Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep- Remembrance Photography
Sligo’s Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep affiliated photographer.
What is it?
It’s a volunteer service offered by professional photographers in situations where a baby is not going to be able to leave the hospital with their parents. We offer a remembrance photography service for children who will not be going out into the world to start their life with their families. It is completely free of charge. I have been providing this service for two years.
The phrase “not compatible with life” is one we have all been hearing in the media over the last few months. In the unfortunate circumstances where a parent hears these dreaded words and a little baby arrives in this world, having already departed or to stay for just a few minutes or hours there is a non profit group who go to the hospital to capture these special moments of a child with their family for those few precious moments.
What to expect
I will come to the hospital and capture images of your baby alone, with you, with the family, all their little details- their hands, feet, face & anything that is special to you. What I can capture depends on the situation; if your baby is in an incubator or has tubes I’ll do my best to get as many images as I can under the circumstances. If your baby has passed but you would still like images, that’s ok too. I’ll help you create images to remember your baby as you wish, so even after your brief time together you will still be able to clearly envision their face or their tiny hand in yours.
I will then process your images and put them onto a disk for you which will be mailed out to you. You can store these images on your own computer or print them as you wish. We have a printer that we work with who has suffered an infant bereavement themselves and will take every care and treat your images with the respect they deserve.
Conditions & Education
Many babies look like they are born sleeping and are beautiful and perfect looking. A variety of conditions can be the reason for a babies incompatibility with life, some of these can make babies appear unusual. All NILMDTS photographers have had training in this regard and understand the uniqueness of each child and how special your baby is to you. Common conditions we meet are – Anencephaly, Edwards Syndrome, Patau Syndrome (Trisomy 13), Premature birth. Don’t be afraid to call if your child looks different. I’ve met many special babies and babies that arrived pre term. The normal availability for the NILMDTS service is from 24 weeks and above.
Service area & availability
I serve the Sligo General Hospital at the request of parents. The nurses and staff are all familiar with me and the service provided and have my contact details in Labour, Maternity and the NICU. I do my very best to be able to come when called upon. I have been in the hospital in the small hours of the night and travelled back from other areas of the country to do sessions, however I am just one person and can sometimes be unavailable. There are other volunteers around the country and we try to help each other out but as we are all working professionals, and there is not many of us it’s not always possible to get some one to you. If you or someone you know is having a planned delivery, please do let us know in advance and we will try and arrange for one of us to be there if at all possible. If you think this service might be something that a family member or friend would like to use feel free to call first to check availability before offering it as a suggestion to them.
If you would like to take your own images of your baby here is some information to help you:
About Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep & where it started
Maddux Achilles Haggard was born on Feb. 4, 2005, with a condition called myotubular myopathy. It 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 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, I am not reminded of my worst night. I’m reminded of the beauty and blessings he brought.”
Cheryl Haggard, Maddux’s mother and co-founder of NILMDTS
Those tender photographs documenting Maddux’s eternal connection with his parents inspired Cheryl Haggard and Sandy Puc’ to begin 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 (NILMDTS) after the children’s bedtime prayer.
Since NILMDTS was founded, over 11,000 volunteers have been part of the network. NILMDTS reaches every state in the United States and has been or is present in 40 countries worldwide.
About our Irish Affiliate Charity- Feilicain
Féileacáin is a new not for profit organisation (Charity number CHY 19635) that aims to provide support to anyone affected by the death of a baby during pregnancy or shortly after. We ourselves are a group of bereaved parents who came together to offer hope and support to others who may need our help in the future. You can read more about Feilicain in the about section of their website.
Feilicain’s objectives are…
– To offer a befriending service and support helpline.
– To offer support and provide a safe and confidential setting, in which those bereaved through stillbirth or neonatal death can share their experiences.
– To promote research into the causes of stillbirth and neonatal death and the effects of grief on the family.
– To work in co-operation with support services and other support organisations.
– To hold remembrance services and family events.
– To provide hospitals with our memory boxes to be given to bereaved families.
Imagine a photo session where each moment is a last moment, where there will be no second takes, where what you’re doing means everything. More photographers are desperately needed to serve families from around the world who are requesting our services.
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If you would like to volunteer you services, a panel of your work will be assessed for approval by NILMDTS and you must commit to undertake training in this area.
Go to https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/find-a-photog/