Tiny Warriors - Cole {Houston, TX Child Photographer}

All around us are these tiny warriors dealing with things that we could only imagine, and doing so with such strength and determination. Behind them are their loved ones just learning how to manage all the things that may come with their diagnosis. Through all of that, we know how important photos are, but with everything going on, professional photos usually get pushed to the side. It’s just not at the forefront. I want to give parents of tiny warriors photos to treasure, a way to tell their story, and an avenue to get the word out about their favorite charity. So, once a month, I’ll pick one tiny warrior from any submissions to gift a session.

To start this program, Cole is going to be our ambassador! I met Cole the first time when he was a few months old for his family photos. Y’all, I adore this little boy and his family so much! You’d never know how much he has going on. I asked his mom to tell his story and this is what she has to say:

Tell me about Cole:

Cole has Teleology of the Fallot, pulmonary artesia, major collateral vessel, and was diagnosed with 22q.11 deletion. At our 20 week ultrasound the doctor noticed that Cole’s feet looked turned in towards each other. My doctor decided to send us to Texas Children’s for a more in depth ultrasound. At Texas Children’s they noticed the blood flow was mixed together, a hole in his heart, and bilateral club feet. It was that day that my whole world changed. They suspected that Cole had a genetic disorder, and we needed to do more testing. Jared and I agreed to do NIPT, but not Amniocentesis. We did not want to jeopardize Cole's chances of survival. We did not care about possible genetic disorders he might have. At 33 weeks I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and almost had to deliver at 34 weeks. My blood pressure went back down without medication, so my doctor decided to hold off. I made it to 37 weeks before my doctor said it was time to deliver. On April 20th, 2018 a sweet baby.boy was born at 1:35 PM! He weighed 5 lbs 4 oz and was 19 inches tall. We held him for a minute before he was rushed off to NICU. There we spent a week and a half before it was determined that Cole could go home to grow! We didn’t have his first open heart surgery until 10 months old. We struggle with Cole being able to gain weight. He is 13 months old now, and weighs 13 lbs 2 oz. He probably won't gain the weight they want until his full repair. Cole will have to have multiple surgeries to replace the conduit that will eventually be put in.

.We've been very blessed! Having a baby with 22q is very hard, especially since both my husband and I work 40+ hours a week. We don't have near enough vacation either. My mom helps us a lot by making sure Cole makes his doctor appointments and she keeps him during the day while we are at work! We would be lost without her! 22q can have a variety of issues health wise and developmental. No two babies are the same! In fact there are some people who don't know they have the syndrome. It is very much a wait and see game with Cole. So far health wise and developmental Cole has had very mild set backs (even with his heart condition). He's our heart warrior!

Do you have any advice for parents/families in your situation?

Don't ever give up hope! These babies are so brave and happy even in the hardest of times! Also, always turn to God! Even when we don’t feel him, he is there with us!

Is there anyone you'd like to publicly thank?

I would like to give a shout out to God, my mom, my mother in law, my best friends, my church family, to my favorite photographer, to the doctors that take special care of Cole! It truly does take a village to raise a baby!

Is there an organization that you'd like people to donate to?

Any heart charities!

Here are some of Cole’s photos from his session. He is hanging out with his stuffies from the video that explains his surgery for his heart. You can see his scar from his first open heart surgery that is healing beautifully, his sweet little feet that have more circulation after his surgery, his little braces to help correct his turned feet, and his big blue eyes, and his adorable smile!

If you know someone with a tiny warrior, age one year or younger, have them contact me through email at tami@twgallop.photography to be considered for one of the monthly sessions. My hope is that this program allows families to tell their stories with the added bonus of beautiful photographs of their little one.

-Tami

Newborn Photography Safety {Houston, TX Newborn Photographer}

Most of y’all have seen the video circulating Facebook that shows a newborn falling out of the “froggy” position. This is the adorable head on hands shot that many parents love and request. In this video, the photographer has the baby balanced with no assistance or spotting from a parent or assistant. Due to the negligence, the baby is unable to support the weight of its head and falls to the side. As far as we know, the baby was not injured; however, the outcome could have been far more dire. Due to this and many photos I’ve seen floating around on social media, I feel that it’s important to educate on newborn and baby safety during photo sessions.

Let’s start with one of the most requested photos by parents. The “froggy” pose. It’s absolutely adorable and can be done in many variations and modifications to make sure that baby is safe and comfortable. To get baby in this position, they must be super relaxed and sleepy. Even those super relaxed babies will fuss a little as we move them into the correct position. Sometimes, babies absolutely do not want to be posed in that manner and in that instance we move on to make sure baby feels safe and secure.

Hands were on Miss Felicity the entire time. The photos were composited in Photoshop to create the images below.

As we get started on this pose in studio, I always explain to the parents the process and that at no times will hands be off the baby. I explain the proper way to support baby’s head, hands, and wrists and do not let go until I’m certain that the parent has baby safely supported.

Did you know that a baby’s head is 25% of their entire body weight? It’s why they should never support their head on their own for this position. As always, several shots are taken and then composited together in Photoshop. The baby is supported properly the entire time.

The same types of rules apply for prop poses! There is a parent or assistant next to the baby at all times and they are spotted to make sure they are safe. Props should always be counter weighted with weights or beanbags and cushioned for support and protection.

Here is a great example. The bed is sturdy and baby is cushioned with support from posing beans. Mom was sitting right next to the bed and was spotting baby the entire time. The angles were a bit different in the image I edited, but the hand was always there, only hovering above him for a moment to get his back in the image.

Extreme care is always taken to ensure baby is safe and comfortable. It takes time and patience to get baby in the proper position for baby’s safety and the best shot. Posing is manipulated to never inhibit a baby’s airway or circulation. You’ll see me frequently using little posing pillows and stuffers and constantly moving and adjusting them under all the blankets to insure baby’s safety and comfort.

If you are looking for a newborn photographer, please choose someone who is experienced, educated, and insured. Yes, that usually comes with a higher price, but your new baby’s safety is worth it! If you do hire a less experienced photographer, as we all were at some point, please do not be afraid to ask questions to make sure your baby is safe at all times.

As a professional, I continue to educate myself on the best practices for safe baby poses and photography techniques to provide you with heirloom keepsakes of your newborn baby. Of course, I’d love it if you choose to hire me to capture these new moments, but most importantly, I want to educate you on what to look for when hiring a newborn photographer.