If you have been around these parts long enough, I’m sure you recognize this sweet face.
This is Jackson, my nephew. He will be turning 5 in just under two months and is one of the coolest kids I know.
Jackson was born at just 25 weeks gestation and he weighed only 1lb 10oz. Let that last statement soak in for a few moments while you watch this amazing video my sister put together of Jackson’s first several months.
During those first numbers of months there was a lot of intense emotions, Jack was a very sick little boy. It would have been completely understandable for my sister and brother in law to just be beside themselves with despair and hopelessness, but they were both so strong and hopeful. My sister remained positive through each of Jack’s surgeries and through his very lengthy NICU stay.
Fast-forward almost 4 years, it was discovered during a routine anatomy ultrasound that my son had a rare and complex genetic malformation. I went through extensive testing to try and determine what exactly was going on. While the doctors were trying to remain optimistic, they were preparing my husband and me for a long and bumpy road. We toured the NICU while I was 35 weeks pregnant in the event that my son would need to be born prior to 37 weeks or if his complications would require more intensive medical treatments than the normal nursery could provide.
Lucas was born and passed his first tests in the OR so he was allowed to stay with me for a short while in recovery before he was taken for more extensive testing, those results were favorable as well. He would not need a NICU stay and did not require immediate surgery. His doctor took a wait and see approach and surgery wasn’t required until Luke was 6 months old.
Well, as you can see, he’s a big and happy (and HEALTHY!) boy today.
The entire time my husband and I were dealing with the emotions of the unknown of my son’s diagnosis, my sister was there with words of encouragement. I’m sure she freaked out at first like the rest of us, but she was my go-to cheerleader when I was an anxiety-ridden mess. She held out the hope for my boy and me when I couldn’t do it myself.
When I learned of an opportunity with Capturing Hopes Photography, I knew in my heart it was something that I was uniquely capable of fulfilling. I was there to see my nephew born very early and on the verge of survival. I saw him at his most vulnerable and I see him now as the amazing little man that he is. I was there for my son through his diagnosis, surgery and recovery, both boys came through well beyond what doctors predicted for them.
I have felt the absolute despair that comes with the unknown but I have also felt the extreme joy and hopefulness that can come from the most unlikely places. I want to be that for NICU families. Every family, regardless of the situation, deserves photos as they enter into this new chapter of their story. The photos I have of my son while in the hospital as some of the most raw that I’ve taken, but I look back at them with a sense of gratitude and thankfulness.
I am beyond proud to be a Capturing Hopes Photographer.