If you watched the news at 11 Tuesday night, you would have seen a story I wrote about a group called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. The organization is essentially run by volunteer photographers who take pictures of families when their babies pass away.
The initial reaction I got from a majority of our newsroom was, "That seems kind of weird, " but when they saw the story, they
"got" it. Historically speaking, taking pictures of deceased family members used to be the norm. Then, doctors and other professionals started telling parents to avoid bonding with their baby if a demise was likely.
These days that reasoning is thrown out the window. And parents are saying, "Yes, we did have a baby, and this baby was part of our family." And they're getting a little comfort from NILMDTS. Volunteer photographers will get a call from the hospital... and then drive there to take pictures.
I didn't mention this in the TV story, but the photographers have to work in extreme conditions. A baby's demise is evident very quickly, so the photographers must shoot almost immediately after the birth. That's why you see pictures where the baby's fingernails are dark. Skin color and extremities change so rapidly. Also, the lighting is typically terrible in hospitals. And, don't forget, you're working with extremely grief-stricken parents. Can you imagine?
Anyway, the Wilmington group is looking for more photographers. Bill Garmon is in charge of the local group, and he says right now, there are too many people getting turned down at the hospital because there aren't enough volunteers. If you know someone, please talk to them about this special project.
Also, I want to thank the Foster family for sharing their story. I didn't share this on TV, but Heather's father passed away suddenly from a rare disease when she was 8 months pregnant. Then, she lost the baby.
And, one more thing, I wanted to thank all the people on WECT's Facebook page for sharing their stories. I think it shows that yes, mothers, fathers and entire families always carry with them the loss of a baby.