Photoshoot Winners - Jessica and Bodhi

Couldn't think of anyone more deserving

My oldest sister is a respiratory therapist who sometimes works in the NICU. She nominated a young, single mother she knew from the hospital, because she felt that she deserved a treat. I couldn't have agreed more. When Kim told me the story of Jessica and her beautiful son Bodhi, I knew I wouldn't have picked anyone else as the winner for my little competition.

I will eventually let you hear Jessica's story right from her, as it has been a long and difficult journey for her and her son, but as a father, I cannot imagine the struggle she has been through, watching her son bounce from one medical challenge to the next. Her son is now 14-months old and the only home they have ever known, as a family together, is the hospital. It breaks my heart to see children who struggle and are in pain, but Bodhi is an absolute trooper. He is a very happy and content little man who has been through more medical issues than most of us will experience in our lifetimes.

Luckily for him, he has a mother who stands strong by his side and fills his days with love, laughs, cuddles and hope that they will slowly but surely move onto the next step in their life together. It was my absolute pleasure to take some photos of this loving mother and her son and I hope Jessica likes a few of the pictures I took.

Below is Jessica and Bodhi's story:

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"My son Bodhi was born at 25 weeks gestation weighing 700grams (approximately the weight of two cans of soup). For people who like lbs, he was 1.54 pounds. I had lost his twin a month prior and was on hospitalized bedrest for a month before he was born. 

He was born by C-section at 10:15pm as he was in distress and breach. I was unable to see him until 4am. He was so tiny and small, his eyes were still fused together and he was intubated with wires coming out of what seemed like everywhere. I was unable to hold him for the first week of his life. 

Slowly but surely the wall of pumps disappeared and so did the wires and eventually the intubation tube. Bodhi had his first bath, first outfit, first Halloween and first cuddle. We spent from June to November at the NICU in the Royal Alexandra Hospital then were transferred to the NICU At the University Hospital. We spent our first Christmas together there. Then he got sick and had to be re-intubated which led to him getting a tracheostomy. He also had a g-tube put in for feeding as he is slow to swallow. 

He outgrew the NICU in January so we were transferred to the PICU at the University Hospital. We had our first Valentines Day, Easter and Bodhi celebrated his 1st Birthday, got his first tooth, learned to sit and I finally got to hear his voice again. We finally got off of the ICU vent and onto the vent we were going to be on at home. This finally made home a possibility! We were transferred in August from PICU to the floors (last step before home) and we are slowly working our way home which will hopefully be sooner than later. 

Our journey wasn't easy and continues to be challenging on a daily basis. Bodhi will leave the hospital with a Tracheostomy, G-Tube, Pulmonary Hypertension secondary to Chronic Lung Disease and a Brain Injury resulting from the bleed but most of all he will leave the hospital having been and continues to be loved and supported by myself, the nurses and doctors, the Respiratory Therapists and many others. 

Bodhi has an amazing soul that seems to brighten everyone's day. He is stubborn and strong but also very patient, sweet and kind. I look forward to our next adventure at home. 

I would also like to say thank-you for picking us for these pictures. It means so much to me as I haven't had the chance to do anything like this since he was born." 

I cannot imagine the daily struggle Jessica deals with and I remember the day I went to go see her I was feeling a little down about a few things until I realized that my problems I was having that week had very little meaning. Thank you for reminding me of that.

Please support the wonderful Stollery Hospital that allows children like Bodhi to have a chance at life. The work they do their is invaluable and we are so lucky to have such a wonderful facility in this city.

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Kent Tilley2 Comments