Roller-coaster ride in the NICU, not an amusement ride!

Having a baby prematurely can bring such a roller-coaster of emotions and feelings, and that’s understandable. You probably have already had your birth plans dashed because of the medical care required to care for you and then for your baby. You feel the elation of birth and welcoming your baby squelched by fear, often self-blame, uncertainty and a complete sense of lack of control over everything in your life. Tough decisions are now required often and you have so many questions. As a Labor & Delivery/Neonatal Intensive Care nurse I have to say, I understand and I encourage you to share your feelings of fear and anxiety, and ask questions. But most of all stop blaming yourself!

There are many resources available through the March of Dimes and I encourage you to reach out to them. They can help. The staff of qualified medical staff that are now surrounding you are there to listen, answer questions and inform. So share, ask, and listen.

I am Jan Barker, a volunteer family and birth photographer working with the March of Dimes to provide touching images of premature babies in the NICU. I work hard to provide images for families that will touch their hearts now and for years to come as their little ones thrive through very difficult times. I visit the NICU at Saint Luke’s Hospital, Plaza to capture the strength of these little babies, the love their parents have for them, and the joy they bring to all of us.

Meet Tristan & Trinity, quite loved by their BIG brother….

 

Beautiful Emma….

 

Sweet Harmony….

 

Precious Bethany….

 

Adorable little Trestan….

 

Darling little Brody….

 

and finally dearest Keidon

 

If you would like to contact me to capture images of your family, birth, or newborn please feel free to contact me through the contact form or at 785-214-5990. I would love to capture these memories for you as well.

A Mission for Healthier Moms and Healthier Babies

Did you know that premature births has been in decline in the United States and has declined to 9.6%, saving thousands of babies from being born too soon. The March of Dimes works to prevent premature birth through research on the problems that threaten our children, from polio to prematurity, in hopes of finding ways to prevent them. Click on the link to learn more about the Mission of the March of Dimes and the impact they have on our communities.

I am a volunteer photographer for the March of Dimes and work hard to provide images for families that will touch their hearts now and for years to come as their little ones thrive through very difficult times. I visit the NICU at Saint Luke’s Hospital, Plaza to capture the strength of these little babies, the love their parents have for them, and the joy they bring to all of us.

Meet Olivia & Evelyn:

 

It’s a Trio of Love, triplets in the Nicu by Jan Barker

I was so blessed to have the opportunity to capture this family together in the NICU at Saint Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza this week. I watched the joy and the love these parents have for these little additions, their excitement to hold them was overflowing. When patience and perseverance pays off in such a grand way, who wouldn’t be overflowing with excitement. I congratulate them on their tiniest little joys they shared with me and thank them for allowing me to be a part.

I provide these images through a volunteer service for the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes provides so many services to families of premature infants already born and their work in preventing premature birth has made great strides in improving outcomes for babies. I have been a proud supporter of the March of Dimes for 35 years, and am happy to provide these images to families.

Meet Richard, Christopher & Lorelei….

 

Tiny Fingers Tiny Toes, a look into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

It is such a pleasure to volunteer for the March of Dimes to provide parents of our tiniest patients keepsake images to lighten their spirits and normalize their lives even if a little bit. We all dream of a perfect arrival of our babies and of taking them home to family and friends shortly after, but sometimes our plans become complicated by either Mom’s health or baby’s health and their arrival comes much sooner than we are prepared for. It is a very scary and frightening time. I hope these images brighten these parents day just a bit and allow them to see their babies from a new perspective of strength, vim, and vigor. They are all so special and oh so adorable.

The March of Dimes is a great resource for information and support, providing services to these families throughout their time in the NICU and connecting them with services beyond discharge.

I want to thank these parents for allowing me into their lives for a moment to meet and capture their beautiful little babies.

Meet Baby Jurnee:

 

and Baby Memphis:

 

and Baby Rafael:

 

and Baby Maxwell and Baby Church:

 

and Baby Huxley:

 

and Baby Tru:

 

and Baby Emmalyn:

 

and Baby Naomi:

 

and Baby Nova:

Once Held Within, Now Worn Close to My Heart

Before you were born, I held you within my body praying for your precious arrival. Now that you are on Earth, I hold you in my arms to comfort and cuddle you when this big world is uncertain. I’ll hold you so that you can experience the world with confidence and certainty. And one day, when you’re too busy to be held, I’ll hold your hand when you let me but I’ll always hold these memories in my heart”, …your Mom.

