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Infant Remembrance Photography - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Infant Remembrance Photography

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Updated Story 10:00 P.M.:

It's a situation that no-one wishes to happen, and many are left struggling with emotions afterwards.

Having a still birth happens more often than known, and parents are left with big decisions to make in a short amount of time. The family then has to go home without a child.

But there is still hope and ways to remember them.

Valley News teams Kristi Larson tells us how photographers are trying to help capture the small time parents have with their children they lost, so they have a photo forever.

"We found out we were having twins Friday, and we found out she'd passed away Tuesday morning." Sarah Olson says.

She carried twin girls around for months, but after birth her and her husband Shane only are bringing home one baby.

"It's kind of hard to say that our family is complete now that we're all home because she'll always be missing." Sarah says with a sigh.

So to show their newest daughter she once had a twin, they brought in Michelle Warren.

"I've been questioned quite a bit if I wanted pictures, but I knew from the time she passed that we would want those pictures and remember her." Sarah says with a slight smile.

"It's the photos that no one wants to have to have taken." Michelle explains.

She is one of the few that take photos for an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

"I actually didn't tell anyone about it until I got the acceptance letter." Michelle laughs. "I was scared immediately because I didn't know if I'd be able to do it."

It's a hard job, that Michelle explains many couldn't do.

"Everyone asks me how can you do that, or why would you want to do that, and it's a really complex answer because I just feel like I should." Michelle says.

And through her photos families can remember their baby who died too soon.

"Some of my favorite pictures are the ones I take in those situations," Michelle says, "because there's no greater love than a mom and her baby or a dad and his baby. And it doesn't matter if that babies breathing on earth or not, that love is still there."

A purpose not everyone can understand.

"You can tell people get weirded out sometimes." Shane Olson says.

"You don't really understand it until you're faced with it. I was just concerned that with time I'd forget exactly what she looked like." Sarah adds.

And the photos taken have helped families to heal.

"It's a really tough thing to do but it's really helpful in the recovery process and the grieving process." Michelle says.

Some needing the photos to help them through loosing another child.

"One morning I felt just one swift kick and it just stopped." Miranda Hanson says. "I thought 'gosh this is really weird I haven't felt her move. They were checking all over and they came to her heart and it was just a flat line, so we knew, and I just started bawling."

Miranda's first son Grayson was only 19 weeks when he passed away. That's too young for the programs photos, but she did take some of her own. And in July when Mauriana passed away, Miranda didn't think twice about getting her memories captured on camera.

"I look at them all the time. Just to look back and see that raw emotion that we had. It's defiantly something I treasure every day." Miranda says.

Photos her, and Mauriana's father Steve Pavola, can look back at anytime.

"These aren't pictures that you have to share with someone, they aren't even pictures that you have to look at unless you want to," Michelle says, "but it's a once in a lifetime chance, and it's good to just have them. They can go back to these pictures and see their babies face whenever they want to."

Leah Olson had her own new born photos taken, but in time she will understand that her twin, Emma, will always be with her in her heart and in photos.

"I sit there and hold here and think that there should be two of them there." Sarah says with a sigh. But they say to their kids Emma is always around. "We say that she's up in heaven with god and she's in the clouds and on the moon."

The photos help them remember who they once held in their arms.

"It's not like sadness it's just like love that you can see though the photos I think." Michelle says. "And it's not something I did, it's just those moments I was able to capture for them."

Photos the families can hold on to, when they don't have a baby to embrace.

"This is something I'll never forget as long as I live." Miranda says with a smile.

If you know a family struggling with the loss of an infant there are some places that can help.

Miranda joined a group called Harlynns Heart, to connect with others who've lost a baby. To see their page click here.

To visit Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep then click here.

The Compassionate Friends helps families after a child dies, to go there click here.

Photos were given with permission by Miranda Hanson and Steve Pavola, Sarah and Shane Olson, and Michelle Warren.


Original Story:

Families who lose a child often struggle to make decision on what to do next, especially when their time together is too short.

One photographer in the F-M area is using her strength and skills to help families who lose their child before birth.

They are photos parents can hold onto when they don't have a baby to embrace.

Monday night on Valley News Live at 10pm hear from families how these photos help their hearts to heal.
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