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Sometimes an unforgettable memory is worthy of the heartbreak that comes along, and it's just the case for the grieving couple Lyndsay and Matthew Brentlinger. They captured the only moment their newborn twins could experience together before one tragically passed away.
The Ohio-based couple was ecstatic when they finally got pregnant in early 2016, after struggling for several years to conceive. And they were even happier when discovering they were having twin boy and girl, however, the joy didn't last long.
At 23 weeks, Ms. Brentlinger had an ultrasound and was told that one of her twins would be stillborn. "They said we just see something abnormal with the heart and sent me to maternal fetal medicine," she explained. It's really heart-wrenching for the new parents.
On December 17, 2016, they got an early Christmas present in the form of a newborn girl and boy - both alive, which was a miracle alone.
Named William and Reagan, the fraternal twins looked perfect to the naked eye, wrapped in colorful blankets while being cuddled by their parents.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the miracle the parents had hoped for.
William was not expected to live. "He just had a bunch of abnormalities," Lyndsay said. "The left side of his heart was not functioning."
But he fought hard and the family of four got to spend 11 days together. "They were the happiest 11 days of my life," Mr. Brentlinger said.
In an act to capture the family's final moments with William, one of the couple's friends reached out to local photographer, Lindsey Brown, who squeezed in a last minute session for the family despite being booked for the holiday season.
"Pictures are just memories," Brown said. "I know how much people cherish them, so I was really glad I was able to do that for them."
Brown photographed the family before Christmas 2016, while the newborns were both still alive.
Brown said that "William was extremely alert, as if he was trying to take it all in, while little Reagan slept and barely opened her eyes".
They even documented tiny details, like William's minuscule toes.
The results were stunning photos of the family with Reagan and William. "I cried the first time I looked at them. I still cry sometimes," Lyndsay said.
"They are beautiful and he is beautiful. In some of them, you can see he is wide awake with his big beautiful eyes. It's something we will definitely cherish."