Little Olivia spends much of her time snuggled in close to her Mom, building a bond likely to never be broken.

Birth of Baby Jay

This Momma was my first professional birth and she was such an inspiration to capture throughout her long labor. She showed such strength, patience, and perseverance throughout. I remember her telling us afterward that she had been so focused inward through the end that when she opened her eyes and looked around the room she didn’t recognize her husband immediately. That’s what you call “in the zone”.

We initially met less than a week before her delivery for her maternity portraits in her home. We did some lifestyle portraits around the nursery that was awaiting the arrival of little Baby JD. Her spirit was warm and friendly and I could sense the strength and resilience she would soon show us in labor.

I received a text on Monday that her water had broken but she was not contracting so she was not ready to head into the hospital. She would keep in touch. I checked in with her throughout the day and evening, as things were not progressing very quickly. Early Tuesday morning her Pitocin was started to augment labor and by late morning I decided it was time to head to the hospital. I arrived at Noon.

When I arrived her doula and husband were at her side providing quiet support. The room was darkened, soft music playing. Mom spent time standing and rocking in Dad’s arms.

Her doula brought a quiet and peaceful support along with Dad. I love documenting the relationships throughout labor and delivery. No greater strength and love is seen between Mom and Dad than during a natural labor and birth when he is right there doing what he can to be present and supportive. Her midwife was there often to provide encouragement as well.

After many hours we all welcomed Baby Jay at 10:07pm. He had worked hard all day also and was a bit stunned by his journey but quickly perked up and soon was at Mom’s breast with wide eyes to say hello.

I then had the joy of going back to see Baby Jay at home. Mom still looked great and nursing was going well. Congratulations to this beautiful new family and KC got another fan!

If you are delivering in the Kansas City metro area and are interested in having your story documented, let’s talk. I would love to capture it for you. You can call 785-214-5990 or use the CONTACT  JAN form. Thanks for visiting my site and this story.

Birth Photography Can Bring Healing

I know that women experience traumas throughout their lives in different ways and in different circumstances. But I want to talk about traumatic birth experiences and how they change us throughout our lives, possibly even impacting our relationships with our child.

We go into birth forced to trust. Trust is paramount to the experience. We have to trust our bodies to do what is required to bring our child from our womb out to the world. We must trust our team that is there to support and assist, and provide safe advice to be in our and our baby’s best interest. We must trust that they will listen and follow our requests for the birth experience we have planned. So what happens when any of this fails us…sometimes trauma, to us or our baby.

This is my personal story of my traumatic birth experience. I was 21, a nurse (pediatric at the time) and having my first baby. I had researched everything and had decided to follow the Bradley Method which was very popular at the time. I liked the premise that labor and birth was a natural experience not a disease and wanted no intervention, though I did choose to deliver in a hospital. My biggest fear with the pregnancy had been that my water would break while giving bedside care to a 6 year old patient and having to explain that their nurse had not just pee’d her pants.

My water did break but fortunately at home in my bed and that is where my birth story begins. All my preparation paid off and I succeeded in the no intervention experience I had desired ALMOST. My contractions started soon and augmentation was never discussed or thought about (at least that I am aware of). It was difficult as I had dry heaves nearly throughout labor with every contraction, which did assist in a fairly rapid progress for a first labor. I quietly focused through each contraction and heave and then came pushing. I pushed and I pushed for hours and after 3 hours I was finally transferred to the delivery room, where I pushed some more. My baby was malpositioned and not wanting to budge much.

I had chosen the obstetrician who had delivered me, as my mom spoke of him with fondness relating to her own birth experiences. He had been open to following all my requests and seemed on board with my birth plan. We had discussed everything and there was nothing bizarre, just basically let me labor naturally with little to no intervention unless discussed with me first. He kept his hands off agreement until the delivery room, where all that changed. Now I am not going to portray that how my baby was delivered was not necessary, as the labor nurse I have been for over 30 years knows, his choice of delivery was most definitely required BUT the manner in which he carried it out still haunts me to this day.

