Saturday, July 26, 2008

Now I lay me down to sleep

Tonight, a Friday night, the children and I were looking forward to Daddy coming home, possibly a bit early, to begin our family time weekend. It has been a long week with numerous distractions including my Mom's eye surgery, that left very little time for our family to be together all at the same time.

It was not to be.

Earlier in the day the call came. There was a family. They had a little girl who was 18 days old. She might not make it to day 19.

For quite some time we have participated in a program called "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep". If you have a moment, it is well worth your while to look at the website.

I must admit when we first learned of this organization back when it was just beginning, it sounded strange. Then, I suddenly realized my own family would have benefited greatly from this decades earlier. My Mother and Dad lost a baby boy (who may have survived with today's medical care).. The Doctor asked if he could "take care of things". My Mother was so grief stricken all she could do was nod her head. To this day, she feels she never had closure and each year during the same season and anniversary of his passing, she still, has regrets of not holding him, memorizing every little finger, feeling his soft skin, and saying goodbye until she meets him one day again in Glory.

So, back to this evening, Dave arrives at the hospital as the family is gathered around this precious little girl. She is on oxygen and the nurse removes it for a brief moment to capture her delicate sweet face. She cried a bit, and looked perfect. On the outside this tiny little girl was perfect. Her parents told us the Doctors said she most likely wouldn't even survive gestation, and suggested terminating the pregnancy. The answer immediately was "No". Her mother's response was that if God wants to take her, He will. As of tonight, the parents are able to cherish 18 days with their beautiful baby girl. They were praising God for every moment.

Her condition is incompatible with life, and barring a miracle, she will soon be held in the arms of her Heavenly Father.

Tonight, we were so blessed by meeting this couple. This was their first child.

May God Bless and comfort this dear family.

The first time Dave was involved with one of these situations I jotted down a few thoughts as he spoke them to me immediately after.. I'll share these with you tonight as I reflect back..


He arrived while the Mom was still in surgery and was there when the baby was born. Quietly, he photographed hundreds of images while the parents cherished every second with their new son. Samuel was born and able to enjoy about 80 minutes in his parents arms before entering into the arms of his Heavenly Father.

Dave's prayer was that he could keep his own emotions in check at least during the time spent with this dear family. God was gracious.

At one point, the father was holding his new son with Grandfather looking on, then Grandfather broke down sobbing with his hands over his face. I think that was one of the most moving images I've ever seen.

The social worker could not have been more helpful, and even the Dr. was much more open to things than he had been earlier in the week. The nurses were wonderful and Dave remained in the shadows all the while being given the honor of capturing these only moments this family will ever have with little Samuel.

After Dave was finished, he left and it wasn't until he got to his car that his own tears began to flow.

Was it hard I asked. His answer was "yes".

Would you do it again? (I asked),, his answer was no doubt. In a heartbeat.

Each family reminds us of how fragile and short life on this Earth really is.


kris said...

I have tears in my eyes and goosebumps making a path down my arms. Incredible.

Susan Stevenson said...

My friend Lisa (who used to live in Anchorage and just moved to MS) was a photographer for NILMDTS. I was approached by a doula here in Fairbanks to participate, but I just can't. I think it is a valuable and special service, but I'm just too emotional. I truly don't think I could do it, as my sobbing would probably make things a lot worse. Just seeing Lisa's photos made me cry my eyes out. What a blessing that your husband is able to provide this service to grieving parents and their families.

Erin said...

Very beautiful, and I can speak for the comfort that photographs give to a grieving mother... so kind of your husband to do this. I am sure he has and will help so many to feel the closeness of the child they love so much throughout their life.

Michael said...

What an amazing story and what a great thing for you guys to be involved in. My heart is falling for this project and I am going to see what I can do to get involved. My heart goes out to the family who lost their child.
You guys never cease to amaze me.

Michael said...

Wow, after looking further into this organization, I don't know that I have the skills to do this. So strong, so sensitive, so sad, but what a great service. If I was a professional photographer I would like to think this would be something I could reach down deep and do. God Bless you guys.

Paula said...

Wow, Susan. Thanks for sharing that. What an awesome way for a photographer to donate his time. My heart goes out to the families who lose their babies at birth.

Kim said...

Thanks for sharing prayers are going out for this couple.

~~ said...

Beautiful...and heartbreaking... thank you for sharing this.