blonde bob, a big hairbow & a new heart

when i was growing up, i remember my dad making the statement
“some days are diamonds”…
a few weeks ago
despite a forecast for a rainstorms
& huge dark billowing clouds
i had a diamond day.
i raced with the devil to get to the park i had chosen to photograph
sweet baby girl hutton. 
i prayed, frantically, that the rain would hold off.
her mama, my sweet friend jill
& i had talked about this day for a while.
they would be here in atlanta (down from tennessee) for about 24 hours. 
 hutton would see the 
specialists at our children’s hospital who follow her care after her heart transplant last july.
i would have the honor & privilege of photographing this beautiful sassy miracle baby.
when little miss spunky hopped out of the car, in brother’s cowboy boots
with a thick bouncing & behaving blonde bob
& colossal hairbow
she took my breath away.
it wasn’t until a few days later i realized
i had only seen her when she was here at the hospital….
and sick.
i have facebooked & tweeted & blogged asking for prayer for this baby girl
who was seriously ill for some time.
let me share her daddy’s words~~

“Jill and I went faithfully every two weeks to the OBGYN office to follow up with ultrasounds to see if anything had miraculously changed. The doctors very lovingly would say they are sorry that the baby had not died yet, but it would only be a matter of days and when Jill no longer felt the baby moving, to come in and have her delivered….still born. We spent time looking at burial plots, discussing funeral scenarios and ultimately we buried Hutton three or four times, emotionally knowing that the inevitable was that we were not going to enjoy the cries of this precious baby or the smiles of our other kids as they love on their little sister. These were dismal times in our family.

The strangest thing happened, however. Every two weeks we kept feeling Hutton kicking and punching on Jill’s stomach and even though we couldn’t nor could the doctor’s explain it, Hutton was still with us. We maintained hope and continued with so many others to pray for a miracle.

Medically speaking, Hutton was not supposed to have a birthday, but on September 11, 2007 we were blessed, while wiping back the river of tears, to witness the birth of our precious number 5 at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Literally moments later, Hutton was rushed to the adjacent room to have emergency surgery to install a pacemaker, the first step in trying to keep Hutton alive. A month later, Hutton had her second heart surgery, the installation of a shunt to try and get enough blood flowing to her lungs to sustain life. After making it into the world, through her two initial heart surgeries and all the many other side issues that threatened her life, we were told that her liver was going to quit because she had something called biliary atresia-something that noone recovers from.

The prayer warriors of the world united during not only the biliary atresia phase but through every single step of the way for Hutton and the fact of the matter is that prayer changes everything. Her liver is now completely normal, she has gained the weight to be equal to that of a normal four month old and she has even made it home to Knoxville to sleep in her Bunny Bed with her four other siblings standing close guard near by.

On June 28, 2010 we journeyed to Philadelphia to undergo, hopefully, the final surgery on Hutton’s heart, her Stage 3 which was supposed to make her heart as “normal” as possible by increasing her blood oxygen level and restoring her “blue color” to pink. Unfortunately, at the time, this did not take place due to the pressures in her lungs and heart not being in harmony for a successful surgery.
Through the past year we have made several attempts to undergo a Stage 3 for Hutton but physiologically it just would not work.  After much prayer and deliberation we agreed to put Hutton on the heart transplant program at CHOP at living at home in Tennessee we have anxiously, excitedly and patiently waited until July 7, 2011, (7.7.11 which is God’s perfect numbers) when we got THE CALL of a new heart for Hutton.

Hutton’s transplant surgery went exceptionally well and her new heart is working well, however she is struggling through some physiological changes which are very normal and expected in the heart transplant process.  These are certainly uncharted waters for Hutton and for our family and we grit our teeth as we learn each day how to trust in The Great Physician for strength and direction as we walk through the chapter in Hutton’s life story.”

despite me being all knotted up that the sky would dump ginormous raindrops on the three of us,
hutton was just her delightful happy healthy sassy self.
 i thoroughly enjoyed following her and abiding to her agenda for a little while.
it was a diamond day for sure.
an answer to prayer…to many prayers
time with a precious friend
and a celebration of her baby girl, hutton
( & matilda jane and hunter boots, ya’ll should hire this little model!)
it took me a little longer to work on her pictures for her patient mama.
i wanted each one to be perfect for her.
yesterday as i was working on them & a beautiful song came on pandora.
i couldn’t help it…tears just wouldn’t stop.
while i can’t even begin to imagine the all the emotions & fears jill and david
have dealt with the last 5 years,
the joy of seeing her sweet healthy smile overwhelmed me.
i love this precious little one & rejoice with her family.
i will look forward to photographing her engagement one of these days….
(ok jill? surely i get dibs on that one!)

