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04/19/2006 12:39:01 PM · #1
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Man, this just chokes me up!

-Chad
04/19/2006 12:45:43 PM · #2
Oh man, you're not kidding. What a wonderful program, and what a difficult job for the participating photographers.
04/19/2006 12:50:45 PM · #3
//www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/

this one got to me more - it's great what people do for each other

I lost two brothers (they would be 40 now - they were very premature twins) after 45 minutes, would love to have this kind of resource to remember them.

I would love to help, but wonder if my work is up to par with what these people need - darn that self-doubt
04/19/2006 01:00:19 PM · #4
Wow, that's some great stuff. I feel drawn being both a photog and a pediatrician, but I echo digitalknight wondering if I would be up to the task. I can recall more than one occasion in the NICU bawling my eyes out with the parents and wondering in a detached sort of way if this was proper for the doctor to be doing. The answer was always the same, "f*** it, I'll cry if I want to!"
04/19/2006 01:03:03 PM · #5
What a wonderful idea. You know, we look at all the technical sides to taking a photo, but it always remains the photo's ability to touch the viewer that places it in that "special" catagory. These photos would certainly be special.

I would say that if you take decent shots, and the service is not available by professionals in your area, that the families would appreciate any efforts made.
04/19/2006 01:36:35 PM · #6
What a nice story. Thanks for posting that.
04/19/2006 01:44:48 PM · #7
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Wow, that's some great stuff. I feel drawn being both a photog and a pediatrician, but I echo digitalknight wondering if I would be up to the task. I can recall more than one occasion in the NICU bawling my eyes out with the parents and wondering in a detached sort of way if this was proper for the doctor to be doing. The answer was always the same, "f*** it, I'll cry if I want to!"


As a parent of two small children, I rather appreciate it when the pediatrician is not detached. I know "professionalism" and all that, but geesh, be human. :)

I would love to be part of that, but I would prolly cry too much to take pictures. . .
04/19/2006 02:31:03 PM · #8
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Wow, that's some great stuff. I feel drawn being both a photog and a pediatrician, but I echo digitalknight wondering if I would be up to the task. I can recall more than one occasion in the NICU bawling my eyes out with the parents and wondering in a detached sort of way if this was proper for the doctor to be doing. The answer was always the same, "f*** it, I'll cry if I want to!"


DrAchoo....it is always better to be human than cold. However, always show strength until truly nothing can be done.

I've always thought it insightful, the passages in Samuel regarding King David when his infant son was ill. While the baby lived he fasted and prayed and was in mourning. Then after the child died he went about his business.

In a somewhat different angle, if I were a parent on the verge of losing a child - I would want the doctor to be strong and hopeful but heartfelt. However, if our child died, it would be comforting to have the doctor join us in weeping and mourning. Than we'd truly know the doctor was both human and heartfelt. That all of this was not merely just a procedure but that the doctor had invested his heart and soul to the task and likewise wept with us in the aftermath.

However, until that point in which nothing could any longer be done...we'd need you to be strong and hopeful.

- Saj
04/19/2006 02:37:10 PM · #9
Yes, the most specific instance I recall the baby was being removed from life support and dying in mom's arms. I still choke up thinking about it because all the mom could say was how sorry she was to the little baby as if it was somehow her fault (it wasn't). The combination of guilt and sadness just overwhelmed me and gave me a poignant picture of the brokeness of our world. I wept.
04/19/2006 02:50:44 PM · #10
Many of you know that my son was born premature. May 11th will be his first birthday. We spent 1 week in the NICU nurturing him. While we were there they lost 1 baby and the twin was not expected to make it. This story really hits home with me and helps me realize how truly blessed my wife and I are to be able to celebrate Stephen's birthday in a couple of weeks. I also got a chance to get to know the parents of babies who were in far worse condition than my son. The services these photographers are providing are truly priceless. This is something I may have to look more into. I may see if I can get involved. This would probably be the most difficult photography anyone could ever do, but the service it's providing to the parents far outweighs any selfish reasons I would have for not doing it.

Thank you for this post, I'm going to do some soul-searching and some research to see if this is something I want to get involved in. The hospital where my son was born has the only NICU in the area and I happen to work right across the street from it.
04/19/2006 02:53:38 PM · #11
You would think that most of these shots would be taken at the hospital? I ask because it is something I might like to do, but of course, don't have a studio.

I would think that perhaps if a hospital cooperates, that you could find an empty room to use as the "studio"? I might email them and find out if I might qualify.
04/19/2006 03:12:36 PM · #12
Originally posted by jpochard:

You would think that most of these shots would be taken at the hospital? I ask because it is something I might like to do, but of course, don't have a studio.

I would think that perhaps if a hospital cooperates, that you could find an empty room to use as the "studio"? I might email them and find out if I might qualify.


Check the site... there seems to be a combination of hospital and studio shots. I would imagine it depends on the health of the baby. My son for example could not regulate body temperature (common among preemies) and could not spend more than 30 minutes outside of his isolette. Many babies are on oxygen and can leave the hospital on portable oxygen. Our NICU is very big on what they call "Kangaroo Care". It's when the parent spends "skin-to-skin" contact with the baby to help nurture the baby. It's a great experience for the parent and child, but the point is, they have rolling curtains they can set up to allow for some privacy for the baby and parent. I would imagine that getting involved as a photographer would not be nearly as difficult as getting the approval of the hospital to do something like this.

