The moment when a baby comes into the world is always special, but for one family in Boulder, Colorado, it was particularly poignant: new father Cagney Wenk, 26, was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma — an aggressive form of cancer in his brain — just three weeks before his fianceé, Jessica Li, was due to give birth to their baby boy.
When the big day arrived on September 18, Wenk was in the ICU, still recovering from one of three brain surgeries he has had since his diagnosis. But the Boulder Community Foothills Hospital staff made extensive plans to enable Wenk to attend the birth of his son, wheeling him into the delivery room along with his nurse and all his medical equipment from the ICU.
Prior to the birth, the organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which usually coordinates photographers who are willing to donate their services with families whose babies are born still or only live a short while, put out a request to its Denver-area community and asked if anyone would be willing to take pictures for Wenk and Li. Sarah Boccolucci, a local photographer, videographer, and doula, was the first to respond.
"I was honored to provide them this service and offered birth photographer instead of just pictures after the baby was born," Boccolucci told TODAY Parents. She attended the birth as a photographer and produced a video of the birth for the family.
Baby Levon Robbie Wenk was born at 2:12 AM, and his father was even able to cut the cord, thanks to the thoughtful planning of the Boulder Community Foothills Hospital staff. "The atmosphere in the room was serene and joyful. The hospital staff and their family were amazing and the room was filled with love and support," said Boccolucci.
Boccolucci is a mother to four young children herself. "For me, it was a reminder that every day we have here is a gift and to try and make the most of it," she said.
A GiveForward campaign has been set up for the family while Li recovers from the birth and Wenk continues with his treatment.