Indianapolis Family Photographer | Raw Sugar Photography

It has been so hard for me to sit down and write this blog post, because I really want to do this family’s story justice. They have had an unimaginable 18 months, filled with ups and extreme downs. They’ve made decisions that no one should have to make, and their hearts have been broken and pieced back together too many times in such a short span. Their sweet baby boy Theo just turned one after a rough start in this world, sadly, his twin brother didn’t make it to his first birthday. Baby Thomas became an angel at just 5 months-old. This is their story.

Maribeth and Ben, like many couples, suffered from infertility. They made the tough decision to go ahead with IVF in the summer of 2013, and their dreams were realized when they learned they were expecting twins. That excitement quickly turned to fear when they discovered at their 16 week appointment that one of the babies wasn’t growing like he should, they were told “Baby B” probably wouldn’t make it to the next appointment. But, he did, and he had grown. Maribeth and Ben decided at that point that if he could make it to 28 weeks, they would deliver both babies, knowing the danger that delivering prematurely could pose to healthy “Baby A.” It was a long 10 weeks as they waited for that 28 week mark, knowing that at any time baby B could be gone. At 27 weeks, 5 days Maribeth checked into the hospital, and at just over 29 weeks, on January 14th 2014, Theodore and Thomas entered the world.

Thomas (baby B) was born at 1 lb. 6oz. and wowed everyone with how well he was doing. He only had to be on a ventilator for one day! In the words of his mom, he was a mighty little fighter. However, their worst nightmare was coming true, Theodore was not doing well. Even though he was twice the size of Thomas, he was having trouble breathing. He had to be placed on a jet ventilator and have 3 tubes inserted in his chest to drain the excess fluid. He was touch and go. After a very stressful first 2 weeks, Theo started to improve. Maribeth and Ben brought baby Theo home on March 28, 2014, just 2 days before their due date. But as Theo got better, Thomas’ health declined. At 5 weeks, he developed what is called Necrotizing Enterocolitis or NEC, a common digestive problem in premature babies. He would have to undergo 2 surgeries to correct the problem. After the first surgery, he struggled. He was back on the ventilator and every day was uncertain. After a few weeks, he finally started to improve. He was taken off oxygen and was happy, he enjoyed watching the Winnie the Pooh mobile over his bed in the NICU. He was ready for surgery number two.

The second surgery went well, and they thought they would soon be able to bring their little fighter home. About a month after the surgery however, Thomas became very sick again and had to undergo an emergency surgery. It was just too much for his tiny body, and Thomas couldn’t fight any more. On June 12, 2014, the day after his emergency surgery, Thomas passed away in his parents’ arms.

Thomas was only alive for 150 days, but he changed his parents’ lives forever. Maribeth says that until this past year she never knew that that joy and sorrow could live so closely side by side. As they revel in Theo’s accomplishments like sitting up and crawling, they mourn their darling boy who will never do those things. They hope that by sharing their story Thomas will be remembered. I know I will never forget him.

For our photo session, we wanted to celebrate Theo’s first birthday and all the strides he’s made this year, but also incorporate the memory of Thomas. I hope they will treasure these always. Of course, the final gallery is HUGE, but here is just a snippet of our day together. Thank you so much Maribeth and Ben for opening your home and hearts to me, I am so very humbled.













Raw Sugar Photography specializes in newborn, baby, maternity, child, family, couples, and engagement photography in Indianapolis, Indiana and surrounding areas, including, but not limited to Fishers and Carmel.