That’s how far along my sister, Dannielle, was when they told her they had to perform an emergency C-Section. Two weeks prior to that, her blood pressure sky rocketed and she was admitted to the hospital for preeclampsia. Two years prior to that, she delivered a still born boy at six months (roughly 27 weeks.) Needless to say, my poor sister was a wreck.
Graced with a blood mutation, Dannielle had to be on blood thinners throughout this pregnancy because of what happened with her previous. At 29-years-old, she was high risk and bed-ridden in a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona- deemed one of the best for neonatal care. She was hopeful, but terrified. Thankfully, she has a great support system, so when her baby was delivered at 27 weeks, if something did happen- she’d at least have us.
My sister was put under for the procedure due to her blood thinning meds not being out of her system. The entire ordeal was a scary series of moments for our entire family- mainly Matt, her long-time boyfriend and father of the baby. Dannielle delivered at 8:42 pm. The baby was 1lb 13oz.
I should also mention, at this time our other sister, Kayla, was almost pregnant and ready to pop- she ended up delivering a couple weeks later- also developing preeclampsia. Guess I can look forward to that should I get knocked up.
Anyway, the tiny girl was delivered, immediately hooked up to all the machines, and started to live her life in an incubator. They named her Cora Claire. She’s their rainbow baby- a child born after a stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.
During the first harrowing month, things were a mess for Dannielle and Matt. Understandably, they didn’t want to mention anything because they were in a place where they didn’t need the added drama of everyone asking how it was going.
With all the love Matt and Dannielle could muster, the tireless efforts of the NICU at Honor Health, Scottsdale Shea Hospital… and the love of my step-mother, Kris and an army of family… Dannielle and Matt watched their baby grow. She’s now a few days shy of two months old, 3lbs, 13oz… and hopefully a few weeks away from coming home.
I had a very humbling experience photographing her- which wasn’t only a look at my new baby niece, but also a very real look into who Dannielle and Matt are as loving parents, the process of the NICU, and how amazing (if not a little bitchy- but that’s another story) the nurses are. Honestly- the nurses just such love and care for each baby as they struggle to grow.
I’m very proud of my sisters and brother who have all brought children into the world this past year and change… and I’m glad I can share these experiences with the world. If you’re a parent who ends up delivering early, never give up hope. Science and love bring miracles.
These words and photos are dedicated to my nephew, Nixon Jay Walker-Kitchener: June 26, 2014 – June 26, 2014