... a way to get to know a little more about me personally...
Just to let you know.... this blog will not contain pictures....
Yesterday started pretty much like any other. I got up, had my cup of coffee, checked messages and then started on my list of to-do's that needed to be tackled. All in all, I accomplished a lot through the day. Got my dental appointment rescheduled... and got Miles (my sweet labradoodle) an appointment to have his teeth cleaned as well. Returned many messages and emails from clients, friends, etc. that needed to get returned. Sent out invoices... and finally even sent an invoice that I have meant to send for a couple of weeks but somehow kept forgetting! Even prepared a nice dinner for my family... something I enjoy doing so much anyway! When all of that was accomplished, there was still a lot of work to be done during my evening, but I found out just how quickly plans can change when the phone rang.
It was an assignment...and my first one to do solo. If you don't know much about me, then you may have missed the information that I am a newly affiliated professional photographer for NILMDTS . I've definitely wondered many times how it would go the first time I went out on my own. And all of a sudden I was going to find out! My stomach was in all kinds of knots as I was scrambling around the house making sure I had all the necessary releases, equipment, lighting, any props that I could take at last moment. I rushed to throw on some clothes, and didn't even blink at the fact that I had not even dried my hair earlier but had let it air dry since I'd had no intention of going anywhere away from my house. But no problem - that's what they make ponytail holders for! My husband decided he would go with me and drive this time... it was already late in the evening, and he knew my nerves were a bit in overdrive at the beginning. And I was glad to have him there. I wasn't much for conversation on the trip there - just not sure what it was I was going to have to see, and had a million things running through my mind in preparation. Praying for the family I had not met yet but that my heart was hurting for already. While on the drive to the hospital I received another phone call... there was a 2nd baby at another hospital just a few miles from the first one I was going to. Could I do that one too? Of course... being right down the road, I could go right on over to this case afterwards. Immediately I was concerned that I had only brought one copy of the releases and information to give the family... but no problem. I could simply ask the nurse to make copies for me before I filled these out. There was a solution for my little problem... I wished it was so simple for these families.
The nursing staff at the hospital was wonderful and kind. They were expecting me, and did everything they could to make my time there easy. They were as cooperative as possible. In many ways it was harder for them... they saw me as the Pro doing what I do, and for most of the nurses I was with through the evening, they had never dealt with this situation before. I tried to keep my heart in gear with the job I was doing - not allowing myself to get to the "what if this was my child..." that my human (mommy) mind seemed to want to go. This baby was so sweet... and perfect in almost every way. Except he was not breathing... and his heart wasn't beating. Honestly, in my mind it just didn't make sense why he wasn't there any longer. Seemed so unfair. I didn't get the opportunity to meet the mother. She was devastated, and didn't want anything to do with any of this. But the father did have a couple of pictures taken with his son. He didn't want to hold him... just didn't feel he could handle it... but he did want to be close to him. It touched my heart so much as that father cried from within some place close to his soul. It broke my heart as he spoke to his child, called him by name, told him how much he had wanted to meet him and how sorry he was that they didn't get a life together. And I knew that God was there at that moment... offering His grace beyond comprehension for the moment. For that I was so thankful.
After this session was over, it was a 10-mile drive over to another hospital - and another baby who had just passed. So sad - and so senseless. I never met the parents of this child... they just could not handle it. And that is ok. No one can tell anyone how to handle such grief. I am just so glad they will have pictures if they ever do want to see what he looked like. God's grace is sufficient for me. That went through my mind over and over again. "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." ~2 Corinthians 12:9.
On the way home I honestly felt like I had changed as a person during this evening. I evolved into more of who I am supposed to be in God's eyes. I'm not more perfect... probably just the opposite. Maybe just a little more broken. But I do hope I am more obedient... more giving... more kind and compassionate. Whatever I am, I am a changed woman. I am so thankful for my own children... that I got the opportunity to hold them until they were too big to hold... and now watch as they grow into the adult lives we worked so hard to get them to. I pray they never have to experience the pain that I saw in faces on this night.
And I am so thankful for the blessing of the talent and skills that God has given me... and that He would allow me to use that talent to touch other lives. Sometimes we all get so bogged down with the disappointments and hurts in our own lives that we forget the pains in other peoples lives. On this night God reminded me that there are so many other people who are dealing with some pretty big disappointments and pains. And He allowed me to do something to offer them some small way to remember this little life who so briefly passed through.
If you are a believer, and a praying person, I would ask you to remember these families in your prayers. But also to remember those who touch the lives of these families - including me. I am just starting on this journey with NILMDTS, and I pray constantly for strength to do what I must do when I receive a call to go to a family... having a prayer support behind me will truly make all the difference.
For today, I will hold precious every memory I have of my own children as newborns... of the years I have treasured in my heart and in pictures as they were growing up... and all of the pictures I took over the holidays have grown even more priceless to me now. I hope I never take things for granted as easily as I may have in the past. And I am so thankful for the talent God has given me. It has taken on a new meaning... and the "value" in a photograph has also come to mean so much more to me.
PS... if you are a vendor who makes hats, blankets, etc. I cannot tell you how much it would mean to have some of these items donated for this cause. I cannot use the same items that I use for my regular newborn baby sessions... many of these babies are very small, so the items used need to be small - yet able to slip on easily... IF you feel you would like to contribute in some way with an item, please email me for mailing information. Everything I do for NILMDTS is at a cost only to myself (even for the brochures and business cards I give out -- those are all purchased by me)... so donations of useful items are so appreciated!