I just did a story with our NICU about our experience there that is going to be featured in their upcoming magazine (complete with images of my son) so I should be able to approach them without much difficulty. My advice in doing something like this would be to talk to the PR director for the hospital. I'm doing some research and will keep you guys posted. The nowilaymedowntosleep website has information on how to become a photographer for them. I've downloaded their service agreement and am going to discuss this at length with my wife. I'll let you guys know what happens.
04/19/2006 03:18:54 PM · #13
From the article:
Haggard and photographer Sandy Puc started the non-profit program after Haggard's baby, Maddox, died just six days after he was born. Haggard said she took solace in Puc's photos and wanted the service to be offered to everybody.
**************************

Sandy is a neighbor of mine. She started out with a studio in her master bedroom about 12 years ago. She has quite a way with kids and was the only photographer I've ever been able to get my son Spencer to smile for. After awhile she had so much business out of the house that she moved into a studio. Her husband was the chef for Bronco's head coach and she was able to get a lot of business from player families, Super Bowls, etc. Now the neighbors who were there in the humble beginnings can no longer afford her. :-(

Sandy does a lot to pay back the community -- the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep program is just a very small piece. Her studio collects coats in the fall , is working with the Race for the Cure and she and her husband have been foster parents. Good things happen to good people. I just took a photo of her kids for a school project which was completely intimidating!

You can read more about the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep program and Sandy here:

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
04/19/2006 03:19:32 PM · #14
I know one of the chaplains at the Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, so I might talk to her about it.

I sent an email to the program to see if I would qualify, but there is nothing that says I couldn't do it on my own for the local hospitals. I am also trained as a Stephen Minister (info HERE ) and A Stephen Ministry Leader (I actually do the trainning.) which I think might be a plus for sensitive sessions such as these.

Chad, thanks for that link. It's a wonderful idea.

Message edited by author 2006-04-19 15:22:25.
04/19/2006 04:46:54 PM · #15
What a beautiful idea/ programme. Thanks for sharing it. Very uplifting.
04/20/2006 10:35:28 AM · #16
OK, I did it... I faxed the Photographer's Agreement to them. They have very few photographers (and none in my area) and since I live near one of the premier NICU's in this area, I figure I should give it a go. I have very mixed feelings about this. I think it'll be emotionally very difficult to participate in a service like this, but I also think it's a invaluable service to parents. I'll keep ya'll posted and may need some support from you guys. Anyone else want to get involved?
04/20/2006 10:57:15 AM · #17
Originally posted by Palmetto_Pixels:

OK, I did it...


Kudos, Lee! You are a brave soul. I'm agonizing over this, there are several Wisconsin photographers on the list, but NONE in southeastern WI (Milwaukee area), which is the most populous area of the state, and has several NICUs. I'd love to give this a go, but my greatest fear would be that my day job would interfere to the point that I wouldn't be much use. I think I may need to talk with them and see how they feel about the situation.
04/20/2006 11:11:10 AM · #18
Originally posted by kirbic:

I'd love to give this a go, but my greatest fear would be that my day job would interfere to the point that I wouldn't be much use. I think I may need to talk with them and see how they feel about the situation.


I thought long and hard about my decision last night and talked to my wife at length. She's a great support system and feels the same as I do. The NICU did such a wonderful thing for us that we feel compelled to give back. My day job will present some problems also, but since I'm only a 5 minute walk from the NICU, I could conceivably do this before/after work, and on breaks. I live about 15 minutes from the hospital so I could also be available rather easily after hours. I realize I may not always be available, but I going to make every effort to help these parents as much as I can.

The way I look at it, these parents are going through the most difficult experience any human being could possibly have to endure. If there is any possible way I can contribute to help them then I must put any personal reservations I have aside and do it.
04/20/2006 02:50:18 PM · #19
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Yes, the most specific instance I recall the baby was being removed from life support and dying in mom's arms. I still choke up thinking about it because all the mom could say was how sorry she was to the little baby as if it was somehow her fault (it wasn't). The combination of guilt and sadness just overwhelmed me and gave me a poignant picture of the brokeness of our world. I wept.


My wife and I experienced this in February with our daughter. Her surviving brother came home just two weeks ago.

The doctors, nurses, and staff will forever have my gratitude for all that they have done. My daughter was born at 13 ounces, and wasn't even expected to survive the 10 days she did. My son was born at 1 lb 9 oz and is now almost 5lbs (and doing nearly as well as a healthy newborn).

My experience has shed some light on the way doctors handle patients that I would like to share with you. Don't be afraid to show your emotions. We always felt a sense of detachment from many of the doctors, and we knew it was because they knew our daughters likely-hood of survival was next to none. This made us feel even more hopeless, feeling like the doctors had no hope. Don't be afraid to share yourself and give a little hope (if there is at least a litte hope to give). The sorrow will hit just as hard whether or not there is that glimmer of hope. I just feel it's better to be positive to the end.

