Thursday, March 12, 2009

Honoring Each Little Life

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~ To give you a little heads-up, this post topic is not one that you might expect from me. And it is one that might make you cry. It has been 'brewing' for quite some time and after a conversation with a friend today, I felt it was the time to share. ~

A little over five years ago, Rick and I lost a precious little member of our family, Aaron Matthew. We found out when I was 18 weeks pregnant that he had died in-utero and the next day I delivered him at the hospital. The rest of that day was spent holding him, grieving our loss and introducing him to the many friends who visited us and helped us in one of the most difficult times of our life.

Their presence and acknowledgment of his little life, no matter how brief it was, helped bring healing to our hearts in the days and weeks to come.

{Aaron's hand on Rick's fingertip}

With all that was on our minds at that time I'm not sure how the camera made it into our bag, but our brief time with Aaron was marked with many precious pictures to help us remember him. Over the years those pictures have come to mean so much to us, because even though we don't have our son with us we do have tangible proof of his life.

Recently I heard of a network of photographers (local and international) called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep that exists to assist families suffering an early infant loss or who have children in hospice situations.

"Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation gently provides a helping hand and a healing heart. For families overcome by grief and pain, the idea of photographing their baby may not immediately occur to them. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives."
To give you a little glimpse into how Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation works with families, here is a clip from the Today show:


  1. Such a precious picture you have to cherish of your sweet little boy! That organization sounds amazing.

  2. Thank you for sharing, Jo. I am sure it was hard to do that. I read an article in the Richmond Times a few months back about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and cried the whole way through it. What a Christ-like ministry these photographers are providing, even if they don't know it. I share in your grief as you remember Aaron today, and every day.

  3. Thanks for sharing that. I still remember learning of your loss. A heartwrenching thing for a parent to have to go through. I have a friend who is part of the NILMDTS network of photographers, I'm glad they are there to help families record the fact that their child was here.

  4. I have a friend who is a member of NILMDTS...I wanted to join. I cried when I read about what they do and how they help families. It's an amazing network...I'd be an emotional mess if I went to photograph for families.

    I'm glad you have that photograph of Aaron. WOW!

    Thanks for sharing. I know it wasn't the easiest thing to do.

  5. Wow, that is a powerful photo.

    I am very familiar with NILMDTS, I *know* a few of the photogs that are members from my pro days years ago.

    I am so glad you shared about how you dealt with your loss.


  6. Wow, Jolanthe. I can't even begin to imagine the grief you and your husband went through.

    What a powerful and moving photo. It brought me to tears.

  7. Yup. Here I am crying. But I suppose that wouldn't shock you, huh?

    If there's one thing I would do differently, it would be to tell the doctors "I do not want a DNC! I don't care what you say."

    But I was in the emotional haze where you have no clue what to say. which way is up. how to communicate even the most trivial things.

    Hopefully there will never be a next time. But I do have to say, besides the fact that the DNC was the most panic-inducing thing of my life (even months afterwards), I wish I had pictures of the baby we lost at 16 weeks (Asher).

    What an amazing ministry. amazing amazing.

    Love you, girl.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story -- my heart breaks for your loss. What a beautiful picture -- it brought me to tears.


  9. My sweet friend just lost her full term baby last month. Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep came at 3 in the morning to take the most beautiful pictures of my friend and her husband and their precious daughter. I have never experienced the loss of a child, but I could weep over the blessing of this ministry.

    Thank you for sharing your loss as well. The picture of Aaron's precious hand in his Daddy's is beautiful, and it will encourage others who are walking where you have been.

  10. I have lost two children (the most recent one this past summer at 10 weeks) and it was a painful heartbreaking experience but in the midst of it, there was love. I am sorry for your loss, each life is important, no matter how small. Thank you so much for sharing your story and the information about this ministry. God bless,

  11. Wow - what am amazing ministry! You are blessed to have that precious photo of your sweet little baby. I've lost two children - one to miscarriage and one to tubal pregnancy - and I would love to have had such a keepsake to cherish.

  12. Beautiful precious picture. I am so glad you shared.

    What an amazing ministry. I have never heard of it. Having walked wiht a friend through a still birth at 39 weeks, I know those photos mean so much.

  13. Thanks for posting this. We lost our very first baby at 10 weeks. It was very, very hard. How precious to see this picture. We have since been blessed with two beautiful children, but this still makes me cry.

  14. So I know this is an old post, Jolanthe, but I stumbled onto it tonight and just had to comment. Who knew we had this in common? We lost a little girl at 21 weeks 2.5 years ago. We have many, many pictures also. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a fantastic organization. There's also a company, the name is escaping me, that retouches photos in these kinds of circumstances...for free. They did one of our daughter for us. I have it framed in my living room with photos of my other kids.

  15. I just came across this post by accident. Your picture speaks a thousand words ...

    Thank you for sharing with so many.


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