Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

NILMDTS_tm_logoThis past week I finally heard back from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and was officially approved to serve as a volunteer photographer for the organization. For those that are unaware, the organization serves to families who have lost a baby due to various reason before or after birth. The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation (NILMDTS) administers a network of almost 7,000 volunteer photographers in the United States and twenty-five countries. At a family’s request, a NILMDTS Affiliated Photographer will come to the hospital or hospice location and conduct a sensitive and private portrait session. The portraits are then professionally retouched and presented to the families on an archival DVD or CD that can be used to print portraits of their cherished baby.

When I first received word that I was approved I felt totally honored and anxious to begin helping families who have lost their little one through sharing the gift of my photography. Though I must admit that with volunteering to photograph a little one who has passed away comes many emotions that any normal person would struggle to confront, so for me experiencing so many personal losses myself through my previous miscarriages I must admit that I was a little unsettled and unsure how I’d truly handle volunteering. However, I am continually reminded of my last night in the hospital after our most recent miscarriage in October and I can’t help but accept the fact that I do have a gift and I know I am meant to share this gift with so many others in need and others who have lost a little one just like myself. I know many people think I’m crazy for volunteering to put myself through moments like this as I will likely experience many emotional and sad moments ahead in order to capture moments for families. However, in my heart I know it is something important that I do because though my losses happened so early in pregnancy, if I had carried a baby full term and then suffered the loss I would certainly hope for a way to remember the little one.

Last night I received a call from the Orlando area coordinator and initially I thought it would be an introduction to what would be needed from me as a volunteer but after a few short minutes I was informed that I was needed last night to photograph a little one who had passed away unexpectedly due to complications during delivery. I know many of you heard that I volunteered last night for the first time so I thought I’d reassure you all that though it was tough, I have made it through my first time volunteering with NILMDTS. I do find that my heart is a little heavier today but I know my emotions are small in comparison to what the family must be feeling at this very moment. Due to the sensitivity of the photos and in the best interest of the privacy of the family I will not be sharing photos like I do with many photoshoots I do. Last night I met with a young mother who lost her little boy who she carried to full term. I was informed that he was perfectly healthy and he passed away due to a placental abruption. It was sad to see a little one who looked just as healthy as any other newborn I have photographed. He had 10 perfect toes and fingers. A sweet little nose and cheeks. He was perfect in every way. I suppose what makes it even tougher is that this family lost their little one so close to the holidays.  As sad as it was, I was honored to meet this little angel and I pray that as the weeks, months and years pass that the family cherishes the images I captured of their little one.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and thoughts you’ve sent my way. It certainly takes a lot of courage for me to volunteer to photograph such sensitive moments. However, I ask instead you begin to say those prayers for families like the one I took photos for last night. I certainly will be saying prayers that they are able to find peace in their time of loss.

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December 16, 2009 - 7:09 pm

Tanya - I will pray for them! I am proud you were able to be there to offer them this during their time of need, they will cherish this for the coming years I am sure and it will give them great help in healing. Love you!

December 18, 2009 - 5:15 am

Mark - I love your work Amanda. I also know how hard it is to photograph sensitive material. None of my experience is anywhere close to losing a newborn, but I know it is hard. I always think the families will cherish those images and I am glad you are so good to make them even more special. It is the meaning behind taking those heartfelt photographs that strive for me to become an even better photographer, so our images may touch the hearts of the viewers on an unspeakable level. Your work is an inspiration. God Bless.

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