Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Baby Factory - A Repost

I'm borrowing this post from Chuvaness.com as I want to help this hospital too. As a new mom (having given birth just 7 months ago), I find these photos really moving and gut-wrenching. If this doesn't move you, I don't know what will. Hopefully we can help in our own ways. If you live near the area, please drop by and pay them a visit.

For other ways to help, visit this site.

About the photos

I've always loved photographing children. It's such a joy to be able to capture them whether they're in their most innocent or most mischievous moments. But this experience was different, and definitely one I would never forget.

Last Tuesday, Jorem and I went to the Dr. Jose Fabella Hospital with Rea Gomez-Harrow to shoot some pictures to post on the Moms for Moms site. It was probably the hardest shoot I've ever been through in all my years of being a photographer.

"Are you ready?" She asked, as we walked across the entrance of the ER right after a woman was brought out of the ambulance in a stretcher, her legs stained with blood, ready to give birth. There were pregnant women everywhere - in the hallways, sitting on the steps, walking around just waiting for their turn. I knew I had to brace myself for this.

The scent was familiar. It's only been 6 months since I got out of the hospital after giving birth to our first baby. Had I been there a couple of years ago, it would have been different. But as we walk into what was 4 rooms full of maybe a hundred of bassinets or more, I felt my knees weaken and my heart crumble. I look through the viewfinder and get ready to shoot, but all I see is a blur as tears start to well up. My heart was pounding to the rhythm of infants crying in chorus. I turn my head, three babies are sharing one bassinet while the other had two. One baby's face is already pushed against the other's knee. Can he still breathe? I look the other way and one baby's arm is as thin as my finger. There are tubes and needles, bottles of fluids running through their tiny bodies. Due to the lack of linens, three newly delivered babies share what looked like an old hand towel to keep them warm. Each was labeled with a medicine box cutout attached to their wrists with a string like a piece of evidence. It was hard to believe all of it was real. I knew there were going to be a lot of babies, but not like this. It was beyond what I expected. To say it was heartbreaking would be an understatement.

I've never seen so many babies all in one place at the same time, and seeing them in this condition just didn't feel right. But this is how it's always been in Fabella. Everyday, mothers flock to this place to give birth because it's the only place they can go to. Due to the sheer volume of women giving birth each day, some have to go home a few hours after delivery while others who can't share a tandem bed with 2-3 others to be able to rest. According to a social worker we talked to, some of them don't even want to leave. To them, it's a roof over their heads, a soft bed and regular meals. For their children, it's a far better environment to survive in for their first few days of life.

It's a sad reality to face, but it's real nonetheless. So if these images move you to help, please do with what you can, in any way you can. Feel free to repost, link or contact us about it. Help us help Fabella.

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