father and daughter
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 13, 2024 ·  4 min read

Widower beautifully recreates late wife’s pregnancy photos with their 1-year-old daughter

James Alvarez’s life forever changed when a drunk driver hit and killed his wife while they were out on a walk near their home. 35 weeks pregnant at the time, doctors delivered the couple’s baby girl via cesarean section. (1) One year later, Alvarez decided to recreate their pregnancy photos with their daughter to both celebrate her first birthday and honor his late wife. The photos are heart-wrenchingly beautiful. (2)

Father Recreates Pregnancy Photos Of Late Wife With Their Baby Girl

father and child
Credit: X & V Photography

After two years of trying, James Alvarez and his wife Yesenia Aguilar were finally expecting their first child. Excitement rippled through the family when they found out the baby was a girl. Aguilar’s parents only had grandsons and their daughter would be his parent’s first grandchild. Tragically, the dream of the perfect family of three never came true. The couple was out for a walk in their neighborhood last summer when an inebriated woman driving a Jeep jumped the curb and hit Aguilar. The woman, who had a history of driving under the influence, literally pulled Aguilar out of her husband’s grasp. 

They were rushed to the hospital, but the doctors couldn’t save Yesenia. They could, however, deliver her baby via c-section. Adalyn-Rose Alvarez Aguilar spent her first three weeks of life in the hospital. Then, Alvarez had to begin the most challenging task of his life: Raising his daughter without his beloved wife by his side. “I’m not going to lie, it is hard,” he said. “But she is going to need me. She is going to look up to me and only me. I have to step up. It’s all for her now.”

Read More: Father builds $35m theme park for daughter with special needs, it’s free for people with disabilities

The Pregnancy Photos

pregnant mother
Credit: X&V Photography

Not long before the accident, Alvarez and Aguilar had a pregnancy photoshoot in anticipation of their daughter’s arrival. In honor of his wife and to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday, Alvarez recreated those pregnancy photos with the help of X&V Photography. The photos were taken in the same location, with Alvarez wearing the same clothes. His late wife wore a pink silky gown that showed off the baby bump for the shoot, so he dressed baby Adalyn in a pink dress as well. The photos are both beautiful and tragic.

The caption on the photographer’s Facebook post, written by Alvarez,  reads:

Credit: X&V Photography

“In loving memory of Yesenia.
Last year she was fatally hit by a driver under the influence. She was 8 months pregnant with Adalyn.
Adalyn survived and is a little miracle.
We went back to where we shot their maternity photos in 2020. A beautiful tribute to Yesenia.
We did a cake smash to celebrate her 1st birthday with mommy’s favorite flowers. Happy first birthday Adalyn Rose!”

Until the end, as any mother would do, Yesenia protected her baby. The coroner’s report said that the bruises on her arms indicated that she wrapped her arms around her belly to protect her child from the impact. Thanks to her, baby Adalyn survived.

Life As A Single Dad

Credit: X&V Photography

Naturally, this last year has not been easy for Alvarez. He is coping with being a first-time, single dad. On top of that, he is wrestling through the grief and trauma of not just losing his wife, but having her ripped out of his hand and watching her be killed in front of him. Despite this, he has carried on, doing his best to be the dad that their baby girl needs. In an Instagram post, he wrote:

“Even lacking oxygen for 20 minutes, Adalyn Rose was born. She was a miracle. She never gave up which I learned to never give up either, and the rest is history.” (3)

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He moved from Anaheim back to his hometown but goes and sees his in-laws once a week

father and daughter
Credit: X&V Photography

While he works during the day, his mother watches Adalyn. When he comes home, however, he fully takes over parental duties. He wants to be as present as possible in her life.

“The day you left, I lost a part of me but gained that piece back when we had our daughter,” he wrote on Instagram. “We did our daughter’s first birthday photoshoot in honor of you, wifey. I hope God knows, he has an amazing angel. You have protected us so far and will continue to do so. If you could only see how much our daughter looks like you, she’s gorgeous like you…How I wish I could switch with your mommy so she can have the opportunity to fall in love with you like I have.”

Naturally, his daughter’s first birthday is simultaneously a difficult day and also an incredibly joyous one

father and daughter
Credit: Shutterstock

He has begun documenting his life as a single father on Instagram, inspiring many parents – especially single dads – along the way. You can follow along with James and Adalyn here.

“Adalyn, I know if your mommy was here, she would have been the happiest person alive. She would be so excited to celebrate your birthday. That’s why, I’m making sure I fulfill her wishes and wish the happiest birthday ever baby. Your mommy and daddy loves you.”

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  1. He lost his wife, but not their baby; now he’s a dad in progress.” OC Register. Theresa Walker. June 18, 2021
  2. Facebook. X&V Photography
  3. Instagram. __jamesalvarez