I remember the moment I learned about an organization that offered photography (at no charge) to parents with children who were terminally ill or had passed away. At that moment, I knew that was what I was suppose to be doing. Weeks turned into months and I allowed every excuse to get in the way of me getting involved.
A year later, despite only having one friend and no family in Arizona, we felt like God opened a door for us to move. We found an incredible church and started a study with our campus pastor. The purpose of our study was to discover how to use your passion and talents for something bigger than yourself. Although I went through the motions and exercises in the book, I already knew exactly what was missing.
By this point, the feeling was stronger than ever, I had some great excuses to keep me from taking the next step and getting involved in these organizations. I did, however, decide to join my local MOMS Club to introduce Ross to some kids his age.
One night, I received an email regarding another mom in the group who had just gotten some devistating news about her unborn baby boy. The doctors said her baby boy had a “99.999999%” chance of not living. Without thinking, I emailed this mom I had never met before and asked if she would like me to come to the hospital to photograph Gavin.
Regardless of the doctor’s negative prognosis, many of us strongly believed God was going to do a miracle by allowing Gavin to survive. I will never forget the moment during the c-section when the doctor’s raised Gavin up and he started to cry. Since many of his problems were with his lungs, I felt like this was an incredible sign. Just a moment later, I watched as a doctor looked at the nurse and shook his head no, as to say there wasn’t much time left.
God allowed Gavin to stay with his parents for a very short amount of time. He peacefully passed away in his mom’s arm. I will never, ever forget that beautiful and heartbreaking moment. (For a more about Gavin, follow this link to my old blog.)
Since that time, I have joined Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and The American Child Photographers Charity Guild. In the two years I have volunteered with them, I have photographed way too many babies. Just last night, I was called to Gwinnett Medical to photograph a full-term baby boy. When I asked if the dad would also like to be present for the photos, the nurse told me the mom was a widow- her husband has just passed away a few months ago. It’s moments like that when God really puts things into perspective for me.
A lot of people ask why parents would want photographs of their child after they had passed away. To me, these are more important and special than any other type of photographs I take. I feel it’s so important for parents to have beautiful photographs of their baby to share with others and beautifully preserve their child’s memory.
Because of the emotional situation, once I leave the hospital and mail the disk to the family, I rarely ever hear back from the families. However, I received a phone call a month ago which made my heart so happy….
It had been a year since the hospital called me to photograph Adam, who had passed before delivery. I was so surprised and happy when I received a phone call from Adam’s mom, Christine, telling me they just delivered a little girl! Not knowing I had moved, she asked if I would photograph little Savannah. Since I didn’t have any upcoming travel plans, I was so disappointed I had to say no. Then, just a week later, I found out I was coming back! I was happy to go to their house and meet little Savannah during my trip back to Arizona!
Nothing is sweeter than a sleeping (naked) baby…
I love the contrast of of Troy’s big, working hands to Savannah’s tiny and precious baby skin.
There is nothing more beautiful to me than a mother loving on her baby.
Who can resist a baby-yawn?!?
Savannah with her big sister. They are both so beautiful.
Since Adam’s passing, Christine has really spoken out about Stillbirth Warning Signs. (To see more about Adam and the warning signs, visit my old blog at http://christymartin.blogspot.com/search?q=adam .)
Christy, these families are so lucky to have someone like you, and I personally feel very blessed to even know you, these days it is so hard to find a friend that truly has passion in their lives for something! You are so wonderful for doing what you do, I know as a mother it can’t be easy!!!
Thank you, Amanda. I’m so thankful to be doing what God has called me to do. It’s heartbreaking, but I think it’s so important.
hands down, i think your best session i’ve seen. the words moved me to tears. lets have lunch/coffee/breakfast/late night coffee- soon! i have some slow time for a little bit of march. shoot me an email. 🙂
Gosh, Christy. That is incredible. I dont even know what to say… what a precious gift she is and how great that you were able to be there for this family in the sad times and now in the celebration of a birth! She’s beautiful! And as always, you captured such sweet moments!!
Christy, WOW! I am speechless, the photographs are amazing and I am sitting here writing to you with tears coming down of gratefulness that not only did you capture the memories of Adam, our son that had passed, but of a new life with Savannah! She looks so beautiful in these pictures and I love seeing her with her big sis, Kayla! I am so thankful God brought you into our lives, you are a beautiful woman and have given us a gift that means more to us than you will ever know. Love, Christine
I love the pictures and the family in the pictures!!! Incredibly beautiful!!!
heart-warming and heart-wrenching all at the same time.
These are breathtaking!! You’ve captured the beautiful miracle God has blessed this wonderful family with!
I’m so glad that you posted this. I have yet to fill out my paper work for NILMDTS. Don’t know why, just haven’t. I’m making that my priority for tonight. Thank you Christy. You have such an amazing gift and God has given you the power to pass this on in a time of sadness.
Beautiful baby. we can’t wait to meet her in person
My daughter Taylor Colicci,is a New Way Senior.I wish I had contacted you before you moved.I will try to find the picture you took of Taylor that she told me about,she said she was not prepared and was wearing her hat.Taylor said it came out great and wants me to purchase this photo.I spoke to Erin from New Way,she said after the event they will be available.
A comment about your photography of children who are ill, or have passed away.My son died 6years ago,he also attended New Way and was never happier. He had fought his battle with Leukenia for a year and a half.While he was in Phoenix children’s Hospital one of the doctors took Scott’s picture.He also was in the process of writing a book on terminally ill children.After Scott passed he sent us the pictures,I cannot begin to tell you how much I treasure these.I never thought to take any and have urged people goning through similar situations.I said you may not understand now but after it is over,you will cherish these pictures as much if not more than their baby pictures.
Bless you for doing this for people,They may not thank you for it at the time,but I am sure they appreciate it now.feel I could write a book on the do’s and don’ts in times of loss.There are enough books out there already.I could only use my own experience. The biggest tip I can give all of you, is to hug your children as much as you can.I know what it means to appreciate what is in front of me now,my husband and beautiful daughter whom I will never take for granted.For my other Angel Scott I have lost in this life only to look forward to meeting up again for that longing hug I dream about giving him.
Christy you are giving people with your photography a little window of heaven to look into when ever they are missing their child.The pictures you take of others with us are a reminder of momments never to forget and hope for the future times to be.Sorry I never had the chance to meet you,but thank you for the pictures of Taylor and friends at New Way. I wish to purchase them all. Sincerely, sandy C.