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California couple honors their stillborn baby girl with heartbreaking family photographs

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CALIFORNIA (PIX11)– The parents of a stillborn baby found a way to commemorate their little girl by having a photographer take pictures of them together.

According to the Daily Mail, professional photographer Lindsey Natzic-Villatoro used her camera to help alleviate the loss of a grieving family.

Richard and Emily Staley’s daughter Monroe was a stillborn, but the parents wanted to acknowledge her memory through a set of pictures.

“I wanted our family to have some way to show how beautiful our daughter was,” Emily Staley told Yahoo Health. “I was proud of her, and I wanted to show her off and make sure her memory lives on.”

Staley shared her difficult experience with Natzic-Villatoro, who then posted details about it on Facebook along with pictures, with the family’s permission.

The tragic turn of events began when Emily Staley, while having her morning coffee, realized that her baby hadn’t kicked all morning. She went to the hospital to see if everything was alright, but the nurse couldn’t find a heartbeat. Ultimately, they discovered that the baby had died, because the umbilical cord became wrapped around her neck.

She delivered the baby via C-section and with her husband decided to commemorate their child by hiring a professional photographer.

With the help of Natzic-Villatoro, a photographer for Love Song Events & Photography, she captured multiple images for the family.


Below is the actual Facebook message Natzic-Villatoro asked people to share:

WARNING- these images are extremely emotional. The family wishes for these to be shared in their child’s memory. If anyone has anything negative to say please DO NOT do it on this page. I will ban and remove you for the protection of this family. It has taken an extreme amount of courage for them to share this story and your negative opinion is not needed. They deserve encouraging words, stories and comments. There is enough negative stuff in this world and this post is meant to be positive and beautiful. If you do not like these images or feel they could be harmful to your day, then please do not proceed in reading the rest of this posting. I have built my business on LOVE and I do not expect that to change now. If you chose to continue reading please join me in support.

To answer many of your questions, I AM NOT AFFILIATED WITH NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP (NILMDTS). Although a wonderful organization that has helped thousands, Love Song is actually VERY different. I have done this type of work for my clients for going on 4 years. I am simply a photographer- one that loves people and caters to all ages for my “forever loved sessions.” Thank you for listening. Lindsey


I often ask God “why” and question life. I question things like cancer, tragic accidents, and murders, stillborns, child deaths… everything that just seems so painful for someone to bear. I know death is never easy but I believe everyone should die of old age, I know that’s not reality. As a mother the last phone call/email I want to get for a “forever loved” session is anything that has to do with a child. Friday afternoon as I was preparing for my weekend sessions with all 3 of my girls I got an email from a girl named Kelly telling me her sweet friend just found out her baby had died. She told me some details and asked if I would contact the family to be there in their time of need. Given the circumstances, you only have a very short window to truly capture these forever moments. I rushed out of the store I was in and called this woman. When this mother answered the phone she could barley speak. She knew I was calling which I’m sure was the only reason why she answered the phone. She was short of breath, crying uncontrollably between her words and could barely even speak. She told me that earlier that morning she was eating breakfast, oatmeal actually. She had a cup of coffee and was proceeding with her usual routine. Her husband had already left for work and she was just at home relaxing with her son and niece. She noticed that her daughter hadn’t been moving in her belly like usual. Normally it is her baby’s routine to have some fun in mom’s belly once she drinks her coffee. Considering that her baby hadn’t kicked all morning, mom moved her tummy a bit and after still feeling nothing went and got her heart monitor to check on her. Again mom heard nothing. In a panic she called her husband and told him what was going on and said she was going to drop the kids off to be watched and head to the hospital. Once she got to the hospital they got her in a room to be monitored, and the nurse could not find a heartbeat. They then gave her an ultrasound and discovered her sweet baby had died due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around her child’s neck. They asked her if she would like to delivery the baby vaginally or said she could have a C-section. Given the fact mom had ate that morning she needed to come back for the surgery, she wanted the C-section. She was told she could come at 3:30pm later that afternoon or 5:00am the following morning. Mom decided to come back given she was alone and wanted the support of her husband who was working over two hours away. She would of had to do the surgery alone if she decided to do it that day because it was impossible for him to be there by 3:30pm. Mom, a total wreck left the hospital in disbelief. How was this happening? Her baby was just moving and alive late the evening before so how… why… why her? Why her baby? Why their child? Every question known to man popped into her mind- nothing made sense.

