Parents of Preemies Day with Strong Annabelle and Her Family! { NJ Family and Baby Photographer }

Today, March 23, 2012 is the first annual Parents of Preemies Day. “Recognizing the Courage and Commitment of Parents of Premature Babies” I saw first hand what it was like for one of my best friends, Heidy, to give birth to her baby girl, Annabelle, approximately 2.5 months before her due date. It’s almost emotional for me to write this – remembering this time only 8 short months ago. It involved a LOT of praying and hospital visits. It really showed me how strong and courageous my friend is. She had to hold it together for the sake of her baby – and she did so well. Here is their story, from my perspective.. in pictures.

On July 11, 2012, Heidy and I met for lunch in Red Bank. Heidy had asked me to take her maternity photos weeks before that day, but the night before when we were  were casually texting about our lunch date, I mentioned how it may be fun to take a few impromtu shots. Heidy was a little hesitant, only because her husband, Andrew would be at work and she really wanted him to be a part of it. I proposed the idea of doing multiple maternity shoots (some of my clients like them done monthly), encouraging the next day’s session and assuring her we’d have another one with Andrew whenever she wanted to. To this day she thanks me for giving her that little extra push, because Annabelle came early.. only 17 days later. Below is Heidy’s favorite photo from our session. Isn’t she gorgeous? Glowing. Her personality matches her looks – she’s so beautiful inside and out – and I think that definitely helped what she was about to endure.

Annabelle Rose was born at 29 weeks gestation at 3:41 AM on July 30, 2011, 2 pounds 8 oz, 16 inches. Here are her birthday photos taken through the glass at the NICU. We loved how she would lounge with her arm behind her head like that!

On August 2, 2011 Heidy was told she could hold Annabelle for the very first time. It was one of the most emotional experiences I’ve ever had! She brought me along with her, and ever since, I’ve felt even MORE close to Heidy and Little Annie.

The RN handing Heidy Annabelle to hold for the very first time, 2 days after she was born.

Annabelle was unfortunately still in the hospital one month after her birth, but that didn’t stop us from taking her 1 month old portraits! I photoshopped out the little nose breathing tube so we could see what she looked like without it. She’s always been so beautiful! I had a canvas made of the below photo and gave it to Heidy as a baby shower gift. Her shower was actually 2 days before Annie came home :)

The BIG DAY! On September 27, just under 2 months old, Annabelle came home!

If you look at previous blog posts of mine, you will see that I photograph Little Annie quite frequently. She’s one of my favorite subjects, and I feel like if I go two days without seeing her, I really start to miss her. She’s such a miracle baby. She’s super well behaved, smiles and giggles a lot.. and is just a joy to be around. We are all so lucky to have her in our lives.

TODAY is Parents of Preemies Day!

Andrew, Heidy and Annabelle had their first on location family photo session with me today, in honor of this specail day! It took place in Heidy’s home town, Ocean Grove, just a few towns over from where we all currently live..

Heidy’s shirt says: “My daughter is proof miracles do happen!” Andrew’s said Annabelle’s gestation (29 weeks) and birth weight. I really want to thank the Parents of Preemie Organization for giving my friends such a special day to look forward to and be proud of!

I love you Heidy, Andrew and Annabelle!


  • March 25, 2012 at 10:44 AM // Reply

    Beautiful photographs and story!

  • March 25, 2012 at 9:50 AM // Reply

    Kristen, it has been a pleasure and joy viewing the pics of Annabelle. As an Auntie to Heidy in SD you have been the life line for me. Each one is exquisite and beautiful. We are thankful to God for the miracle that we all got to experience and see the results of prayer. The tears flowed today. Thank you. Heidy the beach theme was awesome.

  • March 24, 2012 at 8:57 PM // Reply

    I am in tears!!! These are amazing photos and she is luck to have you in their life!!

  • March 23, 2012 at 11:16 PM // Reply

    I love this post so so much, especially the day she came home. My daughter was a preemie and I was really down about the way things happened. To have documented the entire journey is beautiful and I know her Mother and Father are blessed to have you. My daughter was a preemie, you would never know it today. God Bless!!

    • March 23, 2012 at 11:19 PM // Reply

      Jenny thank you so very much! <3 I'm sure Heidy would love to talk to you! God Bless!

  • March 23, 2012 at 11:11 PM // Reply

    This was so beautiful you made me cry, & I also want to write about it.

    • March 23, 2012 at 11:18 PM // Reply

      Kevin, by all means, share my post with whomever you wish! I want people to know that there is hope! :)

  • March 23, 2012 at 11:01 PM // Reply

    This made me cry, laugh, smile and cry and laugh some more. LOVE these! Shes truly a blessing and its SO wonderful that you were there to capture it all!! You’re a great friend! Please congratulate them for me! AWESOME story!

    • March 23, 2012 at 11:10 PM // Reply

      Jen, thank you SO MUCH! I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful friend in Heidy.. She is so thankful for the photos I take and for my friendship.. and I am so thankful for HER friendship, reliability and the fact that she allows me to be such an intimate part of her life. I almost cried while writing this, too.. and I definitely smiled a lot. Check out past posts of Little Annie.. and be SURE to see them in the future as well. :)

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