 if you’d like to follow hutton’s story
written often times by her sweet daddy david
& “meet” the rest of the johnson, party of seven
(ps- i keep hearing from readers that they are unable to comment.
i’ve checked my settings & there’s basically no restrictions.
even anonymous can post!…so sorry!)
psalm 139. 13&14

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made
May 18, 2012 - 12:00 pm

slip4 - What a beautiful little miracle girl! I'd say you did the story justice, Paige. You really reflected her personality in your photos. 🙂

May 18, 2012 - 12:42 pm

Jen Kershner - What an amazing story, parents and little girl. The pictures are beautiful but you had such a gorgeous model that you couldn't go wrong! What a blessing in boots she is.

May 18, 2012 - 12:56 pm

CarolineCalcote - Beautiful photos of a beautiful girl! Jill, I had no idea you went through all that with your youngest. You are one strong mama.

May 18, 2012 - 1:06 pm

Missy Langley - I was just telling Jill last night that I couldn't believe how big Hutton looked in these pictures! What a difference a year makes!!!! Your pictures are beautiful.

May 18, 2012 - 1:15 pm

Jeannine - Beautifully done, ma'am. And thank you for sharing this extraordinary story. Hutton is a precious little girl. God bless her and her whole family.

May 18, 2012 - 1:21 pm

Kerri - Beautiful photos! I do remember you telling us about this sweet little girl! And I love your dad's quote!

May 18, 2012 - 1:51 pm

Privet and Holly - What a lovely
and special
you have forged
with this family,
Paige. The bob
and bow remind
me so much of
my own little
miss at that age.
Just wish I had
similar, gorgeous
pics somewhere
other than my

Happy Friday,
xo Suzanne

May 18, 2012 - 3:21 pm

AndeM1 - Well, you can't get any cuter than her…..that big bow and those adorable hunter boots. to precious. What a blessing she is….

May 18, 2012 - 3:36 pm

Anonymous - The picture of Hutton with the sitting with the sucker in her purple boots is the SWEETEST I have seen in a long time. I love your pictures you are a talented lady lucky to work with such wonderful subjects. Sincerely, Patti H. Livonia, MI

May 18, 2012 - 5:15 pm

Anonymous - God is good.

May 18, 2012 - 5:37 pm

christina - God had other plans… and that makes me so very happy!

May 18, 2012 - 6:41 pm

Roberta - Oh my…you have captured this sweet little girl so beautifully! And such a heartwarming story of a true Miracle Baby. “We ARE fearfully and wonderfully made”. My favorite is the sepia of her standing in the garden. This could have been taken a hundred years ago. Lovely!

May 18, 2012 - 6:41 pm

Emily - She is the cutest little thing! So happy she is doing better. The power of prayer! And your photography skills are amazing!

May 18, 2012 - 7:41 pm

RachelRAdams - Wow! What a precious miracle this little girl has experienced! Happy happy happy for this family!

May 18, 2012 - 7:47 pm

Michele - Love your pictures of beautiful Hutton!! What an amazing story and outcome for this precious little girl.

May 18, 2012 - 9:41 pm

Lori Skaggs - Just wondering what song you heard that day that brought the tears on out…

May 18, 2012 - 10:52 pm

Sharon - What an adorable little girl with a glorious big bow!

May 19, 2012 - 1:49 am

Debby - What a miracle and such a beautiful one. So wonderful. You got some adorable shots as usual.

May 19, 2012 - 12:10 pm

Just Ask Beth - Beautiful lil captured all that is precious in her..she looks like a feisty charmer!

on the comments..I notice that too, but only if I have linked on from FB! weird!

May 20, 2012 - 12:32 am

carl can - I like your blog,and also like the article,and thank you for provide me so much information :)) pregnancy doctor maricopa

May 20, 2012 - 1:37 am

Kathie Truitt - Simply beautiful.

September 23, 2012 - 10:43 pm

bookmarking service - SCB9fy I think this is a real great blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

January 29, 2013 - 8:44 am