope

And hope, my friends, moves mountains.

  Hospital Commercial Photographer Photography Jessica Strom Kansas CityWhat else is there to know about me? Well, I hail from Calgary, Alberta, Canada & a proud dual Canadian-American. I’m a former band geek (low brass rules!) from a family of band geeks and love an eclectic array of music from folk, rock, pop, classical and the occasional rendition of Scotland the Brave. I’m completely unabashedly obsessed with my dog Duke, seriously the world revolves around him! My husband Daniel and I have been married almost 12 years and we’re complete opposites, so it keeps things interesting but oh so full of love. We were so very blessed with our rainbow baby (baby born after a loss) Charlie, who was born in early 2016. My favorite movie is Spaceballs and my all time favorite song in the world is Dream by The Cranberries! I used to think hockey ruled but then I fell in love with baseball. Kansas City Royals for life!

Business wise, I have run Jessica Strom Photography (www.jessicastrom.net) since 2008 and have volunteered in the NICU world since 2011. I may retire from paid portraits one day, but my NICU work I’ll do forever. =)

The Official Bio:

Jessica Strom is a Canadian-American professional infant photographer based out of the greater Kansas City metro. She was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where she attended Mount Royal College from 2002 – 2004, studying both early childhood development and psychology. Jessica moved to the United States in 2005 where she and her husband Daniel began the lengthy process of obtaining her dual-American citizenship. Upon receiving her residency visa, Jessica returned to her early passion for photography and opened her portrait business, Jessica Strom Photography in 2008. In early 2011 after being published in Professional Photographer Magazine, Jessica began volunteering her time and resources to photograph families with extremely premature infants still in various NICU units in the Kansas City area. By the end of 2013, Jessica’s NICU work had been published in a large billboard campaign for one of the local NICU units and she was featured in an 8 page article in the Kansas City Star. In 2014, her work was published internationally in numerous countries upon publication on NBC and Huffington Post, upon which she was then filmed for a 5 minute segment for The Today Show. Jessica has since travelled to visit and photograph NICU units in Canada and South Korea with plans to travel to all cultural regions of the globe to document and photograph different approaches to prematurity worldwide. In 2015, she spoke as a guest workshop lecturer at the 28th Annual Gravens Conference on the High-Risk Infant in collaboration with March of Dimes and the University of South Florida and worked with various high profile corporate entities for NICU re-branding. Her family portrait work can be seen on www.jessicastrom.net, with her extensive NICU portrait work can be viewed at www.believeinpreemies.com and she can be contacted at jessicastromphotography@gmail.com

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