His Name Is Gideon

His Name is Gideon.

He wasn’t here long.  But in the hour, give or take a few minutes, that he was on this earth, he was loved and cherished by his mom and dad.

No child could have ever been nor ever will be adored any more than how Gideon was.

I met this family last night shortly after 9PM.  Gideon’s mom, Kayla, had reached out to me months ago checking to see if I still take pictures for NILMDTS, an organization that networks photographers around the country to offer their services when a newborn child will not be leaving the hospital alive due to complications that develop during pregnancy.  I assured her that I did and would make sure I was there for her and her anticipated delivery which wasn’t due until later in December or early January.

Gideon’s arrival came sooner than expected as I received a text from Kayla early Tuesday morning letting me know her water broke and that she was in the hospital.  I told her I was on standby all day and to let me know when she needed me.

Gideon was not expected to ‘live long after birth’ so this was a scenario I had not yet encountered in previous sessions that I’ve done here locally.

It turned out to be a long day for Kayla, her husband Benji, and Gideon.  When the hospital called me  Tuesday night, I was packed and ready to go.  I had a feeling this would be a new experience for me and wasn’t quite sure what I would encounter.  At this point I was uncertain if the baby was alive or what condition the parents would be in after such a long and traumatizing day.

When I was directed into the room, it was apparent that Gideon had not been here long.  But by the glowing smile on Mom and Dad’s faces, I had an immediate sense that Gideon had made his brief entry into this world with a beating heart.  And there was some serious bonding taking place between him and his parents as he laid nestled there upon her chest.

The medical staff continued doing what they are trained to do so well.  Dr. Cutrell, the local pediatrician was busy doing what he does, a few family members stood silently in the background…and so I just started doing what I was there to do…capturing these moments with my camera.

Gideon’s older brother made a brief appearance to say good bye to his little brother.  Various grandparents and other family members came and met little Gideon and offered support to this  young couple.  And I just kept clicking.  At some point, Dr. Cutrell informed the parents that Gideon was no longer with us as his heartbeat could no longer be detected.

I asked if we could dim some of the lights in the room while I snapped a couple of more shots.  And then I asked if we could all join together for a word of prayer…which we did.  We thanked our Lord and Savior for this brief time we had with Gideon…committing him into God’s hands…thankful that Gideon would never know loss…pain…or suffering.  And because of the hope we hold to, these parents knew they would be reunited some day with this little guy.

It was a quiet and somber drive home for me late that night.  There was such an extreme range of emotions, thoughts, and feelings that I was dealing with.  But there was one thing that I was struck with coming away from there that compelled me to even put words down describing that evening.

I’ve captured many things over the years with my cameras.  But last night was a first.

I captured pictures of an invisible God.  I saw with my naked eye (and through my lens) the Holy Spirit.  I photographed ‘Grace’ in action.  I told Kayla that I would never again ever be able to hear a sermon teaching on grace without seeing that picture of her and her husband smiling over their beloved son, Gideon.

Amidst the routine clutter and props found in any hospital delivery room around the country…and amidst the buzzing of staff workers tending to their patient, I was so deeply touched and humbled by the privilege extended to me…to capture such a holy moment.  A God moment. A moment I will never forget. I will never be able to forget the smiling faces of  this amazing couple who loved on their son during his brief stay with them in that cluttered hospital room.

And I won’t forget their son’s name either.

His Name is Gideon.