Dexter Nissim is truly a miracle baby. His parents, Lisa and Eric, weathered the darkest of storms before their rainbow baby came along. Lisa lost her first precious daughter, Celia Jane, due to complications during her birth. That loss was devastating, as any mother can imagine. And Celia's presence has been preserved in so many beautiful ways by her mother - tattooed across her skin are her baby's tiny footprints, and framed upon the walls of their home are photographs of Celia, Lisa kissing her brow in the tenderest, anguished mother-love.
It was a few years after the loss of Celia that Lisa and Eric fell in love. They have known each other all their lives, and their mothers were best friends before either of them were born. They grew up together, went to school dances together, dated each others' friends and were in each others' first weddings before the stars aligned for them to come together as more than just friends. They soon became pregnant, and welcomed the addition to their family with so much excitement and love. Devastatingly, their baby passed away in the womb halfway through their pregnancy due to Trisomy21 - another precious daughter. They named her Hazel Sarah.
After the death of Celia, Lisa had a special keepsake teddy bear made. This bear was designed especially for loss parents, and is weighted to the same birth weight of Celia. When Lisa and Eric lost Hazel, they had another bear, this one tiny and light, made to the weight of their second angel baby. Lisa says these bears were a comfort during the grief - something to hold, to feel, to carry and think of her babies she was missing so dearly.
When they first learned they were pregnant with Dexter, Lisa and Eric found out they were expecting twins. But a few weeks into the pregnancy they lost "Baby B", as they affectionately called their third little angel babe. This loss was again due to a trisomy21 disorder they believe. They held such hope throughout this pregnancy, longing for a healthy little one in their arms at last, waiting to learn whether their baby was a boy or a girl until the birth.
When Lisa reached out to me, just weeks before her due date, her story spoke deep to my mama heart and made me ache for her losses. I knew I wanted more than anything to give these parents a precious keepsake to commemorate their whole story - the joy of this pregnancy and the grief and hope leading up to it.
We met atop a grassy mesa, halfway to the mountains, just as the sun was beginning to rise and fill the sky with glorious purple clouds. Lisa was radiant, glowing amidst the tall grass. They brought so many symbols of the love they held for all of their babies. The keepsake bears, birth stone rings, a rainbow necklace and maternity gown. Celia Jane's handmade hospital blanket, which their Rabi had wrapped them in during their marriage ceremony to symbolize the uniting of their family. It was a most beautiful, most meaningful session.
It was a good thing we did Lisa's maternity photos the week that we did, because in the end Dexter decided to come two days later, a few weeks before he was expected!
Lisa emailed to say that their little one had arrived and was a healthy baby boy! Dexter Nissim. Their precious blessing. And exactly one week after we had photographed their baby inside the womb, we met again to document his first days outside.
Dexter is calm and mellow and has the sweetest baby face you ever did see. To watch his parents dote on him, knowing how they had waited and hoped and prayed for his safe arrival, it was so special.
Lisa nursed her precious babe, stroking his soft cheeks, his hair, commenting on how her very favorite part was when he would fall asleep at the breast and then snuggle up, small and milk-drunk. Eric held his son tenderly, marveling at his soft skin, his tiny ears. We all laughed at his funny baby grimaces and were in awe of how awake he managed to be for our photos.
As we finished our session, Lisa and Eric showed Dexter the wall filled with mementos of his big sister angel babies - their photos and name meanings, their birth-month flowers, their names carved into the sand. Lisa told him of their legacy, how they were loved, how their presence shaped their family. When I asked during our maternity session what Lisa and Eric wanted this baby to know about his big sisters, they said that most of all they just wanted him to know that they were here, they were loved, they are a part of their family.
What more beautiful legacy can you have for your family?