SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio-based professional photographer who has suffered through the pain of losing two children due to miscarriages is helping families going through the same thing by sharing his story and giving free photo shoots to those couples expecting once again.
Devin Travieso has been doing photography for years.
“I do senior and couple pictures. I also do newborns,” Travieso said.
Throughout that process, he said, he's learned the importance of connecting with people.
“It is more than just taking pictures,” Travieso said. “It is building relationships and gaining their trust. I have had situations where people are on a shoot and they are opening up about things that have troubled their lives. In that moment, I feel like I am doing more than just photography, but I am helping others in a way.”
Travieso found himself in a very troubled situation last year. He and his wife went through two miscarriages.
“I remember I went through this stage where I didn’t want to have kids and then it just came out of nowhere. I wanted them badly, so my wife went all out with the first reveal,” Travieso said. “She acted like she had forgotten about my birthday. She said something, like, there was a letter in this box, and it said something like ‘There’s another Spurs fan in the family.’ And I pull out a baby Kawhi Leonard jersey, which now we are wishing it was another jersey.”
Though he was ecstatic, things took a turn for the worse.
“Both times, it was the same thing,” Travieso said. “They told us the baby’s heart wasn’t where it needed to be, but they called a nurse in to check who told us to come back in seven days to re-evaluate. Those seven days felt like years long, because every day, you are waking up and counting down the hours.”
Travieso said when they went back to the doctor, he learned that at seven weeks, the baby’s heartbeat needed to be 120-160 beats per minute. Their baby’s heartbeat never made it past 80-90 beats per minutes.
“It sucks, especially when you have this heightened anticipation and it is ripped away from you. I just remember being super sad,” Travieso said.
Six months later, another miscarriage happened.
“We didn’t go all out for that one as far as the reveal because I think we both were excited but on edge at the same time,” Travieso said. “Then it happened again, and I just remember feeling anger and resentment and then it became apathy.”
He said the loss of two babies challenged his faith, but it taught him a lesson.
“It strengthened parts of my faith that were real and it faded the things that I learned weren’t real about my faith,” Travieso said. “I just learned whether I understand why or whether I don’t, it doesn’t make it better. The babies are not there, whether I know or don’t know, and what that has taught me is to let go of control.”
Travieso began to think of ways to share his stories with other silent sufferers going through the same experience.
“I have heard the term silent sufferers and I have found this to be true, because I can’t tell you the accounts of people who have opened up to me,” Travieso said. “I think there is a lot more people that have walked through and don’t talk about it, but it only does us good when we are able to talk about it and bring it out to the light.”
Not only does Travieso blog about his experience, but he also does discounted photoshoots for families who have lost a baby and are expecting another one.
“The only way for us to live authentically is to just say it and to be honest about what we walk through and what our stories are,” Travieso said. “I’ve just always had a vision for using what I do to share my story and what I am learning from that moment.”
Travieso wants to do free photoshoots for families mourning the loss of a baby.
“I think these stories are much bigger and more meaningful. The families that I have worked with felt that there was someone who understood what they were walking through, and they were allowed to be transparent about it. So it got me thinking how many people probably have walked through it,” Travieso said.
He said his main goal is to show families that they are not alone.
“It is awkward and weird,” Travieso said. “It’s not a ‘Hey, you will be OK.’ or ‘Hey, maybe you will get another baby someday.’ There are no words that can fix any of that. Sometimes, it is just a silent gesture that says, ‘Hey, I get it, and this is my way of saying I get it.’”
Travieso and his wife are expecting another healthy baby girl in February. He said he is beyond grateful.
If you know someone like Travieso, who is making a difference in the South Texas community, send us your tips. Contact Japhanie Gray on Facebook or @JGrayKSAT on Twitter. You can also send your tips to KSAT 12 & KSAT.com on Facebook.