Monday, August 12, 2013

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Sandy Puc is a photographer who received a very special calling. In February, 2005, she was contacted by Cheryl and Mike Haggard. Their newborn son was dying. Cheryl had seen beautiful photographic portraits of newborns in the hospital's maternity ward, and she wanted to have a professional photograph of their son, Maddux. He had only days to live. The parents asked Sandy to come to the hospital and take the photo. Reluctantly, she agreed. When she arrived at the hospital, she was met by Mike, who asked her if she would be willing to wait a few hours. Maddux was still connected to tubes and machines, and he felt that the photos would be so much nicer if they waited until after Maddux died, so that he would be free of the medical apparatus and they could hold him.

Sandy was shocked that they wanted her to take a picture of their son after he died, but she agreed to do it. She cried throughout the photo shoot, but when it was over, she thanked the Haggard's for allowing her the opportunity to do it. She painstakingly touched up each photo until it was perfect. She created a slide show, and set it to music. The Haggards watched it over and over again, and finally, in tears, Cheryl told Sandy, "Do you know what you've done? You've given me my son."

A few months later, the hospital called Sandy to tell her of another family, in a situation similar to the Haggards. "Will you come?" they asked. She did.

After talking to Cheryl Haggard, the two of them decided that this was a service that was so needed and so appreciated, that it should be available to anyone who asks, and it should be free of charge. Together, they established the organization, "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep." It is now a nationwide network of more than 3000 professional photographers who take beautiful portraits of babies born too early, babies born dead and babies about to die. Before this organization came into being, parents were left with only the little plastic hospital bracelet to remember their child. Now they have photographs to help them keep their memory alive.

For more information, or for help in finding a photographer in your area, visit the website for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.

No comments: