The Photographer


AUGUST 25, 2015

I just saw the NICU photographer that takes photos of little angel babies just now. He was carrying his camera and all his camera equipment. I saw walking down the sidewalk towards the Hospital entrance.

Throughout our NICU time (5 months) I saw this man doing his volunteer photography a total 6 times. Three of those times were rooms that my son was in. Once I saw him twice in one week. At first I didn’t know who he was. The first time I saw him he was in a room I was walking past to see my son. I knew he was a photographer, but I had no idea what he really did. It wasn’t until that third time that I saw him work in my sons room. He came in with bags of equipment. The nicu staff had cleared a corner for this baby’s bed. They put up the white screens for privacy. I was intrigued because I have heard of NICU photo sessions. Something I had thought about doing. Hiring a photographer to take amazing pictures of my twins.

I heard the photographer ask the nurse where the parents were…if they were going to be present. The nurse shook her head and said “No.” She said, “The parents don’t want to be here for this.” And the photographer shrugged his shoulders and responded with, “Well, sometimes we get those type.” I was a little perplexed at their little conversation. I thought, why wouldn’t a mama want to be present for a baby photo session? Why would any mama miss this?

The nurse sat on the side of the white screen that was spread open wide around the bed for the photographer to move around. I could hear him take the photos. I began really thinking about getting a photographer at this point. Thinking about all these milestones. Yeah, I took photos of the twins every single day I was there in the NICU. But I’m pretty sure a professional would get even more amazing shots and angles that I couldn’t. After about 30 minutes the photographer finished. He packed up his things and left. The nurse went behind the white screen and sat with this baby for a bit. I remember the nurse in charge came in and checked on the nurse… asked her if she was okay… if she wanted to go home early. I couldn’t hear her response. I thought.. aww… must be her primary baby and she’s leaving… that’s cool she gets to go home early. But then I saw a man… he went behind the white screen and met with the nurse.

(I’m not going to go into details about what I was watching unfold)

After a while, the man left and the nurse was taking the white screen down. I curiously looked in the bed to see this little baby that was getting her photo taken… but there was no baby.During that time my mind was so clouded with NICU stress it was difficult for me to process information quickly. It took me a minute to realize what was really happening. I asked my son’s nurse what had happened to that baby. She told me she passed away this morning of NEC. I was in shock. I realized why the parents weren’t there for these pictures.I was so incredibly sad. The lump in my throat was choking me. I couldn’t believe what had happened. What I was watching… Where I was… and who was there in the room with me.

He’s a photographer that donates his time to the Children’s Hospital and takes Forever Loved photos of babies and children who never make it home. I thought what a noble thing to do for parents… for families… for babies. I know I would never ever be able to do it. I would be a big mess with every photo. But I am glad to know that there ARE people like him. There are people that can swoop in so quietly and capture these moments for parents that they will never experience again. Moments that are often never spoken about. Moments that will forever live, not only in the thoughts of parents and nurses, but in those photos.

He was the NICU photographer.

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