As I get ready to head back to work on November 25th, I have decided to commit one afternoon a month to photographing families for Ronald McDonald House. I figure I will be able to photograph two or three families during that time.
The Friesen family are from Edmonton and heard about me through some of the other families I had photographed on their unit. Since I only had one other session on Tuesday I was able to photograph their family as well.
The Friesen family
Rylie was born on December 22, 2012 and, as it turns out, she overlapped with Kane at the Royal Alexandra NICU. Rylie spent three months at home before returning to the Stollery Children’s Hospital for heart surgery. Dad made a great comment when we were chatting, he said, “We were chosen to have her.” I have very similar feelings about Kane. These babies are born to people who can handle it. Not only are these kids tough, but their parents too!
One tough little lady
Rylie has Down Syndrome. Her onesie says “Am I rockin’ this extra chromosome or what?” Dad also mentioned that Brooklyn has a shirt with the slogan “My sister got an extra chromosome and all I got was this stupid shirt.” Entertaining Etsy purchases!
Richard and Aimee are part of the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society. As I was looking into this organization, I learned that their annual Buddy Walk is coming up on Sunday, November 3rd at Hawrelak Park. Click on the Buddy Walk link to get involved.
Richard and his youngest girl
Dad is a big Steeler’s fan and was disappointed he didn’t have his terrible towel at the hospital for our shoot.
What’s not to love?
Luckily, Brooklyn and Aimee made it just before I had to leave to relieve Kane’s babysitter!
This was the first time Brooklyn has been up on the hospital bed with Rylie and we got some really cute photos.
Rylie’s superhero cape!
The following email was sent to me by Aimee sent me after the shoot.
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to come photograph our family. In the short 9 months of Rylie’s life is a long story, but I will do my best to sum up the most important details. Rylie was born December 22, 2012 at 32 weeks 4 days. My placenta stopped working and our baby was not growing. We were told that she would likely pass over the weekend if we left her in. We were given the option to be given a steroid shot over 2 days to help improve lung maturity and try to deliver her by C-section, but that she would likely still pass as she tried to take her first breath. From the moment she was born she proved how strong she really is. After a long 3 months in the NICU at the Royal Alex, we were able to spend 3 months at home as a family of 4. June 13 was Rylie’s first surgery for AVSD repair. The surgery that was supposed to be straight forward and routine took 7 and a half hours. The following day we received the worst phone call of our lives. Rylie went into cardiac arrest and needed to be placed on ECMO, aka. life support. She came off ECMO a week later and through many highs and lows, we found ourselves being forced to send Rylie in for a second surgery, a supra-annular Mitral valve replacement. When the surgeon walks out of the operating room with a smile on his face we just knew Rylie would be ok. She was finally discharged from the PICU on October 4 and continues to improve every day. Its difficult to tell Rylie’s story in only a few words, but if there is one word to describe how we feel as a family, it is “blessed.”
Keep fighting, Rylie!
UPDATE: Rylie went home today (October 17th)! Her parents surprised everyone by posting a photo on Facebook of Rylie sitting in their armchair with the remote control and a caption that read, “Hey, guess where I am?” Congratulations, Rylie!