Tuesday, April 22, 2008

NILMDTS and a response

It's not very often that I talk about the charity I'm partnered with, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. For one, it's pretty personal, but more importantly, what can I say? It scares some folks off to hear about it and for others, they just can't listen for very long without getting upset so I talk about it in abbreviated terms or not at all. And frankly, I want to -- I want to raise awareness of this amazing charity and also to acknowledge all the families who have lost babies -- that's it real, frequent and shouldn't be ignored.

On Friday, last week, I got a letter from one of my November '07 families from Fairfax Hospital. It was a "Thank You" card along with a typed letter, a check (which I didn't and can't accept) and a Remembrance card using one of my photos for their son, Christian. I was shaking when I opened it. Not really sure why but partially worry for this family in terms of their mental health and maybe what they thought of my photos (knowing they would mention it), etc. The card (seeing how my image was used) nearly brought me to tears but the letter written by Bridget, the mom, did bring me to tears. I talked to her at length on Monday about it -- about her experience, how she was doing, about my experience, why I do this, about God's work for us -- and we talked for a good 45 minutes about so much. I really feel I have gained a friend in her now. She told me I could share her letter since I am always trying to recruit more photographers for this great cause, and know some are curious about what this charity is all about to begin with. This letter just confirms why I am doing this and will, no question, keep me going even stronger than before.

Plus, I thought it would be helpful to share a mother's perspective on it -- it's rare that I hear from any of my families. Here goes...

Dear Julia,

First I would like to apologize for taking so long to write this note to you. My little boy was stillborn on November 7, 2007. You came up to Fairfax Hospital to take pictures of us. Thank you so much! I can't put into words the deep gratitude I feel for what you did for me. Of all the people who helped me through that horrible ordeal, what you did helped me the most. I really can't thank you enough. You gave me a gift that I will always treasure. It must have been difficult to start your day by going on an unexpected trip to the hospital that morning. Thank you so much for saying YES and coming. I know it isn't easy to be with people who are feeling so much pain. I'm sure it takes a toll on you too. I want you to know that what you did for me and what you gave me is priceless. The pictures and the slideshow have helped my grieving process so much. There is so much I feel that I can't explain or put into words. Just know that you did so much more than just take a few pictures. Those pictures are the only physical things I have left of Christian. I can't imagine trying to get through this without them. My husband and I and the nurses took pictures of him, but they aren't anything like the ones you took. I used one of the pictures you took of Christian's hands to make a remembrance card, which I sent to my family and friends. Making that card helped my grieving process and I couldn't have done it without that beautiful picture you took. I've included one of those cards as I thought you might like to see it.

My family and I are doing well. I hope someday we will have another precious little baby. If we do, it would be an honor if you would take a family picture of us. Thank you so much for all that you did.



This is the photo they used and the scripture they had on the card.


chepai said...


I am so proud of you and think you are an amazing woman, mother, wife, friend, daughter. It takes a very special person to handle photos like this. I'm glad God handpicked you to be that person!

Lots of hugs,
Cheryl Painter

Janene said...

Julia - My Christian was born just ten days before Bridget's Christian. Thank you for sharing this deeply personal story and for the priceless gift you gave to another mother. I am moved to tears every time I read about the work of NILMDTS. Bless you!! Janene

MK said...

Thank you for posting this. Such inspiration.