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.
5/11/2011 01:54:45 am
Thus is a great thing. IMO. My brother-in-law's sister carried her baby for 6 months and then found out he was not living. She carried him for three more months until she could give birth to him....it was the saddest thing I'd ever heard. She has had a baby since and mother and child are very healthy!! My warmest thoughts are with these families.
5/11/2011 02:07:21 am
AWESOME! Great story Michelle.
5/11/2011 02:09:38 am
Great story, Michelle. I had a friend in the Triad use NILMDTS. She found out somewhat early in her pregnancy that her little girl wouldn't survive for very long after she was born. Imagine carrying a child that you know isn't going to live. NILMDTS was there to take photos after delivery. Great service.
5/11/2011 02:10:33 am
When I began in ministry, 25 years ago, this was a relatively new idea. Having participated in memorial services held by Compassionate Friends, I can assure you that NILMDTS is a god-send. Thanks for the story.
5/11/2011 02:13:39 am
you never get over the death of someone you love...no matter how old they are...pictures are cherished memories >3
5/11/2011 02:14:39 am
I wouldn't take ANYTHING for the pictures of my baby that fretful Halloween night...of all night for a nightmare! This is a wonderful gesture on these photographer's parts!
5/11/2011 02:15:25 am
What a tender and precious service to provide.
5/11/2011 02:15:56 am
This story really touches home to me bc I had a little boy born 15 weeks early n he lived for 14 days n the only memories I have Is the pictures that were taken.. I definately think this is a great thing to offer... Rip Nathan William lee 7 7 07
5/11/2011 02:16:41 am
5/11/2011 02:17:14 am
I soooo cried when I saw this story... MY THOUGHTS & HEART GOES OUT TO ALL FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST A CHILD! !!!!!!!
5/11/2011 02:17:49 am
I also lost an angel in 2008. Our Baby boy Tristan Michael who we lost at 20 weeks. He will live in our heart forever. This story touched our hearts and my heart goes out to the family.
5/11/2011 02:18:44 am
It is never easy to lose a child, regardless of either age.
5/11/2011 02:20:08 am
it is awesome to have these photgraphers volunteering their time for this. pictures are worth soo much when i loved one passing. and i pray for all the families that have lost a baby at birth.
5/11/2011 02:20:55 am
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep touched my heart..it is ver important for parents whose newborn dies to have pictures. What a beautiful gift. My son died unexpectedly for months ago at age 23. Every picture of him is an irreplaceable treasure now.
5/11/2011 02:21:25 am
Thanks for the beautiful story about the Fosters....very touching and sad....they have alot of courage!!!
5/11/2011 02:22:01 am
Lay me down to sleep.... absolutely a beautiful story.. I just had a baby last summer and I just couldn't imagine what those families go through. That's so nice, what they do for them.. so touching
5/11/2011 02:23:12 am
I have had 2 baby boys and they were sick wit a rare genetic disorder so they didnt live very long..its a hard thing to cope with
5/11/2011 02:23:37 am
Michele DiMaio Hutchinson I had 2 miscarriages very early on in pregnancies. One in 2001 and one in 2002. Adopted a beautiful baby girl in 2005 who is now 6 and in 2009, at almost 39 years old, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Still think about those miscarriages often and wonder why...
5/11/2011 02:24:19 am
My daughter would be turning "sweet 16" on May 20th. She was stillborn at 25 weeks. There are no words to describe the pain of losing a child like that, and that pain never completely goes away. I miss her terribly. I also credit her for my being the kind of mother I am to her little brother. I don't take a single day for granted. Happy Birthday, Maggie!
5/11/2011 02:28:06 am
Very powerful! Another terrific story..
5/11/2011 06:05:33 am
Beautifully done Michelle, so proud of your work!
5/11/2011 09:35:39 am
That was really well done, Michelle. I loved it.
5/11/2011 09:36:09 am
5/11/2011 09:36:28 am
Wow. That is a great story. My prayers go out to the family featured.
5/11/2011 09:36:47 am
5/11/2011 09:47:35 am
okay, you made me cry! GREAT story and GREAT thing those photographers are doing!
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