Service allows grieving parents to remember dying newborns with black-and-white photoshoot
A worldwide organisation is helping grieving parents say goodbye to their dying newborn children by capturing the short moments they had together.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is the idea of bereaved mother Cheryl Haggard and came about following the death of her newborn son, Maddox.
The organisation has now grown to 1,650 volunteers and operates in 40 countries.
The president of the NILMDTS (NILMDTS) said that the service is in demand where parents are informed. "When the hospitals know about our services then we find the demand is high".
The service aims to allow parents to say goodbye to newborn children before they pass away.
Many parents are photographing the children with their wedding and engagement rings in a celebration of the family unit.
Haggard says her own photos with Maddox bring only happiness to her and her husband.
“That night was the worst night of my life,” she said. “But when I look at the images, I am not reminded of my worst night. I’m reminded of the beauty and blessings he brought.”
In a blog on the site, she explains - to her son - what happened.
"Before we removed you from your life support...mommy and daddy actually turned to each other and said at the same time “I want photographs.”
"We wanted your beautiful face framed on our walls alongside your brother and sisters".
The hospital managed to find a photographer who rearranged her schedule to come in and photograph the couple and their child.
"Daddy thought we would take you off of your respirator and be able to take pictures of you right away, while you were still breathing. I knew in my heart that this couldn’t happen".
The photographer, Sandy, took a series of photographs while the couple cradled their son.
"Mommy was crying, Daddy was crying, Sandy was crying and everyone else in the room was crying. After about 30 minutes, she softly told us she had everything she needed".
The hospital staff and photographer cleared the room while the two parents laid down with Maddox.
"Mommy and Daddy have never in our lives felt such grief and pain, yet we felt so blessed".
After Maddox passed, the photographer took more photographs of the trio.
"Daddy had said to me he had never seen your Mommy more beautiful, or more gentle with you".
"There are no words to describe the pain and heartache that we were feeling".
"Mommy and Daddy remembered thanking (Sandy) over and over for being with us... We were so grateful. Then she said something that has never left me. She thanked us - for putting our trust in her and letting her be a part of what we were experiencing".
Read the full, heartbreaking blog here.