The Gold Dust Project - Chapter Three - Lily-Mae's Gastroschisis journey - Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer


Let's talk about one of the bravest little girls I've met: Lily-Mae, the little girl born with her intestines outside of her body... She was wise beyond her years, and for just five years old, I was absolutely so impressed with her knowledge of what I was doing with the Gold Dust Project, and why it's important.

Lily-Mae's mum, Naomi, first got in touch with me earlier this year asking if her daughter could take part in the Gold Dust Project, as she had her own scars and stories to tell. When she told me Lily-Mae had been born with her intestines outside of her body, I absolutely had to find out more about their story.

I came to discover that her condition, known as Gastroschisis, was a medical complication that affects only one in three thousand children in the UK. Lily-Mae was a very special little girl.

When I turned up at their house for the photos, she was absolutely so excited to be being glittered up, and suggested all of the angles and poses she could think of. Nothing holds this girl back! She's a talented little singer, confident beyond her years, and is definitely the life of the party... She's a normal little girl. But her birth was everything but normal.

When she was born, she had immediate surgery to put her intestines back inside of her tummy, as they had grown outside of her body through a tiny hole. There is still no definite medical explanation for this complication. 

Naomi, her mum, kept a diary both before and after Lily-Mae's birth, which has some really lovely anecdotes in it explaining how she felt, and what a whirlwind it was. As if the operation wasn't tough enough, Lily-Mae also had to have Hickman lines inserted into the top of her chest (which you can see by the little scars in some of the photos), to give her Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). This would would provide her with all of the nutrients she needed to grow, as she wouldn't have been able to have been breastfed, something Naomi really wishes she had the chance to do. Lily-Mae was very fortunate in that the procedures went really well well, as many children grow into adulthood with stoma bags and further complications. You can find out more about Gastroschisis over on Avery's Angels' website.

So, without further ado, here are the photos we took. Thank you so much Naomi and Lily-Mae for letting me meet and document your journey and for being a part of this project!

Grace xo

Further links: First chapter. Second chapter.