I have thousands of pictures of my kids. I want to document every precious moment, and record every memory. Some nights, I scroll through old photos, and lament how quickly they have grown. But for me, tomorrow is another day. We get to make new moments and memories, and I continue to fill up my hard drive with countless images of their childhood.
For a family suffering from early infant loss, there is no tomorrow. There is no next week. There is no first birthday. If they don’t have images of their angel before leaving the hospital, they have no chance of making new images. When I think about the finality of their short relationship with their baby, my heart breaks into pieces.
Back in January, I put a portfolio and application package together, and sent it off to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS). NILMDTS is a non-profit organization that provides free photography services to families that suffer early infant loss. The organization is made up of volunteer photographers in the US and Canada. Then in March, I was accepted by NILMDTS as a volunteer photographer, and I became listed on their website as a resource to call.
Today, I got the first call from the hospital. A premie baby didn’t have much time left. The nurse asked me if I could be there in an hour. We live close enough to the hospital that I had time to pack up my gear and make it there with time so spare. The baby was only about 2 lbs, and he relied on the ventilator to breathe. On the outside, I tried to be a professional photographer, getting all the shots I would want if it was my baby. But inside, I am just another mommy who has all of her love and heart poured into her children. All I really wanted to do was throw my arms around the tearful mom and cry with her, mourning the loss of her baby.
Tonight, as I watch my kids sleep soundly and their faces so peaceful and sweet, my heart is broken for this mom who went home without her baby.