Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep...

Since I have no new photos to post for my family, I wanted to take a moment to post about a phenomenal group. So pardon the interruption of normal blog activities!!

Just weeks before Sam was born, I learned about an organization called "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep." You can read all about their wonderful program here, but I want to share with you a little about them and what they did for my family and me.

This organization is a group of professional photographers who photograph babies and their families when they are dying or have died. These photographers offer their services on a volunteer basis. All families receive a CD/DVD that houses all the photos taken during the session along with copyright to reproduce them. What NILMDTS provide is truly a blessing for these families. It has truly been a blessing for ours.

When we made the decision to take Sam off of life support, I was nowhere near my normal self or right mind. I had completely forgotten about this program - I never imagined I would need their services. Thankfully, a nurse at The Children's Hospital called a photographer on our behalf.

Our photographer, Cathy, arrived soon after Sam passed away. We were given a private room where we could spend time with Sam and the room was filled with our family members. Cathy photographed Sam with everyone who wished. I was so numb at the time, I didn't realize how very special this was.

I look at these photos of Sam daily. Daily. Some are framed; others will be framed later. We were with him for such a short time and we were in such shock and pain....these photos let us remember all his tiny, perfect little features. The pain on our faces and tears on our cheeks in the photos remind us of the horrific realization of what we had lost. But I appreciate them just the same.

Our photographer went above and beyond what is expected of NILMTDS photographers. She provided us with a video of Sam, set to music that we chose. The movie is truly heart breaking, but it is the most beloved tribute to my dear boy. I treasure it so much. Cathy also gave us 7 copies of the DVD - enough for grandparents and aunts/uncles. We will truly never be able to repay her or show her how deep our gratitude is. She was amazing.

So, most of the photos you will see of Sam were taken by her - when he was free of wires, bandages and machines - a perfect little angel.

If you are EVER looking for a charity/non profit group to support, I strongly urge you to support the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation. All parents of dying children should have access to them and information about them. Please support them and help spread the word. If you yourself are a photographer, I urge you to look into becoming a photographer with them. You will give families the greatest gift you can imagine. You can visit their website for information on volunteering and supporting them by clicking HERE.

I can only hope that someday my photography will improve enough so that I may offer this service to others.

Taken from their website:

"Maddux Achilles Haggard was born on Feb. 4, 2005, with a condition called myotubular myopathy that prevented him from breathing, swallowing or moving on his own. On the sixth day of his young life, his parents had to make the excruciating decision to take him off life support. But before they did, they called Littleton, Colorado photographer Sandy Puc' to take black and white portraits of them cradling their son. Puc' photographed the couple with Maddux at the hospital before he was removed from life support and after — when he was free from the tubes and the wires that had sustained him.
“That night was the worst night of my life. But when I look at the images, that’s not what I’m reminded of. I’m reminded of the beauty and blessings he brought,” Cheryl Haggard (Maddux's mom) said.
Those tender photographs documenting Maddux’s eternal connection with his parents inspired Cheryl Haggard and Sandy Puc' to found a nonprofit organization that has provided thousands of families of babies who are stillborn or are at risk of dying as newborns with free professional portraits with their baby.
Sandy and Cheryl founded the organization in April 2005 and called it Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep after the children’s bedtime prayer. To date, The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation has nearly 3,200 affiliated photographers in 12 countries worldwide."

God Bless.

Papa Randy holding Sam.

Mema holding Sam.


Danielle said...

This is an amazing organization. The photos that you have shared are beautiful, and I know that you will cherish them for a lifetime. Thank you again, Danielle, for sharing this with us.

kristy.lynn said...

wow. what a truely touching thing. i'm constantly amazed at the generosity that is around us when we least expect it. what a great foundation. thanks for sharing danielle!

Emilie Ahern said...

Wow DAnielle. What an amazing group. I had no idea they existed and will definately donate to them in future if for no other reason than they helped a friend of mine (you) when you needed it.

Patter Cross said...

We use them at our hospital where I work! I think they are a true blessing, and I can see that they have been just that to your family! What beautiful pictures of Sam! Hugs and prayers to you all!

Amy W. said...

what a beautiful thing that organization does. how wonderful that the nurse got in touch with them in your time of need. i bet you often point out features he has of other family members?! Sam is just perfect, Danielle. {hugs}

LisaW said...

That sounds like a truly wonderful organization. And I'm so glad that they were able to help you. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Brandi said...

I am so glad that you were able to get such beautiful photos of your little angel. What a wonderful thing for them to do for you!



Shannadl said...

Wow! I am always amazed by the kindness and generosity that sprout from tragedy. They are an amazing foundation and I am so thankful that they were so great for you! Thanks as always for sharing great pictures.


Rebecca said...

Wow! They sound amazing. Thank you so much for writing about them. What a great resource for parents in that situation. The photos are beautiful. More hugs being sent your way.

Queen of Paper said...

Oh D... I work with NILMDTS! I first heard about it from Heather Tyler... I wish I could have done this for you. I'm so happy that you were able to get these photos! They are so beautiful.

Renee said...

Danielle, my heart just aches for you. It is so touching to have these memories and what a wonderful organization to provide them to you. Hugs to you and your family and those photos are wonderful. reneelamb

Daniela said...

I am so glad that you are able to have these wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing them with us. What a wonderful organization.
I can't even imagine how hard this must be for you. It makes me so sad as I look at my son who is three and a half months, and I don't know what I would do without him.
You are in my thoughts.

Andrea Amu said...

Danielle, I'm so glad that the hospital made NILMDTS available to you... the service they do for families losing their children is just simply amazing! I donated to them last October in memory of Ava and I will continue to do so every October in honor of her Birthday. I would love to be a NILMDTS photographer one day too!

I hope you are doing well... you are thought about often!

Laura - Layers of Color said...

Wow, so touching, my heart aches for you and your family. I will pass on the name of the organization and I'm sure it will bless many more.

You're in my prayers, daily!