Friday, December 22, 2006

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

The article below ran in last Sunday's Daily Messenger, written beautifully by Anne Johnston.

I got my first call today to photograph still born twins that were a mere 17 week gestation. It was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. When I first received the call, I could feel the color drain from my face. I knew I would get it someday, but I wasn't prepared for it to be so soon, especially with Christmas on everyone's mind. Unfortunately, fate does not take off for the holidays. Christmas was far from the minds of the young couple whose lives were forever altered by the loss of their two unborn children. They were twins, a mere 17 weeks along in the womb.
I immediately went on to the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographers forum to get some advice on how to proceed. The forum is a wealth of information for anyone looking understand more about this phenominal organization. The website is

When I arrived at the hospital, Chris, the maternity nurse was extremely helpful and sensitive. She understood that this being my first shoot, it was nerve racking.
We started in a room without the parents with the twins. They were so small, just 5oz's each. It was very surreal to see these tiny lifeless bodies, that not so long ago were thriving in their mother's womb. The full emotional impact of the situation didn't arise however until the parents came into the room to be photographed with the twins. The sense of loss on their faces was unimagineable. Having two healthy kids, I can not even begin to understand what they are going through.


Greg Norry said...

It's a tough thing to do,. 2 years ago I got the phone call from friends that their little girl came to early and wouldn't live the day. I dropped everything and headed for Strong Hospital. It was very shocking to my system to see this 11oz baby with all these tubes in her. Her parents were crying and at the same time smiling. They had a priest there to give Leanna her baptismal before all their family and friends. The doctors were so sure she wouldn't last the night. Some rare disease that would take her away from this world. You find yourself wondering why I was so lucky that all my kids are healthy.
To make a long story short - Leanna did survive the day, pretty soon her first week, month, summer. Some how she even made it to her 1st birthday while the doctors still said there is no reason she should be alive. Leanna passed away this past fall 2006 at a amazing age of 17 months. I say amazing because she graced her family and friends for those short but full 17 months. I had the pleasure of photgraphing her a couple of times in her short life and I'm thankful for that.

Steve Chesler said...

Wow, they are blessed to have had that time with her. Your photos will mean the world to them. It's a very powerful gift we can offer as photographers.

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