A widower and his baby daughter recreated the maternity photos he took with his late wife
A widower and his daughter have recreated the maternity pictures he took with his late wife while she was pregnant with the toddler
James Alvarez’s wife Yesenia was struck by a car and killed last August when she was 35 weeks pregnant, but their daughter Adalyn was delivered healthy.
For Adalyn’s first birthday, James recreated maternity photos he and Yesenia had taken while she was pregnant with the tot.
“Adalyn’s birthday was coming up and unfortunately her birthday is the same day I lost my wife,” said the 37-year-old intake specialist from Los Angeles.
“I wanted to do something meaningful and special to celebrate her birthday and honour my wife.”
The photographer who took the couple’s maternity photos suggested re-enacting the shoot with Adalyn.
Dressed in a pink dress like her mother had worn, Adalyn and James posed in similar positions for the tot’s birthday shoot.
‘It reminded me of the day’
James said: “I had someone make a pink dress for my daughter to wear and we went to the same exact location, around the same time that we did the maternity shoot.
“We tried to re-enact it to make the pictures identical and it was truly amazing.”
James said he became emotional when he saw the photos side-by-side.
“It reminded me of the day we took those pictures and how beautiful my wife looked,” he added.
“Looking at Adalyn dressed up like her mom, it was very emotional and touching. It reminded me how proud and how happy my wife would be seeing how gorgeous she is.”
The photographer, Grisel Leyva, suggested that they do a recreation yearly in Yesenia’s honour.
“I love the idea. It’s going to be something memorable,” James said.
“My daughter will never know my wife like I did, but I hope I can one day show her all these beautiful moments and explain to her exactly how her mommy was and commemorate my wife.”
Last August 11, Yesenia, 23, was hit by an alleged drunk driver while out on her daily walk with James.
“Nothing was different that day except we took a different route,” James said. “We were preparing for the baby’s arrival and deciding on curtains.
“There was a store around the corner from where we lived, so we decided to go and walk the long way back home.
“I remember holding her hand and talking about curtains and then we heard screeching and screaming.
“We turned around and saw the car hop the sidewalk and head in our direction.
“All of a sudden, I didn’t feel her hand anymore.
“I remember the ambulance arriving and telling them ‘please try to save her and if you can’t, please try to save our daughter’.”
James wasn’t allowed in the ambulance due to Covid protocols. When he arrived at the hospital, he and his in-laws were told that Yesenia had died.
Adalyn, however, was successfully delivered via emergency c-section.
She was given CPR and placed on a ventilator due to lack of oxygen for about 20 minutes.
‘A miracle child’
“When they told me my daughter survived, I was in shock,” James said.
“I was like ‘you told me my wife passed away because of injuries, but my daughter’s alive?’ and they said yes.”
While doctors were afraid Adalyn’s lack of oxygen could have long lasting effects, James said she’s been healthy to this day.
“The doctor said she was going to be there for months, but the second day they took her off the ventilator because she was breathing on her own,” he said.
“I believe she’s a miracle child, everything she was facing though her birth, she overcame it.”
He said Adalyn has also helped him to go on after losing wife.
“The biggest lesson my daughter has taught me is to be a fighter too,” he said.
“She gave me the strength I needed to carry on.”
Now, James said he wants to tell his story to inspire others and to keep his wife’s memory alive.
“I share my story to help others overcome their battles,” he said. “I’m trying to be a great dad and make these memories for her and carry my wife’s legacy.
“I want people to know my wife was an amazing woman and she gave her life to save my daughter.
“I can’t thank her enough, because I have my daughter and she means the world to me and I don’t know what I would do losing both of them.”
He added: “Seeing the pictures and seeing Adalyn dressed up like my wife, it reminded me that I still have a piece of my wife with me and that’s my daughter.”
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