This family and their story is extremely special and I was fortunate enough to be able to capture a very important and exciting day in their lives. I figured Everett's story was best told by his mom so (with her permission) I've pasted a part of an email I received from her back in February which details Everett and his family's journey... "My husband, Zac, and I have been married for five years. Our son, Everett, was born unexpectedly at 25 weeks gestation (6.5 months) on October 10, 2009... I went to the hospital that morning to be evaluated for what I believed was back pain, only to find out that I was 4cm dilated and actively contracting. Doctors did everything they could to stop my labor, but nothing worked. At 8:05pm, Everett was delivered via C-section. We had no idea what to expect.
Happily, he made it through the first few days with minimal complications. But in November, he contracted H1N1 and things went downhill from there. By December, he was experiencing problems with his bowels and had to be transferred via helicopter from the hospital where he was born in San Luis Obispo (which is 30 minutes from our house) to CHLA for emergency surgery. He had surgery December 8, 2009 to remove part of his bowel. He ended up with something called an ileostomy, which is where the bowel exits out the abdominal wall instead of going the normal way. Stool is collected in a bag attached to the skin. This allowed his bowel to rest and heal from a major infection and several perforations. Happily, almost two weeks ago, Everett was able to undergo surgery to reverse the ileostomy. It was a huge success and now he is learning to eat from a bottle and is functioning as any normal baby should. Once he is able to take full feedings, he will be able to come home.
He's been hospitalized for almost five months. We've been separated from him for almost three months. I visit him two to three days during the week, and then my husband and I both visit him every weekend. The four hour drive is daunting but we are glad he's at such a wonderful hospital. Other than our parents, none of our family or friends have been able to see him.... It is going to be a super emotional day for all of us...and we just can't wait to get there! I'm glad you are going to be there to document it all for us."
That day I witnessed many "firsts" for Everett's parents... The first time they got to him without having to wearing a hospital gown, the first time they put him in a car seat, the first they introduced him to his family, and last but not least... the first time they got to take him home. It was a such an emotional day filled with joyous anticipation, cheerful hellos, and tearful goodbyes... I am SO lucky to have been a part of it.
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