© Jessica Strom Photography 2011 and the Cabrera Family Only. Read the story written by Avery's family at jessicastrom.net/2012/12/30/the-boy-who-lives-baby-avery
The following story is the root of my passion for NICU families. My very first NICU session that I shot in September of 2011. It was a session that was private as I was photographing sweet Avery not long before he was discharged from the NICU to go home on hospice, having been born with the condition HYDROPCEPHALUS and the doctors did everything they could. At the time, I was shooting this as part of the NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP organization as the hospital considered Avery a terminal patient.As we go forward in 2013, it is with utmost Glory to God that Avery is still with his family, has celebrated his first birthday and has even been on a Disney Cruise. It is with full permission and blessing from Avery's family that I am able to share his story as told & written by his Aunt Christina. Though needless to say, the words you are about to read and the images and slideshow you are about to see, may be hard for some and will likely not leave a dry eye among those who are blessed to read Avery's story. I had never met Avery or his parents before, and I can't begin to fathom the anguish they felt along with the overwhelming love and adoration they held for their son. But after these couple hours I spent with them, I was forever changed. Avery's fight and spirit imprinted on my heart, his parents unfailing love to never give up on their son moved me to my utter core. These images meant everything to his parents, to his family, to anyone who knew Baby Avery. I couldn't go on with NILMDTS, but I wanted to be able to give pieces of my heart that Avery impacted back to other NICU families. Because in the end, no matter the diagnosis, no matter how early, all babies in the NICU are WARRIORS. Most are blessed to have parents who go to war with them, to conquer the world. There are some babies in the NICU who fight it alone. Pray for these babies my friends, ALL OF THEM, and for their doctors and nurses who keep them alive with their medicine and love. Pray for the parents and the families, because until you have fought this fight, there's no understanding what they go through. I've met and heard from so many parents, and while I can't understand their distress, I can love them. And so can you.
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