Even though he lived for 11 short days, little William Brentlinger was considered a miracle. Doctors believed the baby boy, a twin, would be stillborn after discovering heart abnormalities. But when Lyndsay and Matthew Brentlinger welcomed their two children to the world on December 17, both looked wide-eyed and beautiful.
While his sister Reagan developed typically, one side of William’s heart didn’t work properly. The condition meant he would go home in hospice care, but the Brentlingers could still spend some precious time together as a family of four. “They were the happiest 11 days of my life,” Matthew told 13abc.
As a heartfelt Christmas gift, family friend Mandy Edward reached out to photographer Lindsey Brown for a last-minute session. “Being only a few days before Christmas and not being previously booked well in advance, she was hoping due to the circumstances, I’d make an exception,” Brown told CNN. Luckily, she found space in her busy schedule for a special shoot.
It was almost harder, Brown says, that William appeared so healthy. “I could not believe how perfect they both looked,” she told Good Housekeeping. “William was extremely alert, as if he was trying to take it all in, while little Reagan slept and barely opened her eyes. It was extremely bittersweet the entire time I was there.”
While it was a tough assignment, the photos ended up meaning the world. “I cried the first time I looked at them. I still cry sometimes,” Lyndsay told 13abc. “They are beautiful and he is beautiful. In some of them, you can see he is wide awake with his big beautiful eyes. It’s something we will definitely cherish.”
Rest in peace, little William.