Birth Story- Baby Lillian Feb 26, 2013 – Feb 28, 2013

How can one even begin to explain the emotions, experiences, and events that have happened over the past week…  To even try to put down in words the beauty of what has taken place seems an impossible task… But this story needs to be told.  Needs to be remembered.  Needs to be felt and shared.  Because it will bring you closer to the God who made us.  Because it will touch the life of anyone who bears witness to it.  It will burn in your mind the desire to hold your little ones close, and be grateful for every miracle that has brought them to you, and for every precious moment you have with them on this earth.

At about 36 weeks gestation, Baby Lily’s family (Mommy, Daddy, and their 6 children) moved out to California to live.  At the time, they were preparing to welcome a new baby into their lives, and were excited to get settled in.  They had to unpack into their new home, find a doctor, and settle in to their new surroundings.  Here’s what the Mom, Julie, said about the experience:

“Two weeks ago I had my first appointment in California since our move; my baby being due March 11th. At the appointment they wanted to do an ultrasound where they discovered many concerns with {the baby}.  By the next day the doctors told us that our daughter most likely had Trisomy 13 or 18, but they couldn’t be sure until after she was born and tested. This led to a week of anticipation. {Both Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18 are fatal diagnoses.  Over half of the babies affected with this do not live beyond the first week of life, and of the survivors, most die within the first year of life.}  The birth was risky; 50% are stillborn, but I felt the reassurance that she would be born alive.”

Here is her birth story (through the lens):

Feb. 26th, 2013

The induction

After 20 hours of labor, she finally came! Everyone held their breath to see if she would survive the delivery… she held her breath too!  But when the Dr’s tried to intubate her, she let out a tiny cry and started to breath on her own.  It was a miracle.  They put her on CPAP (a breathing assisting machine) and started all the other lines for monitoring and nutrition.  She was rushed to the Neonatal ICU (NICU).

The siblings (there were 6 of them!) all came to visit the morning Lily was born.  They were tangibly excited to see her.  Each one had a different way of expressing his/her feelings during this time.  It was an honor to capture their first moments together, and the expressions on their faces as they met their little sister.

Front Desk-checking in.
First they all learned how to properly wash their hands…  They watched very intently!
Even the littlest one….
Gathering around the tiny isolette of baby sis.
Sanitize again…
Each child got to touch her.  They were very much in “awe”.  So special.
Time to take the “youngers” out of the NICU 🙂  (Ya know- cuz there’s only so long they can hold still!)
Dad got to hold her while they fixed her bed up a bit.  Good job Daddy!!!
Back to Mommy’s room to visit
Mommy’s first Visit.
She was only 4lbs 8oz.
Touching her for the first time since her birth.
This is one of my favorite photos.  I felt such a reverence watching the Mother touch her little angel- that we knew had precious few moments left of life on this earth.  The whole room in the NICU was empty except for Lily’s bed.  And that’s the best word that can describe the feeling in that room.  Reverence.
Another one of my favorites.
I couldn’t have been happier to have caught her tiny eyes opening- even if it was only for a split second.
The Nurse let Mommy hold her for the first time.  It was a spiritual moment for all to witness.
She cried a tiny little cry- and I must say it was like music to hear.  Crying shows strength.  She was strong.
By now all my makeup had been washed away by the tears.  I was so lucky and blessed to have met this little baby and her family.  I will never forget this experience.

Lily lived for two and a half days. Her Mother was holding her without anything attached to her as she passed away.  She said of the experience, “It was so beautiful and precious.  I would do it again, and again, and again…”

Here is an excerpt from her beautiful obituary:

Our Little Angel

…. She spent two-and-a-half celestial days with us. We celebrated her first birthday with lilies, handwritten birthday cards from her brothers and sisters, and a big shiny balloon in the shape of a number one. On her second birthday, we gathered round her. We held her. We hugged her and kissed her again and again. We told her how much we loved her, and how we were going to miss her so very much. And we said good-bye. For now.
Baby Lily, we loved you before you were born, we loved you during every minute you shared with us here, and we love you now as much as ever-even more, if that is possible. We will love you forever. We feel so blessed and honored that you would come to earth to be part of our family. You have given us more love and more joy than we can hold in our hearts. Your brothers and sisters love you deeply. They asked, after you left your broken little body behind, why they could not have been taken, and you spared. They would gladly have traded places with you, so great and tender is their love for you. They can’t wait to be with you again. And so we shall. Soon enough. Now, you’re our little angel. You were an angel to us on earth. And now you’re an angel on the other side, looking after us, guiding us, and prompting us toward a joyous reunion with you in the great tomorrow that lies ahead. What a happy reunion that will be! In a place somewhere in the heavens, it was decreed you did not need the refining and the testing this mortal journey provides. You came to grace our lives, to fill our hearts and make us better, and to help us return safely to our Father in heaven. We love you for it.
Many family members were blessed to hold and love you during your short time on earth. Your two grandmothers traveled hundreds of miles to hold and love you. Your siblings took every chance to hold and love you and said the sweetest things about you. And your mother loved you as tenderly as a mother could love. Your father is so very proud of you, and so humbled that you would come to be with us, for a few mortal moments, and forever. Your grandfathers love you so much, and they too are so proud of you.
You’ve kept your part, and now it falls to us to keep ours. With God’s grace, we shall, and we shall live again together forever.

The funeral service was as beautiful as her birth.  So serene.

Despite the sadness of this day, I have to leave you with this:  I’ve never seen a Mother so radiant and glowing.  The whole service was filled with a peaceful acceptance of God’s Will and Grace, and the Faith of this family was beyond measure.
God be with you Lily, till we meet again!
***If you know someone who is going through something similar to this, please don’t hesitate to offer them my contact info to photograph their special moments.  I will do what I can to be there- and of course I offer my services for free in situations like this.  Every child will be remembered- and I love to be a part of making those memories timeless through a photographic perspective.***

If you would like to leave a comment for the family, please email it to Itsy Photography and it will be forwarded on to the family.  To maintain the sacred nature of this post, I will be keeping comments private and not publishing them on this blog post.  Thank you so much for your thoughts, love, and support of this family!  They can feel your love, even if you are far away 🙂