Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is a powerful organization that is also difficult to discuss. Working with NILMDTS has been an honor, yes. It is also heart-wrenching for all involved. I kept the application to join on my desk for a few years, willing myself to have the courage to fill it out and send it in for approval. I finally did, and I started participating after speaking with Aimee Bickers, who had already done 20 of these shoots when we spoke. I couldn’t imagine how she could have done that. Since that conversation, though, I find that I have done about 20 of these unbelieveably emotional shoots. And now Aimee has done over 40, while continuing to lead this organization locally in an admirably tireless fashion.

And then there’s Tara Bristol, at UNC, and Marie Peluso, at Duke, who give so much time and energy – day and middle of the night – to coordinate these shoots for their patients, often calling photographer after photographer to line up a shoot as soon as possible.

So we all continue this work, sometimes pulling back when emotionally necessary, but hopefully continuing to step forward when we can because it is so important.

You can learn more about NILMDTS here, with this beautiful story put together by The Today Show.

And then there’s the inspirational part….I learned some great news this week. One of my very first NILMDTS clients left a strong impression on me during our shoot, not only because of what she was going through but also because of how she handled the entire experience. We met up afterwards when she came in to pick up a beautiful framed piece that she had designed, and she gave me a little angel that stands proudly in our studio. I find it telling that this gift has been grabbed by babies, hugged by toddlers, knocked over my delivery men, and dropped, cracked & re-glued more than once. She still stands.

Interestingly enough, I received an email from this woman (the one of whom I think when I look at the angel, the one who still stands). I got it the day before this story aired on The Today Show. She is pregnant again, 20 weeks into a very healthy pregnancy, and the image from her daughter’s ultrasound made my heart skip a beat. I am so thrilled for she & her husband, their little baby girl and, of course, their family’s very own sweet angel…undoubtedly watching over them all.