To all thinking of doing this or are doing this, you are awesome. I wish I would have had more quality pictures of my daughter. Quite frankly all I really have of my daughter are bad snap shots.

A couple warnings to those who are going to be going to the NICU:
-This place can be crazy, you may want to try and visit one before actually going there for pictures.
-Many parents of preemies, myself included, become severe germ-a-phobes. Just be aware, if you are or might be sick stay away entirely. If you have allergies, take a pill. Make sure you follow the hand washing procedures and be very concious of other parents who may be holding their babies. I can't tell you how many times somebody brought in their third cousins' wifes' sister who starts coughing while walking past us holding our baby. You can imagine the glares coming from us and the nurses.
-Our NICU was cramped with babies and had no space for photographic equipment. Again, visit before hand to see what you can bring. Likely will be just a camera and possibly a flash. I refused to use my flash, because preemies are at high risk for eye problems. I don't know that there are any actual medical implications, but it seems somewhat logical that flash is bad for preemies eyes.

Sorry for the long post, this topic really hits home for me.
04/20/2006 02:57:53 PM · #20
Nice story. My girlfriend has been doing something like this for years but with her retouching business. She retouches photos of stillborns for free and those aren't easy to do.
04/21/2006 09:26:23 PM · #21
Well, it's official. I'm listed as a NILMDTS photographer. I'm going to approach our NICU about the services provided on Monday.

Originally posted by jayjay06:

...
A couple warnings to those who are going to be going to the NICU:
-This place can be crazy, you may want to try and visit one before actually going there for pictures.
-Many parents of preemies, myself included, become severe germ-a-phobes. Just be aware, if you are or might be sick stay away entirely. If you have allergies, take a pill. Make sure you follow the hand washing procedures and be very concious of other parents who may be holding their babies. I can't tell you how many times somebody brought in their third cousins' wifes' sister who starts coughing while walking past us holding our baby. You can imagine the glares coming from us and the nurses.
-Our NICU was cramped with babies and had no space for photographic equipment. Again, visit before hand to see what you can bring. Likely will be just a camera and possibly a flash. I refused to use my flash, because preemies are at high risk for eye problems. I don't know that there are any actual medical implications, but it seems somewhat logical that flash is bad for preemies eyes.

Sorry for the long post, this topic really hits home for me.


All very good points jayjay. Our stay in the NICU was a very eye-opening experience also. The germ-o-phobic statement is so true. I used to stand at the sink and if I caught a parent trying to gown up without washing up properly I was the first one to call them out on it. The NICU is a very eerie place. There's the quiet associated with respect for these very sick babies yet at the same time it's very loud with all the machines, beeping, alarms, etc.

You're right about preemies having eye problems. I work as a retinal angiographer in a large ophththalmology clinic and am familiar with the condition. It's called ROP or retinopathy of prematurity. ROP is associated with low birth weight babies and high oxygen concentrations required to nourish the babies. Essentially what happens is the normal development of blood vessels in the retina is halted and new blood vessels grow in irregular ways (neovascularization). This new blood vessel development can leak and not provide proper oxygenation to the retina and in some cases can lead to blindness. A lot of times laser treatment is required to treat the condition. Flash photography will not cause any harm to the babies (from an ophthalmological standpoint), but should be considered with the utmost care. As I stated earlier, the NICU is a very surreal place and you have a combination of very caring nurses and various parents with various concerns and stages of grieving. The last thing these parents need to see is the pop pop pop of a high-powered flash. Forget about strobes or slave flashes. I think flash photography would probably be OK as long as you clear it with the NICU first. You also have to be very acutely aware of your surroundings and be as discreet as possible and always respect all of the parents in the NICU. I took some pictures of my son when he was in the NICU but with very limited use of flash.

225870.jpg

I can honestly say I am well aware of what I'm getting into, and I hope that I have the strength to be able to do this. This is very near and dear to me and I think it's an incredible service for parents who want it.

Oh, and while I'm at it.... bump for anyone else who might want to get involved.

Message edited by author 2006-04-21 21:27:25.
04/21/2006 09:33:06 PM · #22
WOW, I had to wipe the tears off my eyes. How touching. I think it is great that there are some photographers out there doing such selfless things, taking their time and their own money to help these families in such incredibly hard times. I think as soon as I get settled in the UK I am going to look into becomeing one of those photographers. Thank you for posting this.

June
04/21/2006 09:40:44 PM · #23
I'm a paramedic that's finishing nursing school that works in a busy pediatric ICU here in Atlanta. I have never heard of this, but will surely pass it along now, as well as fax that contract in. Wow, what a terrific service to give.
06/02/2006 08:12:37 AM · #24
OK, I am ready to register with them as a photographer but the website is not there anymore. Anyone know what happened to it?

June
06/02/2006 09:12:50 AM · #25
Originally posted by digitalknight:

//www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/



chiqui, this one works. Good on ya :)

There was an article in our paper a couple weeks ago about the two women who do this in our local hospitals. I read it with interest after having seen this thread.

Message edited by author 2006-06-02 09:14:08.
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