A Photography Experience That Taught Me About Faith, Family and Parenthood

By Mary M.,

  Filed under: Families, Featured Sessions, Uncategorized
  Comments: 27

Cassie and Vince Glondo are a devoutly Catholic family with deep roots in Cle Elum. When I first met them, they had three children: Gracie, Dominic, and Gianna. Cassie was also expecting a fourth baby, due November 9, 2017, but as her pregnancy progressed it became clear that the baby would be arriving well before her due date. On July 14th of that year, Cassie was hospitalized at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, and then was quickly transferred to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Their baby was only 23 weeks gestation. For the next two weeks, Vince traveled back and forth from Cle Elum so that he could be with Cassie as much as possible while continuing to raise their other children. University of Washington Medical Centernewborn baby in NICU

Few can imagine what a harrowing experience this was for their family but that didn’t stop their community from rallying around them during their time of need.

“When we had nothing left, our faith and community got us through. It carried us through that time in our lives. People literally were selfless – strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family. It was shocking to find out how many people we had on our side. Our community raised funds that allowed either myself or Vince to stay with Angelo throughout his time in the NICU. We gained a sense of community beyond what we imagined, and the difference it made in Angelo to have us there each day will be seen in him the rest of his life..”

University of Washington Medical Center Premature Baby Birth Photography Cle Elum University of Washington Medical Center Premature Baby Birth Photography Cle ElumUniversity of Washington Medical Center Premature Baby Birth Photography Cle Elum

They held onto their family and their faith to comfort them throughout the many decisions that they faced in the following weeks and months. Angelo was born August 1, 2017, at 25 weeks 5 days gestation, weighing 1 lbs 13 ozs, and 12 ¾ inches long.

 

According to Cassie, “Initially we had a lot of concern that his chance of a normal life was really low. The neonatologist gave us the option of just holding him until his last breath, rather than fighting for him. With our faith on my side, we were his advocate at all times. The scientific data was not comforting but we knew that the Lord had a plan for our son. During this time UW Medical NICU in Seattle literally helped carry the load. The providers there loved and cared for him when we couldn’t be there. They supported us when we were scared, and celebrated the victories. The nurses told us that interactive and involved parents create happier and healthier babies, and we see that in Angelo every day. 

University of Washington Medical Center Premature Baby Birth Photography Cle Elum

University of Washington Medical Center Premature Baby Birth Photography Cle Elum

After 118 days in the NICU, we were able to take Angelo back to our home in Cle Elum on November 27, 2018. Since then, his growth has been incredible. When he was born he had a feeding tube, ventilator, intravenous medications, blood transfusions, ultrasounds, xrays, eye exams – and the list goes on. We had to pay special attention to all aspects of his development and maintain vigilance about signs of brain bleeds, cerebral palsy, etc.

University of Washington Medical Center Premature Baby Birth Photography Cle Elum University of Washington Medical Center Premature Baby Birth Photography Cle Elum

Today he is nursing, eating solid food, babbling, sitting up, and attempting to crawl. In the coming year, he doesn’t need any special medical attention beyond normal checkups. He doesn’t look like the typical 25 weeker and I know that our faith and love is what made the difference.

Milestone Session Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Milestone Session Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Milestone Session Cle Elum Portrait Photographer

This experience has shown me what is truly important in this world. When faced with a situation where the what-ifs were paralyzing and we were broken – what we took from our life and carried with us was very selective. Faith, family, and friends.”

Cle Elum Portrait Photographer

I believe there are times in your life when a situation presents itself to you with the power to change your life. You have two choices at that moment, to stay still as it passes by you or to move forward and embrace the moment. Such a moment presented itself to me when I heard of Cassie and Vince. Preserving memories is my passion, and without a doubt, I knew this particular story needed to be documented. Cassie is a photographer, but there was no way that she could photograph this story at that time in her life. Documenting this story taught me more about the power of faith and the sanctity of human life than I anticipated, and has reinforced my calling as a photographer.

Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Milestone Session Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Milestone Session

What Cassie and Vince would want people to know about having a baby at 25 weeks:
We’d like people to be more aware of the incredible isolation of having a severely premature baby.  It was so hard to explain what we were going through, and I think that is true for most parents of micro-preemies.  Thankfully, with enough faith and support, miracles do happen.  We are blown away every single day that we see Angelo continue to grow and thrive.  

Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Birth Photography Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Birth Photography Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Birth Photography Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Birth Photography Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Birth Photography Newborn Photographer in Cle Elum Birth Photography Cle Elum Portrait Photographer Birth Photography Photographer in Cle Elum documents milestone session Photographer in Cle Elum documents milestone session Newborn Photographer in Cle Elum Newborn Photographer in Cle Elum

Thank you Cassie and Vince for trusting me to document your story, for letting me in and showing me the power of faith, family, and parenthood. 

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  Comments: 27


  1. I am truly blown away by this beautiful story. Faith in God brings miracles. Such a great family and a handsome little man. Thank you for sharing this story

  2. Angelina Nicholson


    Such a beautiful story! You Mary, were part of the friend group that stuck around when they needed it most! The pictures are unbelievable and tell such an amazing tale! Love you all!


    • Thank you so much, Angelina! It was my honor to help tell their story, and my pleasure to do what I could to try to make this time a little easier for them. I know you went above and beyond, and am in awe of what you accomplished.


  3. What a beautiful story about a wonderful family and their strong faith….what a cutie they have! Happy Birthday Little Man.


    • Thank you! Their faith was what gave them the strength to face the obstacles and help their miracle boy survive and thrive. It was amazing to witness.


  4. Such a compelling story. The photos are gorgeous! What a munchkin that newborn is!


  5. WOW! What a moving story – from hear wrenching to joy-filled! What absolute beauty to see that strength of faith and see God come through. Thank you for sharing this!


    • Thank you! His life is a testament to the power of faith (and his innate strength)! I can’t wait to see who he becomes.


  6. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.


  7. Tearfully reading your post. These parents can never be more grateful for the images that you have captured. What a miracle. What faith and perseverance. Thanks for sharing!


    • Thank you, Andrea. Their faith and perseverance has been so admirable, and Angelo is a testament to that. I am blessed to have been able to capture these images for them.


  8. This is so beautiful and moving, an amazing story captured in incredible images. I love every one of them!


  9. Well this is such a heartwarming story I can’t help but grab the tissues!!!


  10. What an absolutely beautiful story, and gorgeous photos to go alongside it. Such an inspiring family and little boy.


  11. Such an amazing story!


  12. What a beautiful story. I was starting to tear up just reading the words and seeing the pictures. Simply beautiful.


  13. So precious!


  14. Beautiful captures there, composition is great.


  15. What an incredible and inspiring story! These great parents have some beautiful images documenting a difficult time and a great triumph. Great job!


  16. Am crying as I type this. What a strong display of Faith and Spirituality. Faith in God brings miracles. Such a great family and a handsome little man. Thank you for sharing this story

  17. Gonzalo Verdeja


    Beautiful story, photos are gorgeous (I´m in tears right now)


  18. Amazing story and miracle and captures. Such a beautiful collection of memories in photographs for his blessed family.

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