I got word that Jenn was in labor as I was pulling into my driveway late on Saturday night, just getting into town, and right as Nancy was packing her bags to head out of town. Thankfully, we thought this may happen, and had decided ahead of time to tag team Jenn and Ford's birth session in case either of us were out of town. Just like that - I was on duty and completely thrilled about it!
There was lots of communication over the next 12 hours or so, and Jenn's labor was progressing very slowly. Thankfully I was able to get a good night's sleep before arriving at the hospital around lunchtime on Sunday, right after they administered the epidural.
I walked eagerly into a dark hospital room where Jenn and Ford were resting. The epidural had finally given her some relief from the contractions, so the nurses advised that they try to get some sleep. I introduced myself, and we chatted for a little bit while I took some photos. They were so sweet, so calm, and really just wanted to make sure I was all set and comfortable. After about 30 minutes I headed out to the waiting room so they could rest until it was time. 5 hours later, I got the text: time to push.
I got into the room and it was quite a different scene than when I was there before. Lights were bright, Jenn and Ford were relaxed but wide eyed and grinning with excitement. Nurses were fluttering around preparing things and casually chatting with them. The eager anticipation was rising and very tangible. In the chaos of it all, Jenn and Ford would snuggle in closely, kiss each other, and affirm each other in their love and in Jenn's ability to do what she was about to do. Even in these moments, I fought back awestruck tears as my camera shook in my hands.
Jenn pushed for 20 minutes or so. She had the best cheerleaders in her team of nurses, doctors, and Ford, who constantly either held her hand, stroked her hair, or kissed her and encouraged her between pushes. I won't ever forget the escalation of that sound, followed closely by a tiny little cry and lots of tears at 6:58pm. She was finally here!
The room cleared out over the next hour, and I watched Jenn and Ford hold, kiss, and study their baby for the first time. "She has your mouth", "She definitely has your hair", all the beautiful "she has" discoveries were starting to trickle out. Family started to trickle in. More tears, more hugs, more kisses. After a couple hours, things began to settle down in their new room, so I headed out. I hugged their necks, because I couldn't not, and headed home sometime close to midnight.
On the way home, I drove and just thanked the Lord for life. For new friends and for their healthy baby girl. Also for a job that allows me to preserve such sacred moments as I witnessed that day.
Jenn and Ford - congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby girl, Evelyn James! I'm honored to have been there to capture that day for you.