Indianapolis Newborn Photographer | Raw Sugar Photography
Having a baby always comes with its own set of fears and challenges, but when you learn your baby has a heart defect while in utero, that fear… I can only imagine, becomes all consuming.
The first time Laura reached out to me it was just like any other inquiry about a newborn session. A couple of months later she reached out again but this time with a major concern. Laura and her husband, Jason, had found out their little baby Beau had congenital heart defects and would more than likely need to have surgery very quickly after his birth. She was concerned about not being able to get the newborn photos since he would be older than the usual 14 days or less by the time he got out of the hospital. I assured her we would be able to get in a good session whenever Beau was healed and out of the hospital.
I have never been more happy to be right.
A couple of weeks before Beau was due to arrive, Laura went to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, IL because the surgeon who would do baby Beau’s surgery was at the adjoining Advocate Children’s Heart Institute. They arrived on Monday and the plan was to spend a week in the hospital and then induce labor, but Laura’s water broke Monday night and baby Beau was born on Tuesday, May 2nd, weighing in at 6lbs 15 oz and 20 inches long. There were 15 people in the room all ready to take care of him. The NICU team assessed him and then Laura was able to hold her baby boy for about 20 minutes before he went to the NICU to start prostaglandin infusions to keep his heart functioning. Big sister Ava (7) was able to meet him when he was four days new and before his surgery, and Big brother Drew (4) met him about six days after his surgery, on Mother’s Day.
Six days after he was born, Beau had surgery for his heart defects and showed everyone just how tough he is. The surgery was a complete repair of an interrupted aortic arch and the closure of a ventricular septal defect and atrial septal defect. There was one main incision down his chest, it looks like a zipper scar, but there are a lot of extra scars as well. He had to have two drain tubes,central lines for administration of medication, and two leads for an external pacemaker.
Incredibly at just three weeks, Beau was able to go home to Indiana with his family.
A few days after they got home, Laura and Jason brought Beau into my studio with an entourage of help. Laura’s mother Nadine, who lives in Michigan, had been with them since Beau’s arrival. Laura’s sister, Michelle, lives just around the corner from the Harrisons so she too was on hand to help. Ava and Drew were also on hand to kiss and cuddle baby brother. Beau is still on oxygen, but it was able to come off and on, so we just went really slow and had all eyes on him.
Beau, was an absolute perfect model. He was asleep right up until the end and then I got some of the most heartwarming shots of him with his eyes wide open and looking directly at the camera. I found a tiny felt heart to use in the session, and got the sweetest shots of Beau clutching it.
Hanging out with Laura, Nadine, and Michelle during the session felt like we were talking with women we’d known for years. My assistant and I chatted about everything under the sun with them while Beau just snoozed away. Beau sure does have a strong and loving family surrounding him.
Beau is currently still in recovery and will continue to meet with cardiology for the rest of his life. At this point doctors do not anticipate any specific restrictions for him, however it is common for cardiac children to get winded quicker than other kids.
When Laura and Jason found out about the condition their son was facing they spent months preparing a plan for delivery and then repair of his heart. They researched his condition. They read medical journals about the outcomes of all the approaches by different surgeons and weighed the risks, eventually leading them to Advocate Children’s Heart Hospital.
After delivery it was confirmed that Beau has DiGeorge Syndrome and this was what caused the heart defects. DiGeorge Sydrome is a missing piece of the 22nd Chromosome and has a variety of symptoms. Not only does Beau have the congenital heart defect, but also low calcium levels and is missing a thymus, which is the gland responsible for making T-cells for the body to fight of infections.
Laura told me her advice to all parents would be to do all the prenatal screening you can because if you’re aware you can make the best choices for your baby. Your child’s best advocate is always you.
I hope to work with Jason, Laura, Ava, Drew, and sweet baby Beau again, I loved this family so much, they are an inspiration!
Shaindel of Raw Sugar Photography is an Indianapolis newborn photographer located in Indianapolis, IN. Shaindel creates quality timeless images of your babies, family portraits, newborn moments and all the days in between. Serving Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel and surrounding communities.