I met the family at 6:30am Saturday morning. I am a professional but human. Set aside my everyday photography, I photograph about 15 to 20 terminal sessions a month that range from every tragedy under the sun BUT that NEVER makes these easy. Every session I do affects me differently. I walked into a cold hospital room, room 230- full of tears and family, everyone was in disbelief. I grabbed mom’s hand and I told her this was quite literally the worst thing that could ever happen to a mother but together we were going to get through this. I smiled at their nurse sweet Ronda, looked at dad and told him I was here to help them both. I also told them that there way NO right way to handle this. If they wanted to freak out on me, throw something, cry, yell…whatever, it was absolutely OK. Thankfully I know many of the nurses and doctors at the hospital Mom was delivering at so I called Friday night and told them I’d be there in the morning. When I got there they gave mom the option of having me in the OR during the C-section. Mom and Dad decided that was right where I needed to be, although both were very scared and nervous. I went into the bathroom before we walked into the OR, said a prayer for the surgery and for everything that was about to transpire. I then got all geared up, and together Dad and I met mom in the OR where surgery had already started. I looked at mom on the operating table, she knew my heart was breaking for her. With my hair and mouth covered, and only my eyes to be seen Mom and Dad both knew I was doing everything I could to be supportive and hold it together for them. I needed to be strong; I needed to do my job. At 7:52am I looked at that clock and sweet baby Monroe Faith Staley was born. I was the first to see her. My eyes quickly filled with tears as I pulled my mask down, looked over to mom and dad and said, “SHE IS PERFECT.” Together we all cried. I stood next to the baby and watched the nurses give Monroe her first sponge bath, I touched her hands, put the hat I brought her on and took a few pictures. The nurse Miguel which we all adore then handed mom her baby girl as the doctor finished her surgery. It was a dream, this family was living a total nightmare. I can’t even begin to describe the pain I knew Mom and Dad were feeling at that moment. As mom pleaded for her baby to wake up, her sweet husband brushed her hair with his hands crying with her. Cheek to cheek, clinging to their baby girl in disbelief; the two of them were pillars for each other. At 8:20am the four of us went across the hall to Mom’s room and for almost 9 hours Monroe never left their sight. I was able to capture moments that this family will forever have. I kissed this sweet baby over and over again… I even joked with Mom about taking her home. We both got a giggle out of it. Baby was full term and ABSOLUTE PERFECTION, Monroe defined perfection. Throughout the morning and afternoon family members came to meet this perfect angel. I took the baby to the infant warmer and snapped away. Any image that came to mind, I shot. I wanted this family to have every possible memory of this child I could physically give them. So with that being said, I would like you all to meet this beautiful family. 26 year old Mother Emily, 29 year old Father Richard, and baby girl Monroe Faith Staley weighing 6 pounds 2.5 ounces, 19 inches long.

This family wants you all to know they have felt your prayers. To those of you that responded to my post when I asked for prayer Friday evening, they appreciate the kindness you have shown to them. Sweet Monroe has a 5 year old big brother that loved her dearly and was counting down the days until he could finally meet his baby sister. This death was EXTREMELY unexpected and tragic. I am asking you all for your prayers. Emily will be released from the hospital today and have to go home to a house full of baby items. She will have to walk into her daughter’s nursery and relive this nightmare for the rest of her life. Please stop and pray for them. I said on Friday, “No matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.” And I ment that. NO FAMILY deserves this unbearable pain. The Staley’s rest assured knowing they will be reunited with their sweet baby girl one day soon, but until that day comes they struggle thinking life will ever have some normalcy. They would like their story to be shared; they hope to bring comfort to other families out there that have also experienced such tragedy. They want their daughter’s life to be remembered. Join with me in donating and praying for peace for you sweet Emily and Richard.

