Parenting, Relationships, What's On Our Mind

The newborn photographs that broke our hearts, but showed the amazing power of love

Melissa Imbesi by Melissa Imbesi
April 5th, 2016

It had been seven weeks since photographer James Day documented the wedding of Nancy and Charlie McLean. Nancy was heavily pregnant on the day and the couple were excitedly preparing for the birth of their first child. Their wedding day, according to James, “was an incredible day.”

“The baby in her belly was already oh so loved. The baby was included and remembered at every turn during the day. It was beautiful to witness.”

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

On March 23rd, James received a call from Nancy and Charlie asking him to drive up to Royal Randwick Women’s Hospital. Nancy had given birth to their child, a son they named Edison, who was tragically very ill with a rare metabolic condition called non-ketotic hyperglycinaemia and had only a very short time to live. They wanted James, the man who had beautifully captured Edison’s presence in their life just seven weeks earlier when he lived inside Nancy’s womb, to photograph his short life, and final moments, with his family.

When I look at these photos I am so overcome with emotion, not only because of the heartbreak etched all over Nancy and Charlie’s faces, or the sight of a perfect, stunning baby boy who will never grow up, but the incredible bonds that tie family together. The support and adoration captured in these photographs and the effort made to ensure Edison’s life, and death, was filled with nothing but love by all who surrounded him is nothing short of stunning.

When my daughter was born she spent a few days in a humidi-crib in the hospital and I wasn’t able to take her out to feed her or hold her. Whilst that was nothing compared to the pain that Nancy, Charlie and their family have gone through, at that moment in time I felt like my world was crumbling. I can’t even imagine for a second the joy and excitement felt through a pregnancy, the anticipation of meeting your own little person, and then having that new life snatched away so soon after it had begun.

James did a stunning job of photographing Edison’s short life and the deeply personal and special moments he spent with his loved ones. There is no doubt that this was a loved baby; from the minute he arrived into this world until the moment he left it, he was enveloped in the arms of his parents and surrounded with nothing but pure love, affection and comfort and I have no doubt that he felt every second of it.

Here are some of the beautiful images James took of Edison and his family:

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Image: James Day

Nancy and Charlie’s message is simple. In their own words, “Cherish every moment you have with your loved ones. Love them like this is the last moment you will ever have with them. Never wait.”

“We only had seven days with our baby boy, but we take immense comfort out of the truth that in those seven days he knew only love…We spent those days laughing as much as possible. We made a promise to each other and to Edison to celebrate his life, not to waste any second with our baby boy while we still had him with us.”

James also documented Edison’s journey in this beautiful film:

Rest in Peace beautiful, precious little Edison. Our thoughts and love are with Nancy, Charlie and their family.

Nancy and Charlie are currently raising funds for “other mums, dads and bubba who need the help and support of ‘Team Royal'”

“We aim to donate to the midwifery group practice program that brought our boy into the world so naturally and peacefully and supported us with their amazing strength through this whole ordeal, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who did everything possible to save our boy and once discovered his condition wasn’t treatable, arranged the most beautiful ways to spend the remaining moments with him.”

You can donate to the Royal Women’s Hospital Midwives Group Practice and NICU in honour of Edison Charles McLean here.
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