Capturing Hopes is a charitable organization based in North Carolina that provides free, professional NICU photography. They started in a small area and are working to expand across the United States (Perhaps the world?)

When asked, my first piece of NICU-related advice is to find a professional photographer who will come in to document some part of the NICU stay.

Clearly, the idea is important to me when chatting with other NICU families or their loved ones, but I never really pondered on why I’d say something like that first until tonight, when CH posted this on their Facebook page:

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My response:

I regret not hunting down a pro photographer for my triplets’ 10-week NICU stay over the winter of 2010/2011. I regret it every time I see photos on CH’s Facebook page or when I pass the horribly angled/lighted pics I took but still have hanging in my house. I regret that I’m in hardly any of those.

The way CH photographers capture not only the babies but the entire experience is just breathtaking.

As a parent, choosing what to photograph myself back then, I saw wires and surroundings I felt guilt & resentment toward & therefore tried to avoid including. Now, I see our NICU life as something amazing. I’m full of gratitude for each wire, monitor & plastic box, & I wish I could see my miracles from that time without the veil of fear.

Whew. Feelings, yo.

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It’s summer, folks. And while I’m all about summer and books being BFFs, there’s is something even more relaxing than reading when you’re overcooked from a long day out in the sun with the family, and that is sitting your tired butt on the couch with a cold snack, an even colder drink and a good movie.

Here’s what’s crossed my Netflix list this month:

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Do see a trend here? I saw Kill Bill and got excited, then I needed Kill Bill Vol. 2. Then I just needed more Tarantino. Then Rodriguez. Pulp Fiction is also on Netflix, by the way. Just get the whole lot on your list and call your job done.

For the comedy fans, like my husband, we’re lining up movies like these that never stop being funny:

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We finally watched World War Z (Awesome!), and I’m watching Hook while I type this up – I was hoping to watch it with ETC, but they’re still too young to appreciate the awesomeness of Hook. Plus, I don’t need the insult-slinging to become bigger than it already is between my own pack of hooligans. Yet. Bangarang!

As a Netflix Stream Team member, I was provided with a complimentary Apple TV device, and I receive free Netflix instant streaming service in exchange for sharing relevant topics and messages with you and your family. All opinions expressed on ActualJenny.com are 100 percent my own – those cannot be bought!

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I received a private message on Instagram this weekend. It was from a random person – not someone who I follow or who follows me – and it basically said another Instagram user had stolen a photo from me and was saying it was her son. The message included the stolen photo and the caption underneath, and I instantly recognized the photo.

And my heart sunk.

Someone stole the first photo I ever shared of Eleanor. Rob took this picture of E with my hand reaching in. It was the first time I met any of my trio, and I was barely holding myself together. I was getting bombarded with updates and consent forms, meeting nurses and neonatologists, and it was the first time I’d ever seen such tiny humans.

My tiny humans, no less.

I was scared and devastated and ashamed (premature birth does terrible things to one’s self esteem) and still numb from the armpits down thanks to the c-section I went through just three hours prior.

And some heartless piece of garbage stole this photo and said it is her son.

Unfortunately, the user, “Nikki,” has a private account, so I couldn’t see or confront her about it until she accepted my request to follow her account. So I requested, and I waited.

It wasn’t long before another random IG user sent me a message telling me the same thing as the first – my photo was stolen and being used by a teen girl. This time, I got more details. The thief has been “stealing” babies since last August and has “had” 15-20 fake babies since then.

The alarms started buzzing in my head.

Who are these people telling me about my photo? Why do they know so much about this awful person?

On one hand, I want to assume they’re just good people who cautiously follow a nutjob to help alert the people from whom she steals. Luckily, I had a friend watermark this image before I ever posted it, and though it shows the old title of my blog, Google led them right back to me.

On the other hand, maybe they knew it was me all along and were looking to stir up a shitstorm. Who knows.

“Nikki” finally approved my follow request the day after I learned about her, but she had already deleted the photo – allegedly because people questioned the watermark. I didn’t see Eleanor’s photo on her account, but I did see four other photos of premature babies, and I confronted her.

“Those are my son’s photos,” she said. “The only picture I stole was yours.”

Okay, sure.

I posted the other photos on my own IG account, hoping someone might see and recognize them and prepared myself for some backlash. You can’t kick a bee hive without getting stung. I know this.

