Maddux Achilles Haggard was born on February 4, 2005, with a condition called myotubular myopathy, which prevented him from breathing, swallowing, or moving on his own. The following six days, his parents Mike and Cheryl Haggard sat by his side with questions that had no answers.

Cheryl tried to create memories of their time together using her own camera. In reviewing the pictures she captured, Cheryl said, “I saw our tear stained cheeks, our red swollen eyes, our forced smiles, and the fear in our faces as we looked into the camera.”

On the sixth day of Maddux’s young life, his parents made the excruciating decision to remove him from life support. Before they removed life support, Cheryl knew she wanted professional images of Maddux that she could hang on her wall alongside the portraits of her other children.

“Maddux deserved that space on our wall. I could not comfortably hang the pictures I had taken. The color images bring back the reality of that day. I wanted heirloom portraits as a way to remember and honor our son,” said Cheryl.

It was then, Mike called photographer Sandy Puc’ to take black and white portraits of them cradling their son.

Those tender photographs documenting Maddux’s eternal connection with his parents inspired Cheryl Haggard and Sandy Puc’ to create Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep in 2005 as a nonprofit organization. NILMDTS exists to give bereaved families the gift of professional heirloom portraits to bring healing and comfort.

“That night was the worst night of my life. But when I look at the images, I am not reminded of my worst night. I’m reminded of the beauty and blessings he brought.”

Cheryl Haggard, Maddux’s mother and co-founder of NILMDTS