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Volunteer photographers capture precious moments following newborn's death or stillbirth

Leigh Ann Laube • Jul 9, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Sixteen weeks into her pregnancy, Tania and Thomas Bellamy learned their son had anencephaly, the absence of a large part of the brain and skull. It is one of the most common neural tube defects and occurs early in the development of an unborn baby. The Bellamys knew Samuel Thomas wouldn’t be with them very long.“A baby who has anencephaly can live up to two or three days,” Tania said. “There’s no way for them to tell you how long. He could have not lived at all or he could have lived for up to two days.”Two hours after he was born on Nov. 30, 2007, Samuel died. His short time here was captured through dozens of photographs, however, leaving his parents with memories they might have otherwise forgotten.Before their son was born, the Bellamys contacted the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep foundation, a nonprofit organization that has provided thousands of families of babies who are stillborn or are at risk of dying as newborns with free professional portraits. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is available to all parents suffering the loss of a baby as early as 25 weeks gestation or at the discretion of medical personnel.Read the expanded version of this report in the print edition or the enhanced electronic version of the Kingsport Times-News.

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