A surprise email
Before Sylvia was born, we were told about an organization, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which has volunteer photographers who come to the hospital and take pictures when there has been an infant death. The black and white pictures I have posted so far are from that photographer. In nursing school I remember learning about this organization. Though comparatively it meant nothing to me, as I couldn’t relate or even being to understand the magnitude of being pregnant let alone an infant death. But I do remember learning about it. Even still, knowing about this incredible organization, when we were asked if it was something we were interested in several hours after getting to the hospital, I found myself having an initial reaction of ‘no’. That lasted only seconds though, but still, it was what first popped into my head. I suppose it was coming from a place of fear. Inviting another person, who I didn’t know, into this incredibly terrifying and personal situation, who has no idea who I am, most likely has absolutely no way of relating or understanding and becoming involved. I realized quickly the magnitude and importance of the pictures and agreed to have a photographer called when Sylvia was born. The photographer was amazing. She came into the room put her hand on mind, looked me into the eyes and told me how sorry she was for my loss. It was so genuine, so compassionate and such a real emotion that I felt from her. She took the first picture of Sylvia, paused and said outlaid, ‘She is so beautiful, look at all that hair.’ She somehow captured the exact emotions of the room. So much love and so much pain. The pictures are incredible, priceless and I truly can not imagine not having them. Anyone who has seen them has cried. You can feel the love. You can feel the grief. Sylvia looks peaceful and perfect in all of them which is exactly how I remember her.
Babies who are not alive start to change quickly. When she was first born she looked like a pink sleeping little baby. Quickly her color and body started to change. For this reason, I am sure, the organization asks the photographers to convert and edit the pictures to black and white. I have over 60 edited beautiful black and white photos her in the bassinet and of me, Carlos and our family holding her. She sent me a link to the pictures two days after she was born. Today, the photographer emailed me many of the pictures which she left in color and edited. I sobbed looking through them. She didn’t have to do this for us, nor did we ask her to, but having the pictures in color mean a tremendous amount and like all moments and images we have of her, are priceless. We have many other color pictures of Sylvia taken by a nurse at the hospital and with our cell phones and though I am thankful for all of them, I wish I had a thousand more.
Here are some of my favorites from the ones left in color. xo