Many times in my career, I’ve photographed some pretty hard moments. This was nothing short of one of my hardest to photograph.
I first met Maggie and Marcus back in 2019 when I photographed their wedding. You could imagine my excitement when I heard they were expecting! With the happy news, came the news from their 20 week appointment that some things were not quite what they were expecting. From their 20 week scan, They found out that their sweet little girl would have a pretty significant genetic syndrome and some other pretty heavy concerns. Maggie reached out & asked if I would take some maternity pictures for their own personal keepsakes. By all means, of course I would take them!
Within the conversation she shared with me that they learned about some birth defects, a bilateral cleft lip and palate, four known heart defects including a hole in her ventricular septum, the right side of her heart is bigger than the other and her pulmonary valve appears to be smaller and non functioning, and blood is not getting to her lungs properly through the heart. She said they now know these things are caused by a genetic disorder known as Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. She went on to explain the symptoms of this syndrome, which my heart continued to sink further and further as I read on. I ached for them knowing there was so much impending heart ache along with the initial information regarding their little girl.
They decided to name her Emery, which means brave. “We know that she will have to be brave in the face of these challenges.” Maggie continued on to say.
The day came! March 29th, Maggie went into labor, and sweet Emery made her arrival. It was determined that surgery was not an option for this sweet 3 pound little girl. Maggie & Marcus kept their hearts and minds praying and trusting God to guide them through the rough moments. I came Saturday to snag some sweet moments between the three of them. I walked in to find Maggie and Marcus, seeming so at peace and seeing family in the room holding baby Emery. You could tell how thankful they were to have this time with her. I told them to act as they typically would with her, feeding her how they were able to, snuggling as they typically would while I photographed. As I left, I stole some of those precious snuggles, knowing this was a goodbye.
Yesterday, on Monday, Emery was to transfer from the hospital where she came into the world, to hospice care. I was eager to get the King’s gallery finished. I sent it over to Maggie within minutes of it being completed. After only 5 days of life, I was informed that little Emery passed away earlier in the afternoon. I couldn’t help myself but to cry for them, heck I’m crying right now as I type this out. Any loss is hard, but the loss of a child hits differently. The strength that Maggie & Marcus showed was absolutely unbelievable. I will forever be in awe of them and how they were able to handle such heartbreak.
To the King family, words cannot describe how forever grateful I am that you asked me to photograph these moments for you. Thank you very much for letting me meet, hold and snuggle your little girl. Sweet Emery was surrounded by so much love, and I hope and pray for healing and peace through the years to come.
Thank you for allowing me to share your story, I do hope that it may help another family find strength through an unfortunate diagnosis.
Meriter Hospital- Madison, WI