Two days ago I was just arriving at the hospital with a pit in my stomach and shaking hands.  I had prayed all the way there as I usually do for strength and inspiration.  But these prayers were extra fervent.  I had been called in to preform a Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep session.  This time the circumstances were different and that meant extra anxiety and just that much more pain in my heart.  This time I was serving a friend.  I had been part of this little baby’s survival for months.  Preparing meal plans, watching her sister, giving support and being a sounding board for mom when frustration reached its limit.  And now, I was walking in through the hospitals doors to continue to be part of this little ones life, which was going to be much shorter than planned.

Capri was born Monday April, 25th and passed away later than same evening.  Her life was short but so sweet.  I never have been part of a baby’s final moments before.  I am always the last one to arrive.  The final documentation that there was a child before the book is closed and the family starts the long process of grieving and healing.  Two days ago, I went to the hospital to serve a friend and that evening I came home with a precious gift from her.

That whole day I marveled at the strength and deep understanding this tiny baby’s parents had of life.  Mom and Dad held her for every moment she fought to live.  There was no rest.  Mom had just undergone several blood transfusions, an emergency C Section and still, though heavy lidded from the effects of fatigue and drugs, fought to stay awake and hold her daughter.  When tears and grief would have been expected and appropriate, her family chose to celebrate every move of her hands, every laboured breath.  Every eye was on her.  The hairs on her head were caressed, her hands were held, her tiny back was cradled.  And she fought.  For hours her oxygen levels and heart rate held steady and even increased with the tender loving attention from her parents.  I took 365 pictures of Capri’s one solitary day.  365 pictures to document a life that will be an  influence to me for the rest of my life.

As I came home from the hospital after a tender good bye, I was deep in thought.  I was driving through Tacoma when I rounded a corner to see one of the largest rainbows I have ever seen gracing the port.  It was beautiful.  I knew that God had sent a rainbow.  A colorful embrace for all of those that grieved that day.  I cried all the pent up tears all the way home.  I cried for a life cut short, I cried for a family that would go home without a daughter, I cried for all the years I had wasted without the realization of how fleeting and treasured life is and should be, I cried to return to my children…to recommit to them to cherish every moment, I cried thinking about the value the photographs I had just taken would have for my friend.

Dear sweet Capri, thank you for coming to this Earth to teach me to love more, to cherish each moment, to be more present in my children’s lives and to hold tight to every moment.

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Afsi - January 4, 2013 - 7:48 am

Oh man, I a mess this evening seeing these NILMDTS posts. Feeling sad for the family’s and feeling sad for myself. Remembering how overly drugged I was and how I did not get the time and the space that I wanted or wished I had, with my baby girl.

Afsi Mozaffarian - February 15, 2012 - 12:28 am

Oh Jennnifer…you probably have an idea what reading that post did to me. Weeping for Capri & her family, for you and your experience, and for Sprout and us. THANK YOU so much for being such an amazing part in our lives and understanding us so deeply!!! You are my hero. I am so grateful for you and other NILMDTS photographers.

Shelley DeJager - May 4, 2011 - 2:27 am

I’m so touched by your bravery, Jennifer. You gave that family a precious, precious gift.

nicole - May 2, 2011 - 9:32 pm

Jenny, what a beautiful comment and a beautiful picture. I am so sad for this family.

Idie - April 29, 2011 - 4:38 am

Wow. That photo is amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. You have given them a special gift.

Mary - April 28, 2011 - 11:15 pm

What an amazing woman you are. What amazing parents that sweet little girl has. I count myself lucky to know you Jen who always helps me focus on the prize (as tears roll down my cheeks). You truly have found a way to bless those in need. Jen, you are an amazing person!

Karin Huillet - April 28, 2011 - 3:57 pm

Life…what a precious gift! My heart breaks as I hear of your friend’s loss. My hope is that they can feel comfort and peace at this difficult time. Your words and picture express perfectly the fragility of a single moment…the miracle and blessing of a single day.

Pam De Witt - April 28, 2011 - 1:49 pm

That truly touched me, how precious, and what a blessing to always have such beautiful pictures to remember. My heart greives for the family, and what a priceless gift.

Kellianna - April 28, 2011 - 1:03 am

The tears are flowing. My heart goes out to your friend and sweet little Capri. Beautifully written Jennifer.

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