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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Remembering Audrey
{audrey's gift photography special}

You might remember a post from earlier this year, when I was reaching out to all of you asking you to nominate a worthy family for the Audrey's Gift photography offering, established in memory of a sweet and brave little girl I am honored to have known and photographed.

Each year, from your nominations (emailed to oana@shutterview.com by March 15th) I will be choosing one family with (one or more) children under 4, who have gone through some health challenges. The family will get a session, two paper portraits and all files in medium resolution (over $1800 in value).

Today is the day Audrey would have turned 4, and her sweet memory is strong. She has touched the lives of everyone who met her, and this yearly gift is just one of the ways her legacy continues.

Here are some highlights from this year's Audrey's Gift photo session with Erin's sweet twins, as well as the story she has sent detailing this family's challenges, love and hope:

After 4 years of trying to conceive, I joyfully became pregnant with boy/girl twins. When I was 5.5 months pregnant I was placed on routine bedrest. The Dr was very happy at my next visit and said everything looked great! 2 days later my husband was rushing me to the hospital as my son's water had ruptured. The Dr placed me in labor and delivery and told me that there was nothing that they could do. If I went into labor the twins would die - if I didn't go into labor the outlook for my son was one of significant disabilities. I managed to make it through that night and 20 more. I was not allowed out of my bed except to go to the bathroom and for a quick shower. 4 times a day they checked to see if the babies' hearts were still beating. And those were the EASY days! I developed an infection and my children were delivered when I was 6 months pregnant weighing 1lb each. I was told my son had a 6% chance and my daughter a 12% chance of surviving - if they survived then the chances of serious physical and mental disabilities were 75%. So I sat by their bedsides every day for 5 months watching them be repeatedly resuscitated and praying all the time. Finally, I was able to take them home, but the work was only just beginning. We spent many hours in Dr's offices, seeing therapists, and pushing every day to have as normal of a future as possible. They turned 3years old this May and I'm thrilled to say that they are catching up beautifully with only some speech delays.

Unfortunately, my husband was diagnosed with oral cancer Stage 3 this past March. So on their birthday, he was going through chemo and radiation. He has had part of his tongue removed and has to eat through a tube in his stomach (for now). With medical bills and time off of work, we never could have afforded such a wonderful photo session with Oana. It was so special to be able to have a few pictures with the twins and their Dad as well as so many wonderful shots of them playing. Tomorrow is not promised - my family is grateful for every day that we have together. I treasure every photo of all three of them because I have had to face the very real possibility that I may not have them tomorrow. So we celebrate every moment we have to play and laugh today!

Thank you for this wonderful gift - I am grateful that Audrey meant so much to you that you shared it with us.


pennyberger said...

OMG--what a beautiful family! L, Pen

Carol Yandrofski said...

What beautiful pictures-thanks for sharing them!!

Pat Mendel said...

Just gorgeous and so happy looking. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Urda said...

I am Audrey's "Mimi" -- your love and courage are breathtaking! I wish you the very best and thanks to Oana for her artistry and sensitivity!

Sherry Smith said...

What a meaningful tribute to Audrey... Her sweet legacy lives on! These gorgeous pictures brought tears to my eyes!!