I remember the moment I learned about an organization that offered photography (at no charge) to parents with children who were terminally ill or had passed away. At that moment, I knew that was what I was suppose to be doing. Weeks turned into months and I allowed every excuse to get in the way of me getting involved.
A year later, despite only having one friend and no family in Arizona, we felt like God opened a door for us to move. We found an incredible church and started a study with our campus pastor. The purpose of our study was to discover how to use your passion and talents for something bigger than yourself. Although I went through the motions and exercises in the book, I already knew exactly what was missing.
By this point, the feeling was stronger than ever, I had some great excuses to keep me from taking the next step and getting involved in these organizations. I did, however, decide to join my local MOMS Club to introduce Ross to some kids his age.
One night, I received an email regarding another mom in the group who had just gotten some devistating news about her unborn baby boy. The doctors said her baby boy had a “99.999999%” chance of not living. Without thinking, I emailed this mom I had never met before and asked if she would like me to come to the hospital to photograph Gavin.
Regardless of the doctor’s negative prognosis, many of us strongly believed God was going to do a miracle by allowing Gavin to survive. I will never forget the moment during the c-section when the doctor’s raised Gavin up and he started to cry. Since many of his problems were with his lungs, I felt like this was an incredible sign. Just a moment later, I watched as a doctor looked at the nurse and shook his head no, as to say there wasn’t much time left.
God allowed Gavin to stay with his parents for a very short amount of time. He peacefully passed away in his mom’s arm. I will never, ever forget that beautiful and heartbreaking moment. (For a more about Gavin, follow this link to my old blog.)
Since that time, I have joined Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and The American Child Photographers Charity Guild. In the two years I have volunteered with them, I have photographed way too many babies. Just last night, I was called to Gwinnett Medical to photograph a full-term baby boy. When I asked if the dad would also like to be present for the photos, the nurse told me the mom was a widow- her husband has just passed away a few months ago. It’s moments like that when God really puts things into perspective for me.
A lot of people ask why parents would want photographs of their child after they had passed away. To me, these are more important and special than any other type of photographs I take. I feel it’s so important for parents to have beautiful photographs of their baby to share with others and beautifully preserve their child’s memory.
Because of the emotional situation, once I leave the hospital and mail the disk to the family, I rarely ever hear back from the families. However, I received a phone call a month ago which made my heart so happy….
It had been a year since the hospital called me to photograph Adam, who had passed before delivery. I was so surprised and happy when I received a phone call from Adam’s mom, Christine, telling me they just delivered a little girl! Not knowing I had moved, she asked if I would photograph little Savannah. Since I didn’t have any upcoming travel plans, I was so disappointed I had to say no. Then, just a week later, I found out I was coming back! I was happy to go to their house and meet little Savannah during my trip back to Arizona!
Who can resist a baby-yawn?!?
Savannah with her big sister. They are both so beautiful.
Since Adam’s passing, Christine has really spoken out about Stillbirth Warning Signs. (To see more about Adam and the warning signs, visit my old blog at http://christymartin.blogspot.com/search?q=adam .)