One month ago, my youngest son was born four weeks prematurely. Even though he was early, he did just as he should right after birth. No problems stemmed from prematurity, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We snuggled him, we lunched with our parents to celebrate, and we sent him to the nursery to catch a quick nap (for us, not him!). However, he didn’t come back from the nursery after we awoke. He had taken a turn for the worse. Over the next several hours it became apparent that he was struggling to breath, although it was not due to prematurity. His white blood cell count was dangerously low, indicating an infection. Shortly thereafter he went into septic shock and was transferred to a local NICU via ambulance. We were told his condition was extremely serious and volatile. It is a vast understatement to say that I was absolutely wrecked with disbelief and anguish.
Asher a few days old, at the hospital
For some time he wasn’t allowed to have visitors outside of myself and my husband. I set out to document his progress for our families and for him in the future. He had a tough fight in the earliest hours, days, and weeks of his life–and I want him to know that he can overcome the hard things in life.
Through documenting the hard things, I found that it brought profound joy when I was able to document the great things. With each wire that was removed, I rejoiced and people rejoiced with us.
Sometimes photographs take us places we are unable to go ourselves. Just today, it was like I was in the Phillipines with Emily learning of a twelve year old boy and his home. People walked with me when my little guy was in the hospital, merely from seeing the pictures of his struggle. I can walk through the struggles with others when I see the struggle with my own eyes through photography. I can also jump up and down when things get better, when there is a smile, when there is progress.
Asher 3 weeks later, at home
Fear not when it comes time for struggle in life. There are those who are openhearted enough to endure it with you. Inviting them in through photography may be a good way to rally your troops when times get hard or when you have a story to tell. Seeing my son go from being a critically ill little boy to a healthy, pink, and squishy newborn was an encouragement to myself and those who followed along through photos. Even though it is hard to look at the images of him when he was so sick, it is a great reason to smile now that he is well.
Hayley was born and raised in the cornfields of Indiana, and though they lived a magical 4 year stint in Charlotte, NC, Hayley has found herself again in the Hoosier State. She and her husband have three boys who are learning to how to be good men (in the midst of all the wrestling and dirt). She tries to balance living a life of beauty with living a life of adventure. Follow her adventures at Tiny Twig Goes Out on a Limb and on Twitter.
To read all articles written by Hayley, click here.