Em’ and Richard, I hope you enjoy your pictures. Thank you for allowing me to be there with you both in this time of grief. THANK FOR FOR SHARING A PEICE OF YOUR LIFE WITH ME & letting me love on your little piece of heaven. Xox

Thank you in advance! If you know anyone that Love Song can help through my documentaries PLEASE email me VIA facebook or visit my website.



    • Judy Billiard

      Memories of this sweet baby will be with us all forever as I will never forget her face. I lost my twins at 4 1/2 months. Being so young, I was never able to see their faces but I will always hold the memories of them close to my heart! Thank you for sharing your beautiful baby with me. I will never forget her! This was a completely unselfish gift that you gave to us all and I am so, so sorry that she is not with us all today. My thoughts are with you.

  • Jessica Spears

    God bless this family. The pictures are beautiful. I wish you both tremendous healing, and thank you for sharing.

  • mary schmechtig

    God bless the parents, the photographer and the sweet little girl who is now at peace surrounded by angels and love.

  • Giuliana P.

    She is an angel, she is in the most beautiful place named heaven. May God be with the parents in this time of sorrow.

  • Bryana

    My heart goes out to that family and I’m truly sorry for their loss. That little girl is beautiful and I’m sure would’ve been a great woman had she lived. :) Hey , who knows…maybe that family has a little guardian angel protecting her mommy and daddy now. ;)

  • Sherri Panda Surita

    Beautiful i wish i had the opportunity to do what they did and with the help you of did when i had to carry my son Patrick to term knowing that he would not survive 5 mins due to a blocked bladder he had in utirall he lived 14hrs i still grieve for him today .it will be 22 rs ago august 28th that he has passed .you are a wonderful person to give the family’s a special and loving memory god bless everyone touched by what you do .

  • Scott Hyland

    May God place His hands upon this family and give them strength and comfort in this very difficult time. Having endured the loss of an infant son through SIDS, the effect of outliving your children is lifelong. I’m convinced our children take a part of our souls with them when they depart. We are never the same again.

  • Valerie Farivari

    I wish that there were words to say to take away your pain, but, there aren’t. My son was to be induced the following morning. That evening I didn’t feel him move,so, I went to the hospital to hear his heartbeat, so, that I could sleep. When I saw the face on the nurse, I told her that I had made a mistake and would be back tomorrow. They wouldn’t let me leave. After 36 hours of labor, Tommy was born. I held out for a miracle that I would hear him cry….he didn’t. Why couldn’t I have a miracle? What a great testament that would have been! My heart still aches for him. He had a cord death also. It will get better in that you won’t cry 24 hrs a day, but, you’ll think of your baby every moment of every day until you meet again. Try the international support group “Compassionate Friends.” They were the only group in which I attended that I would ever recommend and I’ve been to them all. God bless you and your family.

  • Nancee Johnson

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I am an RN whose specialty was High Risk Labor and Delivery. Although I do something else now, I cherish all of my memories in that field. Losses such as this are beyond devastating for the Parents, but…please know, the Staff mourns along with you. I will pray for you in this painful time and God Bless You for sharing your Beautiful Daughter with us.

  • Linda

    God bless Emily, Richard and their precious, beautiful daughter, Monroe. I send prayers, hope and faith from me and I know that our loving Lord is watching over her and loving her with perfect love. Just as he loves the five precious babies, from our family, who went straight to heaven also. One day, we, who have gone through this, will have the amazing meeting with our babies and be able love them totally! God bless all who go through this, and receive our Lord’s uconditional love.

  • Linda

    Please excuse my spelling errors above. God be with you. It’s wonderful what you do, using your photography skills to help others. I’ve thought of doing that myself…but, I’m still an amateur photographer. Maybe after I learn more and am more skilled. In God’s Love and service, Linda

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