This was a very special session. Let’s start at the very beginning … which for me was a few weeks ago.
One of my customers e-mailed me and told me about her sister-in-law who was in a very sad situation. She said that she was pregnant, due very soon, but had been told the baby would not, could not, survive. They had decided to carry him to term anyway just to see his sweet little face if only for a few moments. They hired a photographer from NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) to come capture these moments for them. She wanted to know if I volunteered for the organization … and if not, I should consider it (I don’t … but I am looking into it).
Fast forward to last Wednesday when I received another e-mail from her. She told me that baby Owen had survived! He was currently 5 days old and nobody knew (or knows) his future at this point … but could I please come to Johnstown and photograph this adorable little boy? They loved the NILMDTS photos but he was home now and he was looking quite different and these are better memories.
So off I went on Friday afternoon.
It was not what I expected.
I talked to my photographer friends ahead of time and they all told me I was so brave and it would be so hard. I expected that. I thought I would want to cry the whole time. What I didn’t expect was the cheery, happy home I walked into. Everybody was laughing and smiling! What I realized afterwards was that they got what nobody ever expected. They thought he would pass on immediately after birth. He didn’t. And nobody knows if he may live days or weeks or months or years … they are so HAPPY to enjoy him for the time they’ve got him.
I also didn’t quite expect the crowd. There was a lot of family there! And you’ll see the very last picture of the bunch is Owen with all of his cousins (and his stinkin’ adorable big sister) who are all 3 and under. That was a fun photograph to take!
More information about Owen as I know it: he has an encephalocele on his head (as you will see). It makes him totally unable to move his head so he is stuck on his little back all of the time (and getting bed sores because of it). His parents can’t just pick him up and hold him … they have to move around the padding that he’s lying on in the pictures. Jostling him is dangerous. Since none of the doctors expected him to live it seems that there wasn’t much research done but now that he is … some pretty major hospitals are getting hold of his scans to see what they can do for him.
Owen’s care is likely to be pretty expensive so if you’d like to contribute to this wonderful family, you can send a check to: Bishop McCort Catholic High School and put “Sheridan fund” in the memo section of your check. The address is: 25 Osborne St. Johnstown, PA 15905.
And now for the pictures.