Her Reveal And Order Appointment to view the images from her maternity session was scheduled for a few days ago, but when Phil greeted her at the door of the studio she was frantic and on the verge of tears. She quickly and politely explained that she had to go “right now” to the hospital. We didn’t exactly know what was wrong, and most certainly didn’t want to pry, but even from the back office, I knew… something wasn’t right.
I reached out yesterday with a text, explaining that I didn’t even need a reply, but I wanted to just let her know that I was thinking of her. I’m not sure how I knew, but my gut knew something was wrong. And then this morning, I got a text confirming the worst.
They had lost the baby. She had to have a C-section, so they are still in the hospital. They never even got to view their maternity portraits.
Maybe it was for the best, as the pictures are simply stunning. The love that I felt from that couple, the moment they arrived, I just knew they were going to be great parents. The images captured so much emotion, so much feeling, so much joy… all to have it ripped away from them. One can’t help to feel as if they have been cheated out of a tomorrow, never to be.
Over the 20 years I’ve been a professional newborn photographer, I have certainly seen my fair share of untimely deaths. Yet each one hits me just about the same. It never gets any easier. Even as an outsider, sometimes meeting people only a handful of times before getting the fateful news… It’s still painfully hard.
At times- as photographers -we can... providing images for the funeral as lasting memories of a living soul that they can never get back. And then sometimes- we feel helpless.
If it hurts this bad, as an outsider, oh how I hurt that much more knowing what they must be feeling. The grief, the confusion, the anger, the heartbreak… the untold story…
Years ago, I had a client who lost a baby at 38 weeks. His name was Max. I didn’t meet her until she was pregnant with her “second” child- A Rainbow Baby. She didn’t do maternity pictures the first time around, and she had regretted it, so it was really important to photograph her second pregnancy, then the newborn photos, and then the Year to Cherish program… and then her “third” child and all through those early years. Those kiddos are 10 and 7 now. Max would have been about 12- the same age as my son.
Our children are close, we’ve done playdates and swim parties, even Disneyland. But my personal favorite that I’ve come to look forward to most… a holiday tradition of getting the kids together every Christmas to bake and decorate sugar cookies. That family has changed my life in a wonderful way.
So, after hearing the news this morning, with my heart very heavy, I offer to them the only thing that I have to offer... HOPE, prayers for peace, blessings for new beginnings, and then… well, who knows what exactly the future holds. But I am here. I am listening. I am praying. And when, and if, they chose to have their own Rainbow Baby, I will give them the very best I have to offer... the gift of capturing precious moments in time, each unique, some bittersweet, but all treasured and cherished.
A visual storyline of whatever part of their journey they chose to allow me the privilege to be part of.
As a family photographer, our business is all about relationships, and in any relationship, it means taking the good with the bad. Today, the news is bad… but I have faith that each passing day will bring new light for a better future.