It was November 10th, and I was just pulling into my driveway after running a few errands. It was early in the afternoon, and I saw Krystal’s name pop up on my phone. I answered, prepared just to chat (we’ve been friends since high school), but she very calmly started the conversation by explaining that her water had broken, and that she and Adam were headed to Rex to induce labor. It was all pretty unexpected – Hadley’s due date was December 22, which put Krystal between 33 and 34 weeks.
I reassured her that I was in town and still available to shoot the birth, and that all of us at NRP were covering she, Adam and their sweet baby girl in prayer. They were going to be touching base with me again once labor was well on its way.
Fast forward to about 4am the next day, and I get a text from Adam: “Labor is getting intense and contractions are very consistent”. With that, I sneaked out of bed, grabbed my keys, and drove quickly to Rex.
When I got there, I walked into a very quiet, dark room. Adam was sitting by Krystal’s side, the light from the contraction predictor computer screen shone on his face as he held Krystal’s hand and encouraged her quietly. Over and over again: “Ok, one’s coming; you got this. Just a little worse, you’re almost through it… climbing down down. Good job babe. You’re doing so great.” Y’all. I was there until 7:30 that night, and that man didn’t move. I don’t think he ate, I know he didn’t sleep. He held her hand, stared at that screen, and coached her through every single contraction. Krystal labored quietly and listened to Adam’s voice with her eyes closed. Mrs. Belinda (her mom) was standing nearby, ready to serve in whatever capacity all day long. Chatting with her throughout the day was one of my favorite parts of being there: she was obviously anxious and nervous for her girl, but remained a steadfast presence. A few times during the day I would look over at her and she’d have tears rolling down her cheeks, eyes clamped shut. Because I know Krystal’s family, I knew she was talking to Jesus in those moments, relying on Him to be all that Krystal needed.
I was in and out of the room a few times that day; it was all very “hurry up and wait”. Krystal’s sisters joked in the waiting room about how they’d one day give Hadley a hard time about deciding to arrive really early and then just changing her mind, “Typical girl”! Around 6:30pm, I got the final text from Adam: “The doctor believes she’s ready to push again and we will have this baby very soon!” With shaky hands anticipating that powerful moment, I grabbed my equipment and ran back to the room. The nurse who stayed with Krystal and Adam all day (who I’m fairly positive stayed well past her shift’s end) was coaching Krystal through each push. Adam was standing by Krystal’s head, speaking life and words of encouragement into her ear. Mrs. Belinda was not far behind the doctors and nurses, being the final strong, steady voice of encouragement, “You can do this Krystal, keep pushing, she’s almost here!”.
At 7:00pm, after over 24 hours of labor, Hadley Grace finally arrived. She weighed 4 lb 3 oz and was exactly 6 weeks early. As was expected, her little lungs weren’t quite fully developed so they let Krystal and Adam hold her for one precious moment, but did end up whisking her away to the NICU within moments of her being born. Hadley spent over 2 weeks in the NICU as her little body continued to strengthen. Praise Jesus, Krystal and Adam brought their healthy baby girl home on 11/27!
Krystal and Adam – thank you for letting me be a part of documenting this crazy, amazing journey for you. I pray that you treasure these photographs for a lifetime!
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