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Laura Ritchie and her baby girl Lucy

laura-ritchie-baby

A few weeks ago I was commissioned by the Sunday Mail newspaper to take photographs of a young mum called Laura Ritchie and her baby girl Lucy at their home in Glasgow. When I got to her house it was in the evening and the sun was shining. The light was perfect  for a portrait so I decided to start in her garden. As it was late in the evening the sun was low and was giving a nice warm glow to everything. The garden was out of direct sunlight but the light was bouncing of the side of the house illuminating Laura and her baby beautifully.

I was really pleased with how the pictures turned out.

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I even got the pet dog in for a few.

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Here is Laura’s story taken from the Sunday Mail newspaper.

 

“ AS Laura Ritchie cradles her little baby girl in her arms she can’t help but beam with happiness.

Lucy was the baby she thought she would never have after she was on dialysis for a year-and-a-half desperately waiting for a transplant.

The new mum gave birth on June 5 to a healthy baby weighing 7lb 10oz.

It was a day she never thought would happen as, aged 21, she was struck down by Vasculitis, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the blood vessels in any part of the body. In Laura’s case it was her kidneys and the condition meant they no longer worked.

Laura, now 28, from Lenzie, who works as a commercial finance analyst at Tennents, was put on the waiting list for a year.

On May 18, 2007 her life changed when a family friend donated his kidney, enabling Laura to get her life back and achieve her dream of becoming a mum.

She said: “The transplant completely changed my life. I was delighted when I found out I was pregnant.

“I was induced early as I was high risk. The aim was to get me to 36 weeks but I was able to make it to 38-and-a-half weeks. I had no problems at all during the pregnancy. I was relieved it all went smoothly.

“My husband and I are over the moon with our new baby. He was there for the birth. We kept the sex a surprise and I was so happy when the doctors told me it was a little girl.

“When I was pregnant, lots of people kept telling me they thought it was a boy as I was carrying at the front.

“It was an old wives’ tale. I really wasn’t bothered if it was a boy or a girl– as long as he or she was healthy.

“It felt so surreal leaving the hospital with my baby. Lucy is our little miracle.”

Before having the transplant, Laura was on dialysis for a year-and-a-half.

She said: “It was really hard going. I had to spend three days at a time for five-hour periods. It makes you feel really weak and makes you appreciate your health.

“It was such a freak thing that happened to me – Vasculitis can attack the organs but it decided to go for my kidneys. It happens to a really small margin of people.

“I had sore joints and a rash and I lost lots of weight. I put it down to the stress of being away from home as I was living in Madrid at the time.

“I came home for my 21st and I wasn’t feeling well. I started coughing up blood and went to hospital.

“My parents were told I might not see the next day.

“The doctor said to me ‘Your kidneys have packed in. You are on dialysis’.

“I tried to carry on life as best I could and, luckily for me, a transplant was found.

“After the transplant, my life was transformed. I was able to finish my degree at Strathclyde University, where I achieved a first class honours. I had been studying in Madrid on exchange as part of my course in international business with modern languages when I became ill. Five weeks after having the transplant, I graduated.”

Previously, the couple had been to discuss fertility with Laura’s doctor. She had her drugs changed, as some of them could be dangerous to a foetus, and she was monitored constantly.

She added: “We saw a specialist at the royal infirmary in May last year who spoke to us about the
risks involved.

“My kidney had been performing really well and we thought it was worth a try. Life’s
a risk.”

The former student was delighted when, in September last year, she found out she was pregnant – five
years after having the transplant.

“The family friend who gave me his kidney has given me two amazing gifts.

“He held the baby after she was born. It was an emotional moment. You could see he was emotional. He doesn’t normally show it. I am also best friends with his daughter, so we keep in touch.

“If it wasn’t for him I could still be on the list today and on dialysis. With dialysis you are not going to improve – you are only going to get worse.

“Changing the drugs and leaving things up to nature worked.

“The care I received was fantastic.

“I was monitored constantly and everyone was so helpful.”

The new mum, who married her childhood sweetheart Callum in August 2010, is really loving her
new role.

She said: “Motherhood is the best job ever. When Lucy won’t settle and you get a wee smile it makes your day. I have always wanted a child as I come from a very family- orientated background.

“When we got engaged, I told Callum I might not be able to have children. But he said ‘I’m asking you to marry me’. We both decided we would cross that bridge when we came to it.

“Now when I hold my little girl it’s just amazing. It was all so surreal.

“My husband is loving the pink explosion in the house.

“We have been together for 11 years – we met at school. He has been here through everything.

“My friends and family have also been amazing – I have a great support network around me. I don’t know what I would do without them.

“At first my parents were a bit worried about the risks involved but when they saw Lucy they were so happy. They wouldn’t change anything for the world. She is the first grandchild on both sides so everyone was very excited to meet her.

“My mum has been coming over to help with Lucy and the washing.

“She’s been great.”

The transplant has made Laura appreciate just how important being a donor is as it really helped her to achieve her goals, professionally and personally.

She added: “It’s absolutely essential. There are so many people waiting on the list. My story is testament to how it can change your life.

“Without that transplant I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything.

“This person has allowed me to achieve my dream of becoming a mother. I am so grateful.

“Lucy means the world to me.”

During her treatment, Laura learnt just how vital the work is done by one charity in particular.

Darlinda’s Charity for Renal Research, set up by Rita Madhok – better known as Sunday Mail astrologer Darlinda – over 25 years ago, is the largest benefactor to Glasgow’s Western Infirmary renal unit and has provided funding and support to patients since being set up in 1987.

Last year marked the charity’s 25th anniversary and, to date, they’ve raised over one million pounds.

Darlinda’s charity is one of the 17 good causes that make up the Sunday Mail Centenary Fund.”

Here is how it appeared in the paper.

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It is a very inspiring story and mum and daughter were a pleasure to work with.

– See more at: http://markandersonphotography.co.uk/blog/family-portrait-baby/#sthash.TMGRFMSo.dpuf

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