A widower and his daughter have recreated the maternity pictures he took with his late wife while she was pregnant with the toddler in a commemorative photo shoot.
James Alvarez’s wife, Yesenia Aguilar, was struck by a car and killed last August when she was 35-weeks pregnant, but their daughter Adalyn Rose Alvarez-Aguilar was delivered healthy.
For Adalyn’s first birthday, James recreated maternity photos he and Yesenia had taken while she was pregnant with the tot.
He said: ‘Adalyn’s birthday was coming up and unfortunately her birthday is the same day I lost my wife,’ said the 37-year-old Los Angeles intake specialist.
Widower James Alvarez, 37, from LA, lost his pregnant wife Yesenia Aguilar in a car crash in 2020, and he has now recreated their maternity shoot with their baby daughter Adalyn, who was delivered by emergency C-section following the accident
Yesenia died after being hit by a car while the couple were out taking a walk, however medics managed to save baby Adalyn, who is seen right posing with her father in a recreation of her parents’ maternity shoot
James said looking back at the maternity photoshoot he did with Yesenia made him emotional – it ‘reminded [him] of the day [they] took those pictures and how beautiful [his] wife looked’
James had a pink dress made for Adalyn – similar to the one worn by Yesenia in the maternity photoshoot – in a bid to recreate the original photos
‘I wanted to do something meaningful and special to celebrate her birthday and honor my wife.’
The photographer who took the couple’s maternity photos suggested reenacting the shoot with Adalyn.
Dressed in a pink dress like her mother had worn, Adalyn and James posed in similar positions for the tot’s birthday shoot.
James said: ‘I had someone make a pink dress for my daughter to wear and we went to the same exact location, around the same time that we did the maternity shoot.
‘We tried to reenact it to make the pictures identical and it was truly amazing.’
James said he became emotional when he saw the photos side-by-side. ‘It reminded me of the day we took those pictures and how beautiful my wife looked,’ he added.
‘Looking at Adalyn dressed up like her mom, it was very emotional and touching. It reminded me how proud and how happy my wife would be seeing how gorgeous she is.’
The photographer, Grisel Leyva, suggested that they do a recreation yearly in Yesenia’s honor.
Following the photoshoot with baby Adalyn (right, and her mother, left), James says he realizes he still has a piece of his wife with him, through his daughter
The widower says that while daughter Adalyn will never know her mother like he did, he will be able to explain what Yesenia was like, and commemorate her
Dad James with wife Yesenia, who died aged 23, after being hit by a driver – who was allegedly drunk – while the pair were out for a walk together
Yesenia was talking to James about what curtains they would put in the nursery when she was hit by a car
‘I love the idea. It’s going to be something memorable,’ James said.
‘My daughter will never know my wife like I did, but I hope I can one day show her all these beautiful moments and explain to her exactly how her mommy was and commemorate my wife.’
Last August 11, Yesenia, 23, was hit by an alleged drunk driver while out on her daily walk with James.
‘Nothing was different that day except we took a different route,’ James said. ‘We were preparing for the baby’s arrival and deciding on curtains.
‘There was a store around the corner from where we lived, so we decided to go and walk the long way back home.
James was not allowed in the ambulance with Yesenia due to COVID restrictions. When he arrived at the hospital, he learnt his wife had died. Pictured, with Adalyn
The new dad says he was ‘in shock’ when he found out that doctors had safely delivered Adalyn, despite her mother dying
Adalyn (pictured) is a ‘miracle baby’ according to her dad James. She survived after doctors gave her emergency CPR and oxygen
‘I remember holding her hand and talking about curtains and then we heard screeching and screaming.
‘We turned around and saw the car hop the sidewalk and head in our direction. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel her hand anymore.
‘I remember the ambulance arriving and telling them ‘please try to save her and if you can’t, please try to save our daughter’.’
James wasn’t allowed in the ambulance due to COVID protocols. When he arrived at the hospital, he and his in-laws were told that Yesenia had died.
Doctors were concerned that Adalyn’s lack of oxygen could have long lasting effects, but James says she’s been healthy to this day. Pictured, together
Baby Adalyn is a fighter, according to dad James, who says the tot gave him the strength to carry on after the tragic death of his wife
Adalyn means the world to James, who says he doesn’t know what he would have done if both his wife and daughter had died
Adalyn, however, was successfully delivered via emergency c-section. She was given CPR and placed on a ventilator due to lack of oxygen for about 20 minutes.
‘When they told me my daughter survived, I was in shock,’ James said. ‘I was like “you told me my wife passed away because of injuries, but my daughter’s alive?” and they said yes.’
While doctors were afraid Adalyn’s lack of oxygen could have long lasting effects, James said she’s been healthy to this day.
‘The doctor said she was going to be there for months, but the second day they took her off the ventilator because she was breathing on her own,’ he said.
‘I believe she’s a miracle child, everything she was facing though her birth, she overcame it.’
He said Adalyn has also helped him to go on after losing wife. ‘The biggest lesson my daughter has taught me is to be a fighter too,’ he said. ‘She gave me the strength I needed to carry on.’
Adalyn’s (pictured) birthday unfortunately falls on the same day as the anniversary of the death of her mother Yesenia
James describes his daughter Adalyn (pictured) as ‘a blessing and a miracle’ – saying she is the ‘last gift’ his late wife Yesenia ever gave him
The photos of Adalyn (pictured, holding a photo of her mother) send a powerful message about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, as the driver who hit Yesenia had allegedly been drinking
Adalyn (pictured) is a fighter, according to dad James, who says the tot managed to overcome her difficult beginnings and is a healthy baby
James says he is ‘trying to be a great dad’ to his daughter, and create memories for her, as her mother is not alive to see her grow up.’ Pictured, Adalyn
The widower says he ‘can’t thank’ his wife enough for birthing their daughter (pictured). He says she was an ‘amazing woman’ who ‘gave her life’ for her child
Now, James said he wants to tell his story to inspire others and to keep his wife’s memory alive. ‘I share my story to help others overcome their battles,’ he said.
‘I’m trying to be a great dad and make these memories for her and carry my wife’s legacy.
‘I want people to know my wife was an amazing woman and she gave her life to save my daughter.
‘I can’t thank her enough, because I have my daughter and she means the world to me and I don’t know what I would do losing both of them.’
He added: ‘Seeing the pictures and seeing Adalyn dressed up as my wife, it reminded me that I still have a piece of my wife with me and that’s my daughter.’