Love and Loss

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Love and Loss…this evening I wanted to take a moment to honor a family friend and show support for their family.

One of my favorite sessions is maternity and getting to know the mommy and daddy to be and getting to become part of their family for a few months, hearing about the names, the pregnancy the quirks, the nursery and hopes for the future.  Being able to capture their family as they are with the joy in their eyes and tenderness towards their new addition.  Being invited in to the hospital to meet their new baby, photographing them as they discover on their own what traits resemble whom, where the birthmarks may be hidden, what color hair they think they see and the relatives joy in the opportunity to hold their new sleeping family member as the new parents rest a bit, while thinking what the next moment holds.

I had this opportunity for our friend.  The daddy-to-be, Ryan, is a former student of mine in my previous field of sports medicine.   Years passed, he married Liz, and I had the opportunity to meet her, get to know her and when they were expecting their son, I was asked to do their maternity session as well as their newborn session.  It was an honor.

Expectant couple kissing surrounded by colorful leaves in Santa Barbara park. Photography by Images by Valerie.  Valerie Villa of Images by Valerie taking a picture of a newborn in her Santa Barbara studio.Images by Valerie-36

My family moved and I now specialize in maternity, children and family photography…I keep up with Liz and Ryan through Facebook and Christmas Cards.  I was elated to see they were expecting their 2nd baby.  Liz, the mommy is a blogger so I followed along on with he family…the excitement as well as the lows, and then the unimaginable.  They found out their little one had an extremely rare condition and was not likely going to survive her birth.  We followed as they came to terms, went through the stages of loss, while trying to experience the highs of this baby still kicking and growing and the fun of having a toddler in their home.  As a friend, I tried to be supportive as I could from afar while giving them space.

Today I blog with the permission of Liz and Ryan…to allow others in on their love, courage and strength and hopefully helping others through it as well.  Baby Aila Isabel was born this morning, after being induced months early.  She blessed her parents with life for 45 minutes before passing.  Her parents and older brother were able to meet her which is what they prayed for.  They have beautiful images to hold onto, capturing those moments.  My heart goes out for them and anyone else who has been or is going through this unimaginable loss.  I invite others to read her blog as she puts into words so beautifully all that they went through:   Life & Other Superfluous Things, although, I must warn you that most her posts left me in tears.

Thank you Liz and Ryan for opening your lives to me and everyone else, I am honored to have you as my friends.

Several people had passed on information to them when they first learned the prognosis of Aila that I would like to pass on here as well.  There are 2 organizations that provide photography in these situations.  I am a local volunteer photographer with The Tiny Footprints Project (TTFP).  They provide professional photography for baby’s in the NICU at the parents request- free of charge.  They also have had photographers there at birth when the outcome was expected to be grave. TTFP is an international non profit and I am proud to be part of them.  The other is Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…their mission is to provide the gift of remembrance photography for parents suffering the loss of a baby.  They have local professional volunteer photographers as well.

 

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