I cannot think of a bigger honor than being asked to photograph a birth. For me it feels more important, more personal, and more exciting than anything else I can think of documenting. When I tell people that I love doing “birth photography” I often get puzzled looks and I can tell they are envisioning the type of photography they may have seen in a high school text book about child birth (um, eww, no thanks). I try to explain, I’m not there to capture the gory details, but instead the powerful emotion that happens in those hours and the beautiful first moments holding your brand new baby. I’ve personally been through the birth process five times to bring our five beautiful daughters into the world. I’m always amazed at how it all becomes a blur so quickly, hard to remember the details and I’ve regretted not remembering the moments well when my kids ask details about the day they were born. And I’ve discovered that asking my husband to try and grab some photos while still tending to me and dealing with his own excitement, just never works. So, this last daughter I smartened up and hired a professional myself and I can’t wait to share her photos with you (coming soon!).
So just 8 days after giving birth to our daughter, I was THRILLED to be back in the delivery room, this time to photograph a birth for our friends Kristy and AJ. This was their first baby, which always adds a little extra joy and excitement, there is nothing like the feeling of expecting your very first child.
When I arrived, Kristy had received her epidural and doing well. Based on her progress, we knew it would be awhile until their sweet boy decided to actually arrive, so I took some quick photos of them patiently waiting, filled with anticipation and excitement to finally meet their little man, and then I headed back home to hang with my family until we knew the baby was close to arriving.
A.J.’s mom arrived around lunch time to help keep them company. It was fun to visit with her and hear her excitement to meet another grandchild…
Around 4:00 I came back to the hospital as Kristy was at 7 cm and we knew things were moving along and it would soon be baby time! When I arrived AJ was out in the waiting room since Kristy needed to get another epidural (ugh, poor mama) as hers had worn off. Seeing AJ worried for his wife who was in pain was so hard. He waiting in the hospital waiting room along with Kristy’s mom and his mom, all of them hopeful the new epidural could take away some of the pain.
We were then rushed back into the room and walked in to find Kristy was ready to push! It was an exciting moment when we realized she was at 10 cm and now the action could really begin.
Kristy had an AMAZING support team around her. The nurses were awesome and so encouraging. Kristy’s mom stayed cool and calm and quickly became the person to count to 10 for Kristy. At one point she turned to us and said “Kristy is never going to want to hear me count to 10 again.” 🙂 And then of course AJ was a rockstar husband, encouraging and loving on Kristy as best as he could. Constant whipering in her ear, “I love you”, “You are doing so awesome”, “We get to meet our son soon”.
After about 30 minutes of pushing, the nurses decided to let Kristy rest and allow some time for her epidural to wear off a bit so her pushing could be more productive. It was “the calm before the storm”, quiet moments in the room while Kristy rested and we all waited. It’s always such an amazing feeling to know soon their would be a miracle to witness, another life entering the room.
There is nothing like the loving care of a mother- no matter your age, there is always a need for a mom’s encouraging touch and comforting words. What an honor to watch Kristy’s mom care for her and I know it was so hard for her to watch her daughter in pain.
The nurses decided it was time to get back to pushing and this is when I realized that Kristy was seriously a superhero. For the next 2.5 hours she worked harder than I’ve ever seen a mom work. Pushing through the utter exhaustion and pain, she kept going with her support team cheering her on.
During a birth, this is usually one of my favorite moments. When the nurses arrive and start prepping for a new life to enter the world. Getting the warm blankets ready, diapers prepared and the little bed warmed up. As they prepped this area, I looked at AJ with a smile and said “It’s game time!” 🙂
Those final moments before Grant was born were intense. Kristy was in so much pain, the epidural now worn off again. She had been pushing off and on for almost three full hours and completely exhausted. Her husband and mom kept cheering her on, willing her to keep going and reminding her that she was so. so. close. to meeting her sweet boy.
At 7:13 p.m. Grant Arthur Nickol entered our world. He was just perfect, round and chubby and had a sweet, healthy cry. What a moment to see him placed on his mom’s chest- the joy evident on the nurse’s smiling faces.
He weighed 8 lbs. and 13 oz. Yep- healthy, chubby little man and oh-so-cute.
That moment when you realize you just became a dad. And that moment you realize your name is now “Grandma”. 🙂
As soon as Grant was weighed and measured, AJ headed out to the waiting room to share the joyous news with all of the family in the waiting room.
Yes, a total rockstar mom. Smiling after hours of hard labor, so happy to have her boy in her arms.
AJ’s first time holding his son. I don’t remember ever seeing such a wide-eyed alert baby so quickly after birth. He was looking right into his daddy’s eyes, getting to know him for the first time. What a sweet moment.
AJ’s mom was anxiously awaiting her turn to come into the room and hold her new grandson for the first time. She excitedly raced in the room, ready to snuggle this sweet, chubby boy. Thank you Kristy and AJ for allowing me to witness yet another miracle here on earth. Your boy is absolutely perfect in every way. We can’t wait to get to know him and watch him grow. We already have the perfect prom date already set up for him over at our house. Plenty of Hernandez girls for him to choose from when it comes time. 🙂