Sadie Turns One!!!


After moving to Lincoln, Illinois, one of the first families I met were the Hoinacki's! Ethan & Nicole are SO welcoming! We were instant friends that felt like family. They asked me to photograph their daughter as she was turning one. This isn't anything out of the ordinary. I photograph first year milestones all the time. But it was at this session that I learned that at only one year old... this girl had an AMAZING story! 

The Hoinacki's had their first child, a sweet little girl named Sadie on August 4, 2015. But things did not go as planned! After having an emergency C-section, making Sadie 4 weeks premature, they watched helplessly as their precious bundle of joy was rushed off to Chicago in an ambulance. They wouldn't be bringing their perfect, precious baby girl home tonight. They wouldn't be practicing their swaddling skills while laying her in her brand new bassinet they hand-picked specially for this moment. The diapers, the clothes, the bottles, the crib, the blankets... none of that would be used. Because see... Sadie was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in her liver. It's a type of vascular malformation that results in an abnormal mass of blood vessels, disrupting normal blood flow and oxygen circulation. This matters because it was 1) stealing blood flow from other organs and 2) rapidly circulation blood in the body, leading to heart failure. This moment that was supposed to be so dear quickly took a turn for the worse.

After meeting with a surgeon in Chicago, their Doctor told them, that AVM's are treated one of two ways. First, a minimally noninvasive embolization procedure performed by an interventional radiologist, and the other is through surgical removal of the mass.

Sadie was closely monitored and surgery was finally scheduled for when she was 6 months old. A few days before surgery, Ethan and Nicole were in the waiting room while Sadie was undergoing her pre-surgery CT scan. After waiting what seemed like an eternity with their hearts heavy and their stomachs aching, the doctor arrived, eager to share some good news!

He said that the best thing had happened! Sadie's mass was shrinking on its own and they would no longer need to perform surgery! The mass had originally occupied 33% of her liver and had shrunk to just 5%! The doctor proceeded to tell Ethan and Nicole, that instead of an AVM, Sadie had a rapidly involuting congenital hemagnioma. Which is a vascular malformation that have many similarities to AVM's but usually resolve without surgery! Obviously the Hoinacki's were overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions but the one that stood out the most... Shock. They sat in his office for 15 minutes before going back to their room where they sat for another hour or so just processing this news. After that sense of relief washed over them. This nightmare was OVER!

Sadie's case is extremely rare! In fact, only a handful of similar cases have been documented worldwide. Sadie is now a healthy one year old who is curious, adventurous, and into everything! It was truly an honor to photograph sweet Sadie Lyn for her momentous first birthday!