After a time period he felt was adequate he drove forceps around my baby’s head with no warning to me at all. Unmedicated it was excruciating but nothing like what was to come. He then pulled and pulled causing pain that ripped through my entire core. It felt as if he was turning me inside out rib cage and all. And then once my son was delivered, he smugly sat on his stool between my stirruped legs and said, “Would you like me to use some local anesthetic honey to sew this up?” It took all my remaining strength not to kick his smug A$$ off the stool.

I verbalized my disgust for the manner in which he had handled my delivery with my nurse in recovery, as she had been with me throughout and I could tell by the look on her face at delivery that she was as appalled by his actions as I was. I had labored and pushed without a peep but I am sure the scream that I let forth as he pulled was heard throughout the labor unit. She understood my pain. I also discussed it with my Mom and told her by no uncertain terms was I ever going to see him again. And I didn’t, I followed up and transferred to another practice following discharge.

My baby boy looked as though he had been beaten by many forces as well afterward, with his molded head that took days to overcome. The forceps had left some bruising but primarily it was the battle between contractions, pushing and my pelvis that left the longest lasting marks. He was fine though and I am ever so grateful to God for that.

Though this experience did leave lasting results, they have been positive for the most part. It let me go through my next two labors and deliveries with strength and resilience and EASE. That firstborn had definitely blazed the trail. I can say it changed my relationship with obstetricians whom I work along side nearly daily. I do have to keep some of the negative reactions in check and can say I have been fortunate not to see this behavior by many. It has made me a better labor nurse by understanding the raw strength it takes to birth a baby under the most difficult of circumstances. It makes me a stronger advocate for my patients and while being a part during difficult labor and deliveries it reminds me of the humbleness and mercy delivered by our Father during these times. My healing is complete.

As a birth photographer I also understand how important it is to document the positive and beautiful details of birth. Knowing how focused I was during my labors, I now know how detached I was to my surroundings. That inner place we go as we overcome this surmountable but exhausting marathon of labor often leaves us with little actual memories of the process at times. The healing that can come from seeing your birth through the eyes of a bystander documenting the loving support of your baby’s father, the care team, the quiet surroundings can help bring peace, comfort and healing after a birth that may not have gone as you had dreamed. It can help to refocus on the beauty of the experience. I am not there to document the wrongs. I am there to document the rights and their glories!

Jan is a Kansas City birth photographer providing services throughout the KC metro area. Please feel free to leave your experiences in the comments below, good or bad. You may also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

Olivia’s Birth Story, A Generational Birth

This birth story began many years ago when I had a beautiful red headed blue eyed baby girl. She was the baby girl I thought I would never have. I had two beautiful boys who I loved and cherished dearly. They filled me with joy and life seemed pretty satisfying with them alone. I thought I was finished, but God decided differently and along came Caitlin.

Caite was a bright eyed inquisitive little girl who spoke her mind with little hesitation, melted your heart with her kindness, filled life with laughter and has been an endless fulfillment of mother/daughter friendship to this day. Thank you Lord for providing me with this gift.

As a Mom now she has given me the joy of being by her side during the births of her 3 beautiful children. There is no more joyful experience than to support, nurture, and in my case get to document the births of your own grandchildren. To see the strength your own daughter demonstrates in the most difficult labor of love there is in this world, birth, is the most fulfilling experience one could have. But with this birth I received the greatest honor of all. I got to deliver my granddaughter myself. I gleefully put down my camera, donned gloves and caught our Olivia…donned off the gloves and grabbed my camera again. The best!

I thank her midwife for offering up that opportunity and my daughter for allowing. What a blessing I will forever cherish.

Here is Olivia’s birth story, born August 28, (2 days after my own birthday) another special connection. She weighed 6# 2.5oz. She is perfect!

Jan is a birth photographer for the Kansas City, Lawrence, East-Central Kansas region. 

 

If you desire your birth story to be told through a cherished image collection, give her a call 785-214-5990 or email janbarkerphotography@gmail.com for more information.