Random Friend/Client: “Why do you like to photograph babies so much?”
Me: “Oh, you know… they’re just so cute. How could you not love it?”
An honest answer, and one that I often give, but not the whole answer. The whole truth of why I am so passionate about photographing newborns is a longer and more uncomfortable conversation; but it is one that I would like to have with you right now. I want you to understand me a little better and to let you know just how incredible new life really is.
My husband and I married young and didn’t even think about having children until we were in our late twenties. I had always wanted to be a mom and the time seemed right. My husband had an excellent job with equally excellent benefits and we had purchased a home with enough room for a growing family. I was thrilled to embark on this new chapter of our life. So we tried. And we tried. And we tried. And nothing. We decided to visit the doctor. I was diagnosed with PCOS and my husband had male infertility factors as well. I was upset but I was sure that if we just kept trying and had a little help we would be fine.
Thus began the year of hormone shots, ultrasounds, blood draws, and other awkward fertility procedures. I loved my doctor at the fertility clinic, don’t get me wrong, but the procedures left me depressed and miserable. They could not seem to be able to get me to ovulate and the few times that I did spit an egg out we never got lucky enough to get pregnant.
And then one day, we did get lucky. I was pregnant! I was so thrilled. My nurse warned me to be cautious, but I couldn’t help but be hopeful and happy. I was making plans right from the start. I couldn’t stop smiling. We were a family of three! Unfortunately, this did not last. I lost the baby in the first trimester. I was devastated. It had taken so long to get pregnant and I was already in love. I reluctantly decided to try fertility treatments again.
Several IUI’s later I had just had it. I was emotionally drained and I couldn’t take the rigorous schedule of medications and doctor appointments required for the fertility treatments anymore. My husband and I decided that we would try one more time and then call it quits. I went through the hormone injections again and was surprised to see that I had released two eggs. I was cautiously optimistic. Two weeks later I was officially declared pregnant. Four weeks after that I started bleeding. A lot. I completely lost my mind. I rushed to the ER. An ultrasound was performed and they found a sac and heartbeat. It turned out I had been pregnant with twins and lost one.
I was desperately worried about the surviving baby. I continued to bleed on and off throughout the pregnancy until 22 weeks. I went in for a routine appointment with my doctor. I had the gender determining ultrasound and was thrilled to find out I was having a baby boy! The ultrasound tech excused herself and ages later the midwife came in. She informed me that there was a problem with the pregnancy and she was referring me to the doctor in their practice. The doctor let me know that I was almost completely dilated and that the baby was unlikely to survive if born that day. I tearfully asked her if there was anything she could do to help me and I asked her if she would try to save my baby if he was born. She told me she would try to save my baby if that is what I wanted and that she thought she might be able to buy a little time for the baby by sewing my cervix shut. She also cautioned that the surgery itself might induce labor. I didn’t see what I had to lose so I decided to go through with it.
She sent me straight to surgery at the hospital across the road. I was put under for the procedure and I woke up in a complete panic. My doctor was there right away, reassuring me that the surgery had been successful but also advising me that it might only hold for another day or possibly a week. I stayed in the hospital for a while and then went home under orders to be on strict bed-rest. I wasn’t to walk, stand, sit up, or even move around too much.
I stayed on bed rest for three horrible, wonderful months. I worried every day that my baby would come but every day made him stronger. He ended up being born AFTER his due date. I had to be induced. He was truly a little miracle. I treasured him and I realized how amazing it was that he even existed. I have since had another son and I am so grateful to be a mom twice over. How lucky am I to have two beautiful little boys with huge personalities in my life?
Every newborn baby is a miracle. A triumph over insane odds. Every time I photograph a new life I remember this and it amazes me. When I photograph your baby, I am in awe of their existence. That is why I love photographing newborns. That is why it is important and fulfilling for me. And that is why when you walk into my studio carrying your first baby, heart brimming with love despite your exhaustion, I will treat your baby like the treasure they are and photograph them beautifully.