Today I’m thrilled to be introducing you to Isobel and celebrating her much anticipated arrival into her mother’s arms. This beautiful sweetheart is my 3rd Extraordinary Love Session of 2019. If you haven’t heard of these special new sessions that honour a family’s struggle with infertility, miscarriage, or infant loss please check out all of the information on my website here.

Thank you so very much to Isobel’s mother, Courtney, for volunteering to share her story and her beautiful girls with us.

newborn baby sleeping on a heart shape cloud with butterflies

In 2017 Courtney was expecting her first child. While she was considered a high risk pregnancy everything seemed to be going well until her 19 week anatomy ultrasound. At her appointment she found out she was expecting a daughter but also was terrified to learn that her cervix was already open. In an attempt to halt the baby’s dangerously early arrival Courtney was rushed to be given a rescue cerclage to close her cervix in the hopes that her daughter could remain in utero longer and improve her chances of survival. At that point Courtney was also placed on bed rest to do everything possible to keep her daughter inside longer.

Despite everyone’s best efforts to keep her daughter inside of her, at 22 weeks of pregnancy, her daughter was born. Her beautiful daughter, Emersyn June (Emme), lived for 1 hour and 44 minutes before passing away snuggled into Courtney’s chest. Understandably heartbroken after the loss of her daughter, Courtney struggled greatly with the profound grief she felt. Courtney was eventually diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, a serious and debilitating state than can be brought on by severe psychological stress.

In the Summer of 2018, Courtney discovered she was pregnant again which brought along with it the very mixed emotions that can come along with pregnancy after the loss of a baby. While very happy to be expecting Courtney was terrified that the traumatic loss of Emme would be repeated. When one has experienced such a trauma it can be very difficult to not expect the worst. For this pregnancy Courtney was deemed to be very high risk. A cerclage was inserted just before 12 weeks and frequent checks on baby and her cervix became part of Courtney’s routine every 2 weeks. Without being able to work and in a constant high risk state Courtney found the pregnancy to be extremely challenging as she nervously awaited for her 2nd daughter’s arrival.

On February 17, 2019, only 3 and half weeks before her due date, Isobel Rae made her safe arrival into this world and into her mother’s loving arms. She is a beautiful little girl that shares so many of her older sister’s features.

It was important to Courtney to include Emme in Isobel’s newborn session. Even though they will not grow up together and share the things that most sisters do in some ways Emme will always be with them. Even when a baby is lost soon after birth they will always be a part of their family and missed at all times.

newborn baby sleeping with butterflies

After the loss of Emme Courtney had a beautiful tattoo created for her on her back that says “Now she flies with butterflies”. I love that we were able to include both Emme and her mother in this special photo of Isobel by lying her on Courtney’s back below her tattoo.

newborn baby sleeping on mother's back with butterfly tattoo

Thank you again to Courtney for sharing her story and her beautiful little girl with us in an effort to create a dialogue and spread awareness about infant loss. The loss of a baby is unfortunately not uncommon but as Courtney found, the experience makes the people grieving feel extremely alone.

Suggestions from Courtney to those experiencing the loss of a child:

Losing Emme was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, but I think the best thing I did was to go to therapy. Friends and family are an amazing support, but it was extremely beneficial to have someone to talk to who was not personally involved.

When faced with traumatic events and grief we tend to turn most towards our close network of friends and family. While friends and family are so important and can be an invaluable resource there are times that an outside help, in the form of a therapist or other support worker, can be pivotal. There is still a stigma around accessing mental health services unfortunately, which leads to many not taking advantage of the specialized help that these professionals can give to a parent suffering the intense loss of a child.

Sara McConnell Photography ~ Ottawa Extraordinary Love Photos