I’m so excited to finally be sharing Hadley’s session with everyone. She is such an amazing warrior and I was so lucky to be able to document her new born photography OC session. I asked her amazing mama to help me write about Hadley’s experiences so that I could make this post as complete as possible.
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
I knew that Hadley had a special condition and found out that its called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. The condition is generally signified by having an underdeveloped left side of the heart, including valves, left ventricle, and a narrowed aorta. The biggest problem, simply stated, is that her left ventricle is not developed enough to pump oxygenated blood throughout her body.
Learning about her Medical Condition
Hadley’s parents learned that there was something different about her heart at the 20-week anatomy scan. Here’s what mom recalls, “At that point, the doctors actually gave us a different diagnosis, which initially led us down another path. But by the following appointment, the cardiologist and neonatologist were able to review things more closely and felt confident enough to give us the HLHS label.”
As of today, there is a three stage surgical treatment to extend the quality of life of these kids. There is no cure for Hadley’s condition and the treatment is still considered palliative care. However, with medical advancements, these kids are living into their 30ies, even without heart transplants.
At 5 days old, Hadley had her first open heart surgery. This is the riskiest of all the surgeries. She only weighed 5 lbs and her heart was barely the size of a walnut. Doctor’s placed a 5 mm shunt that allowed mixed blood (oxygenated and non-oxygenated) to flow from her heart to her body. If this became blocked or otherwise obstructed, the result could be fatal. She worked so hard to heal, and grow, and was transitioned from the ICU to the step-down cardiac floor after only four days! After 23 days, Hadley got to come home for the very first time!
Handling Hadley’s New Born Photography
I knew that I could have to make a few special accommodations for Hadley’s newborn session. I wanted to be cautious of any positions that may affect any procedures that she had recently done. There were only a few positions that she wouldn’t be able to do, but she was such a great little model. She slept like a dream for almost her entire session.
Basic Newborn Photography Poses
We started her session on the posing table. She went perfectly into a side-lying sleepy position. She looked like such a sweet angel. I wanted to keep this portion clean and simple and focus on her sweet little face.
I love getting shots of babies wrapped up nice and tight and posed in a soft, fuzzy fur. Apparently, Hadley loved it too because she gave me some sweet smiles. Any time a baby smiles during their photo shoot, someone will ask how I got them to do it. It’s honestly always just pure luck. I wish I had a guaranteed way to get a smile, but I don’t.
Today, Hadley is doing incredibly well! It is deceiving because you would never know that she spent another 80 days in the hospital at three months old. She endured another two open heart surgeries, two heart catheterizations, a brain bleed, seizures, a GI stomach surgery, frenulectomy and countless procedures. Hadley was able to come home early this year and has remained healthy since! She is the happiest baby, loves to blow raspberries, and gets so excited at the sight of her kitties!
Support Kids Like Hadley
Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect affecting 1 in every 100 births, yet funding for its research is significantly less than for other childhood diseases. The advancements made in the last 15 years have been significant and have allowed for babies like Hadley to live beyond their first birthday, but there is so much more promising research on the horizon. Organizations like The Children’s Heart Foundation and The American Heart Association focus on heart related conditions. Actually, on May 22nd, we are walking in the Children’s Heart Foundation’s CHD Walk in Los Angeles. You can donate to the foundation by visiting https://give.childrensheartfoundation.org/. Our team name is Hadley’s Got Heart! if you would like to donate in Hadley’s name.
Support kids like Hadley