I have found a group of women in the Springfield area who enjoy photography as much as I do and who encourage and support each others own personal journey. In addition, we all realize the value of capturing not just those “special moments” but the every day moments. Together we are embarking on a 12 month photography project.
Each month we will try and take personal images and blog on them. The theme will be “What ___ looks like.” Each month we will each choose to fill in the blank with our word of choice. Some of us may choose to use the same word all year and some may choose to change it up each month. We will each link to the next photographer until our circle of is complete.
We hope this project inspires you to take more pictures of your own families! Make sure to read through to the end and then visit the link to the blog of another central Illinois photographer!
This month: What A Miracle Looks like
I often don’t blog about the volunteer work I do, so when this month’s personal project came up, I knew it would be a great opportunity to share. I am a member of several organizations that offer free photography services for various reasons including Inspiration Through Art and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. In addition to these organizations, I have done some work on my own including for the Animal Protective League and for individual families. This is the story of an individual family that I had the opportunity to work with.
Several months ago, I became aware of a baby who was born quite early and was fighting for her life in the NICU. Born at only 2 lbs , they were told that her chance of survival was minimal. At 5 weeks old, the doctors told the family that her kidneys would not work and that there was nothing else they could do. Since she couldn’t urinate, she had ballooned up to frightening proportions from retained fluids. It was putting an unbearable strain on the rest of her body, including her lungs and the sutures from a previous bowel surgery. It looked as though they would need to start deciding when to pull life support.
Instead of pulling life support, her parents decided to wait as long as humanely possible and pray for a miracle. Just a couple days later, little Eliza began squirting out urine for the first time in her life. In just a couple of hours, she went from almost no kidney function to full kidney function. In the days that followed, her kidney function returned to completely normal levels, she lost most of her retained fluids, and the swelling was rapidly disappearing. A nurse said that in her many years in the NICU she’d never seen a baby recover from a lack of kidney function that severe until then.
The months that followed were no easy feat for this family. They were not from the Springfield area and both parents were working as teachers near their home, almost an hour away from the hospital in Springfield. Eliza’s mom and dad moved into Ronald McDonald house to be close to their little fighter and dad continued to commute the hour to work every day. Various surgeries followed with little Eliza fighting through. Eliza’s mom and I had been in contact through these couple of months, as I offered to come to the NICU to capture some images of them and their angel.
Four months and four days after she was born, I finally got to meet little Eliza Mae. What an amazing experience to be a part of. Mom and dad’s red arms from scrubbing in day after day was a testament to the vigil they held for the past several months. This little girl, who was thought to never leave the NICU…would be going home. The idea of taking her off the monitor systems to capture some images was a foreign idea to her mom, as she had been staring at those screens for months. While scary at first, the realization that their baby would be coming home has to be one of the most amazing things this family has ever experienced. Thank you Laura & Elliott for letting me share this miracle with you.