CP Daughter Inspires Mom’s Passion for Photography
By Sara Sprague
Being very career focused in my 20′s, I obtained my RN rather young. I went on to spend more than a decade dedicating my life to caring for and healing critically ill children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, all the while dreaming of the day I might have my own child. After marrying my Prince Charming in 2008, it wasn’t long before we were expecting a precious baby girl.
Perfect Pregnancy Ends in a Heartbreaking Birth
In June of 2009, I had succeeded at a very healthy full-term pregnancy. Thirty-two hours after I was admitted to the hospital for labor, I knew something didn’t feel right. With each passing contraction I could feel that I could not advance the fetal head. After pushing for an additional one and a half hours, my caretakers realized that our daughter was not in a position for birth. She presented ear-first instead of crown of head-first. Much more concerning than her position was the discovery that her umbilical cord was completely prolapsed, cutting off her circulation and oxygen supply. I watched helplessly as her heart rate fell from 60 to 30 to 20 to reading nothing at all. I was whisked to the operating room with the OB riding in the bed to hold the fetal head off of the umbilical cord. Just before I was put under general anesthesia, I remember thinking I needed to prep myself for the possibility of waking to the news of a stillborn.
When I woke and was taken off the respirator, I was told that “Lyric,” named for her father’s musicianship, had survived.
When I was well enough to see her for the first time, I was still in a fog, but I noted abnormal newborn posturing right away. After having her evaluated by a Pediatric Neurologist, my fears were confirmed and Lyric was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy and double left hemiparesis. In her infancy, she was not able to use her left arm/hand much at all and kept it tucked tight to her body.
Exhausting Schedule of Treatments and Therapies
All of Lyric’s developmental milestones were delayed and as she came into her toddler years, she required extremity braces, physical, occupational, and speech therapies five to six days a week.
This schedule grew exhausting fast and I felt like we had little life outside of the intensive therapies and focusing on what Lyric couldn’t do or should be doing at her age.
I decided we needed an OUTLET. An outlet that allowed me time with Lyric, that could perhaps CELEBRATE Lyric, and help me to see some positives instead of living in the perpetual state of what she “could not do.”
Channeling My Creative Energy through Photography
I had always dabbled in photography and found great joy in dolling Lyric up, experimenting with lenses, lighting, adding silly props and setting scenes. I took a few photos and submitted customer appreciation photos to the various children’s clothing designers from whom I had purchased. Before I knew it, I was getting requests from more and more designers for photographs.
By the time Lyric was 12 months old, I figured it was time to get some photography education under me and some professional equipment along the way. I took various classes/mentoring, began networking with area photographers, and taught myself Photo Shop – THE MOST UN-USER FRIENDLY program on Earth! As Lyric grew, so did the demand for my photography. By the time she was 18 months old, I launched a Facebook fan page to reach a larger audience. Soon after, I was requested by area mommies to photograph their little sweet peas and as it turns out, I had a bit of a knack for I, a talent I NEVER would have realized if it weren’t for the birth of my special needs darling.
Appreciating the Irony of Life’s Little Surprises
I realize my multitude of blessings now… to be a mother to a child who has come so far in her short life to become what you see today…to be married to the most incredible father and partner I could have chosen in this journey, to be a photographer on a full time basis and an RN only part time, and to be networked with literally hundreds of like-mamas who have taught themselves to sew, build websites, and pursue numerous other entrepreneurial endeavors to help them stay at home and available for their special needs children while still supporting their families.
It’s so very ironic how life unfolds with little surprises along the way. Lyric is now 3 years old and is more inspiring and amazing to me by the day. As her parent, the fear of the uncertain future can be overwhelming but I’ve had gentle hands to guide me along this path and take one day at a time… and a photo to cherish every day.
About the Author
Sara Sprague is a Registered Nurse of 10 years dedicated to Pediatric Intensive Care & Neonatal Intensive Care. After the birth of her own special needs baby, she decided to pursue her passion for photography on a professional level so that she could be more available at home. She now runs SAS Photography, a boutique baby photography company.