It was a Thursday night. We had just wrapped up dinner and were winding down for bed when my Facebook messenger dinged. I was in a group message with a friend, who volunteers for the organization, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. NILMDTS is a volunteer organization whose mission is to provide "remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture."
My friend Debbie had been asked to photograph the birth of baby Finn, who had been diagnosed with Mosaic Trisomy 13. Tina's doctors told her that Finn may not be compatible with life and she and Jayson prepared for the worst. Debbie was there with them at their final ultrasound (see her blog here.) Finn was due to arrive by scheduled c-section the following week, but the delivery date was unexpectedly moved up, leaving them scrambling to find a photographer who could volunteer.
Without a second thought, I said yes. It had been on my heart to volunteer and though I cried and shook at the thought of it, I needed to be there.
I spoke to Tina, and she expected her surgery to be no earlier than 7:30 am. I got a message from her just after 3:00 am on the morning of the 8th, but my phone didn't ring. I woke up on my own, 40 minutes later and felt the urge to check my phone. When I saw her message, saying her c-section had been moved up and would be done right away, I was out the door and driving in under five minutes.
I arrived about ten minutes before they took Tina back to the OR.
You could feel the tension in the room as they worked. No one knew what to expect... what he would look like, how he would do, how long he would live. And then....
He was beautiful. I know none of us will ever forget the moment he was held up over the curtain.
He looked perfect and was doing perfectly. He went down to the NICU for observation, where he had lots of eyes on him. Tina patiently waited up in the Labor & Delivery unit for a bed to open downstairs. She waited... and waited... and waited. Eight hours after Finn's birth, she was able to go down to the NICU and REALLY meet her baby.
I think the photos speak for themselves from here...
Now, they have confirmed what the prenatal tests found and know that 2.5% of Finn's cells are affected. Since he has tested to have a VERY low amount of affected cells, this could mean he continues life as a healthy, average kid, or it could mean that there are special considerations that come as he grows. It definitely means treasuring every moment and taking one day at a time.
It was SUCH an honor to meet Tina and Jayson and their beautiful son, Finn. I am so full of gratitude that our paths crossed and am so thankful she graciously has allowed me to share this part of their story.
If you or someone you know are in need of a photographer for the loss of your baby, please reach out to me or to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep for more information and support.