Heartbreaking newborn photoshoot sends powerful message: 'Do not drink drive'

James Alvarez and his newborn daughter.
James Alvarez and his newborn daughter. Photo: Grisel Leyva, X&V Photography,

Baby Adalyn Rose should have been cradled in her loving mother's arms for her newborn photoshoot. Instead the little girl held a picture of Yesenia Aguilar in her tiny hands after the then mum-to-be was killed by an alleged drunk driver.  

Adalyn miraculously clung to life after her mother, who was 35 weeks pregnant with her, died when she was struck by an out of control SUV as she walked with her husband James Alvarez in Anaheim, California on August 11.

Captured by Grisel Leyva of X&V Photography, the heartbreaking photos send a powerful message about the devastating impact of driving under the influence.

Ms Aguilar, 23, was killed almost instantly in the crash, but her baby survived and was delivered by an emergency caesarean.

The newborn remained in the neonatal intensive care unit for three weeks, until she was eventually strong enough to be released and is now at home with her father.


Posted by X&V Photography on  Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Ms Leyva, who photographed the couple for a maternity shoot in July she was honoured to take photos of baby Adalyn.

To honour Ms Aguilar's memory, she included some of her favourite things, including flowers, blanket and her wedding veil. The photographer even edited a photo from the earlier maternity shoot to include baby Adalyn in the same picture as both her parents.

Ms Leyva shared the new photos on Facebook, saying "Meet Adalyn Rose, one month old," before writing in all caps; "DON'T DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE."


"RIP YESENIA," she wrote on the post that has since been shared more than 31,000 times. Over 930,000 people gave commented on the post of the miracle baby.

"Ugh. I'm bawling. These pictures are so sweet and beautiful!" one woman wrote.

"So heartbroken this little angel will grow up without ever meeting her mother. Her dad is doing a great job! Beautiful pictures! And beautiful tribute to her mother. Her guardian angel, I'm sure."

"Beautiful family, beautiful pictures, heartbreaking story," commented another. "Rest in Peace, lovely Mummy."

Yesina Anguilar and James Alavrez on their wedding day.

Yesenia Aguilar and James Alavrez on their wedding day. Photo: Facebook

In a Facebook post, Mr Alvarez reflected on the heartbreaking circumstances that led to his daughter's birth.

"My wife was taken so fast. I lost my world in one second," he wrote.

"We lost a daughter, a mother, a cast member, a friend, a best friend, and a wife. We are still devastated and truly hard to believe she's gone."

The Anaheim Police Department said in a press release that the 40-year-old driver was charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, and one misdemeanour count of driving on a suspended licence.