Many lives have been lost to Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18, genetic disorders that affect almost every organ of the body, but one family was determined to capture beautiful memories from their daughter’s short life.
Arizona mum Julie found out during her 36th week of pregnancy that her unborn daughter – her seventh child – most likely had Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome) or Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), where three chromosomes are present instead of one.
After a 20-hour labour, little baby Lily was welcomed into the world, before being rushed to intensive care and tested. There, in the NICU, doctors' previous suspicions were confirmed.
In the bittersweet two-and-a-half days that Julie and her family had with little Lily, they each got to spend time with her, and photographer Ela Wunderli was able to capture some truly stunning moments from that precious time.
During those two days, the family threw Lily her first and second birthday parties. She then passed away peacefully in her mother’s arms.
The photos have now been shared with the world, along with little Lily’s beautiful obituary, reading: “She spent two-and-a-half celestial days with us. We celebrated her first birthday with lilies, handwritten birthday cards from her brothers and sisters, and a big shiny balloon in the shape of a number one. On her second birthday, we gathered round her. We held her. We hugged her and kissed her again and again. We told her how much we loved her, and how we were going to miss her so very much. And we said goodbye. For now.”
Our thoughts are with Julie and her family.