Regina photographer captures perinatal loss to help families heal

A photographer in Regina is taking photos for families who have suffered through perinatal loss, in an effort to aid in the healing process.

Elisha Guest is a volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a non-profit organization comprised of professional photographers who capture portraits of babies who have passed to soon.

She joined the organization three years ago.

Guest said through the organization, she is called to the hospital multiple times a month to capture photos of families and their babies who did not survive.

“Death is really hard for people to speak about, to be around, and I don’t look at it that way. I am so honoured with every single baby that I meet…they just have such an impact on my own life,” Guest said.

Jennifer Buchko was photographed by Guest twice, after suffering two separate still-born births.

Buchko lost her daughter, Annabelle Catherine, in March 2015 when she was 26 weeks into her pregnancy. During this pregnancy, she said she lost about four litres of blood and went into Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (when the blood is no longer able to clot).

“They didn’t think I was going to make it,” she said. Buchko was stabilized and survived the pregnancy.

She lost her son, Zachary Elijah, in August 2016 when she was 31 weeks pregnant.

“Delivering a baby is hard. Delivering a still-born baby is impossible,” Buchko said.

Buchko said at first she wasn’t sure if she and her husband, Jordan, wanted to be photographed by Guest in the moment.

“Truly we didn’t know if we really wanted in that moment, it was just so scary, we didn’t know if we wanted to remember these moments, but we’re so glad that we did”

“I want these babies celebrated, I want these people to remember their babies and their tiny details because they’re such beautiful little people and there was a reason why they came earth-side for a period of time,” Guest said.

Buchko said her and her husband decided the pregnancy with Zachary would be their last, as Buchko could not physically or emotionally handle another pregnancy. However, she said she is blessed to have her five-year-old daughter, Gabriella.

“You don’t ever get over it, but somehow you get through it,” Buchko said.

Guest will be holding a complimentary photo session on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for families who have suffered perinatal loss. She is asking families who plan to attend to bring a keepsake or memento of their "angel babies."