Songs of Life | Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I am thrilled to be participating in a lifestyle photography blog circle entitled Songs of Life along with several other incredibly talented photographers.  For this series, we will be using a different song each month as our inspiration, while capturing everyday moments in our own lives.  We will be taking a lifestyle approach to our photography, as we document our own families living our own lives.  Lifestyle photography attempts to capture real moments, taking more of a documentary approach rather than posed portraits.  I am hoping to incorporate more lifestyle photography within my client sessions, and I am so excited to participate in this monthly project.  This month’s inspiration was the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” by  Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.  If you would like to listen to the song as you read through the blog circle, click here.

My interpretation of this month’s song is a bit more serious than the upbeat, uplifting mood of this song that I typically feel when I hear it.  My daughter had to have surgery this month to close a hole in her heart that they discovered as a baby.  To close this hole in the past required open heart surgery.  However, now, through the marvels of modern medicine, they are able to use a catheter to go inside through her leg and insert a coil to close the hole.  Although the hole was small and not affecting her now, it would potentially affect her as she grew older.  Because of what we were dealing this month, this song took on a different meaning for me than it has in the past.  I have been feeling incredibly grateful over the past month since we found out that Bella would have to have this procedure.  Grateful for a heart echo tech that took extra time to reexamine a hole that they believed had closed when she was 2 months old, going at different angles to be sure.  Grateful for the marvels of modern medicine that not only allow this to be corrected in the heart of a tiny person who means more to me than anyone in this world, but also allow this to be corrected in a way that is infinitely less invasive than open heart surgery.  Grateful that she has such a minor congenital heart defect, compared to what so many other children and parents have to deal with.  And eternally grateful for the support and love of so, so many friends and family that I couldn’t even begin to list.  It’s been a rough month for my husband, my daughter and me, but we are surrounded by the most incredible people who love our little family and who wanted to do whatever they could to help.  Spoiling my girl with gifts to make this easier on her, offers to bring us food, waiting with us at the hospital during her surgery, or even just listening to me when I needed to talk about it.  What a wonderful world indeed.

Although this was a very small hole in Bella’s heart, and not even currently affecting her, and also an incredibly routine procedure, when it’s your child, and when it deals with her heart, you can’t help but feel nervous and a little scared.  And on top of our own feelings, we have a daughter who deals with anxiety.  The most heart-breaking part of this entire process has been my girl feeling so scared and anxious over the surgery.  We held off telling her for as long as we could, and we kept it as simple and upbeat as possible.  We told her that she would be getting a princess heart, and they had to put a little crown on her heart to make it a princess heart. She was enthralled with the idea that she would have her very own princess heart, just like Cinderella.  However, for about a week leading up to the surgery, she had so many moments where she was so scared and needed reassurance.  Out of all of this, that has by far been the most difficult part of it all.  And yet, we have been surrounded by so much support and love this past month, that I really do have to say to myself, what a wonderful world.

My sweet, brave girl.

Thursday was a rough day.  Incredibly difficult for Bella, and emotional and draining for my husband and me.  But we got through it together, with our family and friends.  And now my girl has a brand new, sparkling princess heart.

We are so lucky though.  This was a pretty simple procedure compared to what so many other children with congenital heart defects have to face.  When your child has to go through any sort of a medical procedure, it is scary and nerve-wracking.  And yet, we knew that the risk for this type of procedure is incredibly low.  And we also knew that at this point in her life, Bella’s small heart defect was not even affecting her.  So many other children are not that lucky.  And in reflecting upon that over the past month, it made the lyrics to this song so much more poignant:

“Someday I’ll wish upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops, that’s where you’ll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dare to, oh why, oh why can’t I?”

I hope that doctors are able to continue to find even better treatments for children with congenital heart defects, especially for those children whose conditions are life threatening.   So that their troubles truly can melt away like lemon drops.  That is my wish for them.

Please continue on in the blog circle to read Rachel’s interpretation of our song this month.

  • heather - I’m so glad everything went well! I was thinking of you all.ReplyCancel

  • Lucy Sandeen - Oh, Sharon. This one made me cry (read: bawl like a baby). I just kept imagining Elayna going through this and being afraid…. its so very hard to push your little to do something when they are afraid, and when its something that feels so big… something that means they have to have surgery and be put under… how scary for us as parents as well.
    These photos are beautiful though because now they remind you of how you all got through this. The one of her looking nervous/sad made me lose it…. but then to see that beautiful brave smile. She is a brave princess indeed.
    I am so, so glad that they fixed the issue and that you can all move forward now with your precious girl.ReplyCancel

  • Deb Moll - What a scary experience and touching photos. Here’s to many healthy, happy days ahead!ReplyCancel

  • Lucy Sandeen - Oh, Sharon. This one made me cry (read: bawl like a baby). I just kept imagining Elayna going through this and being afraid…. its so very hard to push your little to do something when they are afraid, and when its something that feels so big… something that means they have to have surgery and be put under… how scary for us as parents as well. The photo of her looking nervous/sad made me lose it…. but then to see that beautiful brave smile. She is a brave princess indeed. I am so, so glad that they fixed the issue and that you can all move forward now with your precious girl.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - Ah, tears! These are so touching! The photos are beautiful! Your thoughts are beautiful! Your little girl is beautiful! My heart is full of joy that they were able to fix that precious little angel! <3ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Oh, man. Tears. So glad this adventure in Bella’s (and your) life is past, and now let’s see how that girl grows & uses her Princess heart. Much love, my dear.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Forbes Wells - Oh, man. Tears. So glad this adventure in Bella’s (and your) life is past, and now let’s see how that girl grows & uses her Princess heart. Much love, my dear.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole Streich - I have no words…love you all & glad it’s all going to be alright!ReplyCancel

  • Rachael Ostrowski - Thank you for sharing. What a wonderful little girl you have. What a loving family she has!ReplyCancel

  • Amber - So beautiful, Sharon! I got teary reading about Bella’s operation. I love the idea of a princess heart. Your photos are wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Songs of Life | Brave » Sharon Spall Photography - […] song has special meaning for me with my girl.  Over one year ago, my daughter had to have a heart procedure to attempt to close a small hole in her heart that she had had since birth.  Thanks to the marvels […]ReplyCancel

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