Photography by Fife Photography
Meet Sarah. She is Beauty Revived.
Most of us think of mothers as those who bend over small children or shuttle teenagers to soccer practice. But Sarah Brockbank is a different type of mother—one who loves and cares for everyone around her.
When she began dating her husband Bryan, he was impressed that she would teach her cousins piano once a week pro bono, with their mother recently passed away from cancer. Following piano lessons, she would prepare dinner, help them with their homework, and put them to bed so the kids’ father could work. For two years, she juggled the responsibilities of her extended family and her graduate work as a PhD student in engineering until her husband’s schooling necessitated leaving the children she’d adopted as her own.
Sarah wouldn’t consider herself worthy of special recognition. Quietly, she loves and serves tirelessly in her church and community, bringing meals and giving rides to children or elderly women so they can participate in church activities.
At 23 weeks pregnant, Sarah’s body began to go into labor. She was prescribed mandatory bed rest in the hospital. Prepared for a many-month long stay, she cheerfully sat in her bed while I braided her hair to keep it out of her face. Though none of us had any idea what would happen, we smiled and talked about our church responsibilities, and stayed positive, making long-term plans to keep her busy for hours in the quiet hospital. As I left, I told her to call me if something happened and if the baby came early.
I got a call the next day.
Heavily medicated to prevent contractions, it was a trying few days. The baby was coming, contractions only grew stronger. With her cell phone dead, she couldn’t tell Bryan how fast things were progressing until he arrived at the hospital after school.
The doctors rushed her to an emergency c-section, leaving Bryan and I to wait, hope, and pray.
Shad was born, and immediately given attention to keep his heart beating and air flowing. But his tiny body was not ready for this world. Once the doctors determined he would not survive, Bryan and Sarah were permitted to hold their son. Bryan gave him a blessing, while the nurses who had worked so hard listened silently. With tears in their eyes, they helped Bryan bathe, lotion, and bid farewell to a dying infant.
Their angel boy lived only 6 hours.
Through the sadness of losing him, both she and her husband showed hope and trust in God. They knew Shad’s time was short, but were grateful to hold him before he passed.
Still groggy from anesthesia, Sarah thanked the doctor and nurses. Over the next few days as medicine wore off and the pain ebbed, Sarah tenderly visited with friends and family, seeking to thank and lift their spirits. Upon returning home she sewed undersized baby blankets and clothes to donate to the NICU.
Her love and compassion continue still. Only a few months later, another of Sarah’s cousins lost a baby near full-term. Sarah sent her cousin books that brought comfort and wrote a lengthy letter of empathy and love, sharing intimate and tender experiences. That cousin found strength as she read the letter daily.
Someday Sarah hopes to bring more children into their family. Until then, she can be a mother in her own way. No, she can’t nurse her infant or sing him lullabies. Her empty arms hold nothing, except the memory of a child she only knew for six hours. Yet her trust and faith in God give her hope that she will see him again. And in the mean time, she shares her gift of motherhood to all who know her.
About the Photographer
Amber Fife lives in Norman, Oklahoma with her husband and 3 boys, and is expecting her baby girl soon. Amber’s love of photography began in the red-hued darkrooms of the Brimhall building at BYU, but became an addiction when she first used digital to photograph African children on a humanitarian trip in 2001. Five years later, Fife Photography officially was born. In the last 9 years, with the help of her husband, Amber has photographed hundreds of weddings, families, seniors and newborns, and taught hundreds of eager students. While she loves traveling the world, Amber has enjoyed the quiet and crazy moments of being a mother. She loves bringing joy to those she photographs, and bringing more happiness and light into the world.