The world started to look downright crazy when more than 20 accounts with profiles similar to the “Nikki” started following me later that day. All teen girls. All “moms.” All with ask.fm links in their profiles. Mostly private Instagram accounts. Then the comments started rolling in. “She’s crazy.” “She does this all the time.” “I’m so sorry she’s done this to you.” “Don’t trust the user with XXX name – it’s actually ‘Nikki’ pretending to be someone else. She has several names.”

The comments made me spin in circles, and because I don’t know where these people came from or if they’re actually “people” and not one person, I’ve locked down my account and blocked any users that look anything like this “Nikki.”

Even today, I’ve gotten 10ish requests from similar-looking accounts, wanting to follow me … why? I’m not sure. The fact is that some people do nasty things simply because they enjoy getting a rise out of people. Some people are malicious in their Internet tomfoolery, and some people are just nuisances. Some people poke at a fire for a bit and run off to poke at a different fire. Some people stick around and harass you for no good reason.

I don’t know what is going on, but since my babies are involved, I’m playing it cautious and staying on lockdown at least until some dust settles. I hate it. I hate this paranoia, I hate questioning every user that follows me. I hate blocking people who very well could be nice, normal people simply because one person is operating several shady, dishonest, cruel accounts. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with social media for the last five years, and now I’m feeling squicky about my involvement and building walls that may prevent me from connecting with lovely, new people.

Then, one IG friend commented that some teens are “playing house” on Instagram, stealing photos of babies and pretending they’re theirs. I can see where they’re going with this game, except NO. A few keystrokes looking into the “game,” led me to this GOMI update from last year, which is just OH HELL NO

Oh, and Instagram? They’re doing nothing. I’ve reported the impersonation, but they think my report mean someone opened an account and is pretending to be Eleanor. It’s been 48 hours since I filed my official report (I’ve flagged the profile as inappropriate as many times as I can), and I’ve gotten one response from them. For a platform that works on “insta” speed, they’re awfully slow at taking care of business.

I’ve argued with myself about what to do since this all started. Is any actual harm coming from this? Aside from my own stress, probably not. Might it have been wisest to just ignore the nuisance and be glad she deleted my photo? Maybe, but there are other babies involved. Other families. And while I might be putting a virtual target on my back while I stand up for those babies, I might also be helping “Nikki” realize what she’s doing isn’t just a game.

I just don’t know.

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“Nikki’s” current username on Instagram is @lifeasnikki, though she changed her name three times yesterday after I initially made contact with her. Who knows what her name will be tomorrow, or what pictures she will steal.

(Apologies if I’m speaking pure gibberish to you, and you know nothing about this Instagram whosiwhatsit. Just shake your head and be glad you aren’t part of it. Except maybe be jealous that I’ve met some amazing people on Instagram – preemie families, triplet families, breastfeeding families, local women who have become good friends, etc. The Internet may be full of crazy, but it’s also full of GOOD, and that is why I haven’t thrown down my virtual microphone and bolted offstage.)

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How many of these monthly Netflix Stream Team posts have I written about RENT! now? Oh, so many.

Streamers are talking about musicals this month. The shows I’ve had stashed in my list for a while now range from RENT! (duh), to Footloose to Glee to The Phantom of the Opera(aaaahhh! Beware, the phantom of the … oh, wait).

Sadly, I don’t have many ETC-friendly musicals on my list. We tried Shrek the Musical, but the opening scene with Shrek’s parents kicking 7-year-old Shrek to the curb just … wasn’t appropriate.

We tried Mulan, but I threw in the towel when the questions about war started.

Thankfully, our old standards are full of music – Daniel Tiger, Signing Time, Sesame Street, Super Why.

If I see Mamma Mia pop up in Just Added, oh, man – ETC would flip out! Until then, we’ll just be grateful DVDs don’t wear out.

(Pssst, I’ve been secretly pining for a chance to see High School Musical. Soon, I hope!)

As a Netflix Stream Team member, I was provided with a complimentary Apple TV device, and I receive free Netflix instant streaming service in exchange for sharing relevant topics and messages with you and your family. All opinions expressed on ActualJenny.com are 100 percent my own – those cannot be bought!

 

I have fought ETC to bedtime for four consecutive nights (solo, I might add), and they’ve fallen asleep within minutes.

Bliss.

Except, OF COURSE I just now realize they have been overtired. And OF COURSE we’re leaving for a week out of town tomorrow.

Because it would be too easy to figure out the solution to a parenting problem when one can actually apply said solution, amirite?

Speaking of, with a 7-8 am to 7 pm day, how would you have addressed the overtiredness? Attempt a nap? Move bedtime up 30-60 minutes? You know, just in case it happens again.

Because I’m sure it will.

 
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