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Meet the NICU nurses behind the holiday baby photo shoots

NICU Hillcrest.jpg
Posted at 1:00 PM, May 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 12:51:26-04

TULSA, Okla. — A group of Hillcrest Medical Center NICU nurses is working to make Mother's Day and every holiday extra special for the families they serve.

They do it with memory-making photo shoots, a tradition that Denise Hardy, RN, started 24 years ago.

"It started talking just like monthly milestone pictures on month one, month two, and then it turned into holidays," says Hardy.

It takes a village to make these cute shoots happen, and the team does them for most major holidays.

"Our job alone, in general, is very rewarding, but to be able to do this on top of it because we have the skills to be handling the babies that may be sick or too small to have these moments with their parents, we are proud to do that," says Reagan Robertson, RN.

From thankful turkeys to the sweetest snowmen, these pictures are the first time they see their babies without tubes for many NICU families. There are other firsts too. Bradi Holden's son Kai has been in the NICU for the past 90 days. She says, "Easter was the first time I saw him in clothes, so that was really fun."

It takes some planning to pull off something this big. The NICU nurses spend about a month preparing for each holiday shoot. Some of the costumes and props are homemade, some are purchased, and the nurses cover the cost.

"I love it, I love it, that's why I do it," says Hardy.

It takes about 10 minutes to get the perfect shot. Each picture is custom to the child with different costumes and backdrops. The photos are then turned into keepsakes.

"The picture is a memory they can keep forever," says Robertson.

A sweet surprise created by Nurses, who are also Moms, for Moms on Mother's Day.

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