There’s nothing quite like the anticipation, hope and joy of photographing the birth of a dear friend’s baby, and there’s nothing quite like missing it by minutes.
Listen. This day was so nuts. A few factors to be aware of: Lauren, the mama, had the longest first labor with her son Finn. She’s a dear friend of mine, and she lives 2 hours away in Winston Salem. When she texted that she was having mild contractions that morning, I was thrilled, but I knew it could be several hours or even days. I had everything ready to go, but there was no hurry. She said she’d check back in when the midwife checked her.
Also you should know: this was a home birth she had been planning since before she was even pregnant!
I was photographing a bridal session the day I got her text, and I had lined everything up for Callie to step in and photograph the bridal session if needed. When I was on my way there, I got a text from Lauren, the mama who was in labor, who said her contractions were picking up but that she’d reach out to me again once the midwife checked her. So I felt like I had the green light to photograph the bridal session, then grab my gear and head to Winston Salem.
Did I mention there was snow in the forecast? In March? Well, there was.
As I’m photographing this lovely bridal session in Raleigh, I get a text from Lauren:
“Nancy, this is Vaughn, Lauren’s husband. You better come quick. Things are progressing and her water just broke. I don’t want you to miss it.”
WHAT?! Like what just happened? So I have a mini freak out, but since I only have 30 minutes left in the session and didn’t want to leave my bride stranded, I finished up and threw my gear in the car.
Meanwhile I’m calling Will: “I don’t have my pump! It’s about to snow! Can you meet me on the way?”
So he brings my pump to me (BLESS him), and it starts to snow. Like, really SNOW. It’s sticking to the roads and the ground – 1-2 inches at this point. He gets in the car with me and says, “I don’t think I want you to drive to Winston Salem.”
Well, I look at him and say, “I love you and appreciate that, but I AM GOING. My friend is having her baby and I have to do everything I can to get there, even if I get stuck.”
We *might* have had a teensy little argument, but all in all, I go for it. I drive to Winston Salem with cars sliding off the road around me, (pumping on the way, mind you), and praying that the baby would come at the perfect time, and if it’s God’s will, that I make it.
Earlier, during the bridal session, I had texted my dear friend Cameron Faye who was the backup birth photographer, who lived a bit closer. She had already jumped in her car and was heading to Lauren’s house in the snowstorm, and she was 45 minutes ahead of me. We were both praying SO hard that we would make it!
Cameron arrives to the house while Lauren is in transition, and lets me know the baby wasn’t there yet. I was SO grateful she made it.
15 minutes later, I get a text from Cameron:
I was so happy and so sad at the same time: I had missed it.
But by golly, I was going to keep driving. I was determined to capture those sweet moments of bliss just after baby’s arrival.
So I arrived and stayed several hours on that snowy day in March. What a joy it was to see the peace in that home – a HOME birth! Something so amazing and so sacred. Lauren did beautifully, and so did her sweet boy Rory. Goodness it was the sweetest day.
Cameron and I grabbed sushi with a friend, and then I headed home. I marveled the whole way home, praising Jesus for new life, reminded of one thing:
If there’s anything that birth photography teaches you, it’s that you don’t have any control. It’s sacred and miraculous – something that God determines. And while I can do all that I can do, while I can give my best, I have to trust – this is all part of His great and perfect plan.
And I can thank Him for this sacred, incredible work I get the privilege of being a part of.
Congrats to the Thomas family on welcoming your second beautiful boy into your home and your hearts!
Film Processing: Indie Film Lab
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