I met the Sheward family at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle just as the fall leaves were going crazy! Baby Ollie was so sweet and curious with those big blue eyes. We wound our way through the paths and found so many beautiful spots beneath gorgeous yellow and orange trees. Ollie wasn't too interested in the leaves yet, but he loved his squeaky giraffe Sophie! ;) I had so much fun wandering through the autumn leaves with such a loving, happy family! Little Ollie was born prematurely and his parents had a tough time in the early stages of their pregnancy and after Ollie's early birth. They've partnered with Preemie Prints and have decided to share their heartwarming story with us!
Oliver James Sheward was born on December 20, 2013 six weeks before he was due to make his official appearance outside the womb. He weighed in at a hefty 5lbs 9oz and was one of the biggest babies in the NICU! Unfortunately, his size did not lend a hand in getting us home before living 25 days in the hospital. Christmas and New Year’s were spent by his side dreaming of the day when we would finally be able to take him home.
I had a rough first trimester with a very large bleed that rendered me on bed rest for 7 weeks until the hemorrhage finally dissolved. There were so many scary days spent crying on the bathroom floor that I can’t even count. My clot was so large that it dwarfed my uterus and left me in pain and bleeding almost the entire first three months. After suffering a miscarriage a few months prior, I thought for sure I would lose this precious baby, as well. Through all of this uncertainty, I had weekly ultrasounds and each time we saw a healthy, kicking teeny, tiny baby in there with a very strong heartbeat! Every week I gave thanks that he was still hanging in there.
When my water broke in the wee hours of a snowy December 20th, I wasn’t scared. I knew everything would be okay and my little kicker would be just fine. When we arrived at the hospital I was somehow still surprised that I was actually delivering this early! A massive NICU team helped us welcome him into the world and though everything was at the ready, he didn’t need much assistance. Throughout our NICU stay he had the usual scary bradys, but no destats. His main obstacle was to be able to stay awake for an entire feeding and to graduate from the feeding tube. Back then 40mls seemed like such an impossible feat…
Now Ollie’s 10 months old and a whopping 20lbs! He had a struggle staying on the growth charts in the first half of the year, but now he’s proudly hanging out in the 25th percentile. He’s one of the happiest babies who usually always has a smile on his face. He truly is my little rainbow. We cannot imagine life without our happy little boy – we are blessed beyond belief!
Thank you so much Sheward family for being so wonderful! We loved working with you and so appreciate your sharing your experience. We believe your words will help parents who may be going through something very similar. Thanks for choosing the Happy Film Company for your Seattle Family Portraits!! Hope you love the photos!
xoxo Ashley & the Happy Film Company Team!
WHAT IS PREEMIE PRINTS?
Preemie Prints is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to support and share hope with preemie, NICU, and angel (those who have had a pregnancy or infant loss) families through a variety of outreach programs. Our outreach programs include: the gift of NICU & NICU graduate photography nationwide, currently with over 60 amazing volunteers. In addition we offer local support group meetings and handmade items to current NICU families in Bryan College Station and Houston. Nationally we share information, inspiration, and prayer.
Any amount of time spent in a NICU is too long. We will devote the time and energy necessary to support NICU families and share hope with them during this difficult time.
Check out our last blog post: the Jumper family's fall forest walk!