Stephenville resident Brandie Lewis was trying to book a maternity shoot with local photographer Sara Battenfield, when she received an unexpected gift.
Lewis, a customer service representative at Saint-Gobain Abrasives, is pregnant with twins – a boy and a girl. The boy has pulmonary atresia, a form of heart disease in which the pulmonary valve does not form properly.
At her most recent doctor’s appointment, Lewis received some good news; there is some oxygen flow to her son’s lungs. She said doctors predict he will make it to his 30s or 40s before needing a heart transplant.
“I spoke with a surgeon and he said they are going to take him via C-section immediately to Cook Children’s Hospital and do an ultrasound on his heart to figure out what we’re going to do,” she said. “As of right now, we don’t know what surgeries he’s going to need or what’s happening. They said we’re going to have to play it by ear.”
Lewis will be hospitalized on Feb. 11 when she is about 34 weeks pregnant so she can be monitored.
"They say if I have him before his lungs are fully developed, that we’ll have two really bad problems. If you have underdeveloped lungs it’s not so bad, but when you have a heart defect it makes it really bad,” she said.
Thanks to the Humble Lens Project that was started in 2018 by Sara Battenfield, owner of Southern Grace Photography, Battenfield was able to offer Lewis a free maternity photo shoot on Sunday.
"We opened [the photo shoots] to families who are having some sort of a financial difficulty, especially for those who had medical reasons,” Battenfield said. “The reason behind it was, we’ve had a lot of medical struggles with our kids. I'm so passionate about pictures and having these memories. I hate to think how many people have to cut that out because of the difficulties they’re having, so it’s very close to my heart.”
Lewis reached out to Battenfield after she saw an offer on a maternity photo shoot that Battenfield had posted on her photography page.
“She mentioned she was expecting twins and one of them had a medical condition so she was really interested in getting a session, but she couldn't afford much,” Battenfield said. “She gave me a backstory of what she was going through. I told her, ‘Hey listen, I do this thing called the Humble Lens Project. I’d love for you to take part.’”
Lewis said she is grateful to Battenfield for letting her feel beautiful for a day.
“With everything bad going on, I haven’t really been able to focus on anything good,” she said. “With this pregnancy, it’s just been one big scare after another, so it was really awesome and nice of her to do that.”
“She came in on Sunday and we got her hair and makeup person, so we got to spoil her a little bit,” Battenfield said.
Battenfield hopes to give out more free photo shoots as part of the Humble Lens Project. She said if there is a need and if someone knows who might qualify for the project, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lewis will be induced on Feb. 29 at 37 weeks. Her daughter will be named Willow and her son will be named Jaxon.
“I want to give her [Battenfield] so much credit,” Lewis added. “She was absolutely amazing and she made me feel really comfortable. I think she’s a really amazing person in everything she does, especially pro bono.”