Some of you have read my story about Sam before. Some of you are familiar with the NILMDTS organization, and some of you are lucky enough not to. It is something that is near and dear to my heart, but I hate that it is. NILMDTS is a network of photographers that donate their time to photograph babies that don't get to live in our world. They are usually born silent and into the hands of God. Sam is one such baby.
Sam was my first session as a new volunteer for the group. I was exhausted and recovering from a solid weekend of weddings and session work when I got the call from the hospital. They needed me to come and photograph a baby that was about to be born via c-section. I sighed, and said I would do it, because this was more important that sitting on the couch that morning. I cried the entire drive to the hospital and had to compose myself before entering the front doors. How do I enter this space and approach a family that has just lost a piece of themselves.
What followed the next 1-2 hours was nothing short of life changing. I was welcomed into a warm and sunny room full of the heaviest sadness that I've ever felt. It was an awful dichotomy. The warmth, however wasn't just from the sunshine filtering through the windows. The warmth emanated from the love that was pouring out of this family onto Sam, and his parents. I met many people that day, and I don't know all of their names, but I know their faces.
A few days later, I explained to my husband that I needed to attend the viewing for Sam's funeral. I entered a room completely full of images that I was able to capture and gift to Sam's family. They were everywhere. Every person in that room was able to meet Sam. I was afraid that Sam's mom wouldn't recognize me, or that I would be another painful reminder of that day, but I waited in line anyways to offer my condolences. As soon as she saw me, she got up from her chair; this mother who was still recovering from her c-section; got up and hugged me.
Fast forward to this week. Sam's mother and I have kept in touch over Facebook and I have followed her story. Another miscarriage, and now, a pregnancy with her Norah. I rejoiced when they announced this baby and her upcoming due date. I prayed for nothing to go wrong. I worried about her heart, can she handle this?
Tomorrow, I make the drive to Indiana to be there, and document the entirety of Norah's entry into the outside world. I will be taking photos along my journey so you can follow along and rejoice with me when she is here. I don't think anyone is ready for what Wednesday will bring, but I can not wait. I can't wait to see another beautiful baby in Abby's arms. I can't wait to see Ted holding his tiny baby girl. I hope the sun shines on them and Sam smiles down on his sister. I can't wait to hear her scream and cry, although I do not think that she will be without snuggling arms for a moment. Sam is still an integral part of this family's life, and he always will be. Norah is adding to and growing their love, and putting weight in their arms, and crumbs in their car. She will make messes in her crib and spit up on all of Ted's shirts just before he walks out the door to work. She will leave toys all over the floor and frustrate her mom beyond belief. She will talk back and give her parent's attitude. She will hold her daddy's arm when he walks her down the aisle someday. Norah will fill their hearts and lives to the bursting point. Norah, you are more loved than you know by more people than you will ever have time to meet. I will see you soon!