With most births, the labor starts in the hospital room when I first arrive. With Melissa, it definitely wasn’t that way. I first photographed Melissa & Jeremiah’s gender reveal back in the late summer. Even then, this story was unique. Melissa and I worked together to perfectly execute the cutest gender reveal. She didn’t want to know what the sex was until we were actually doing the reveal. So in the days leading up, I was suggesting tips to Melissa and she promptly said ‘I’m not getting boy colors. I know this baby is a girl!’. Knowing Melissa is the mother of two boys, I understood that she was truly wanting a girl. Once I gently explained she should be ready for both a boy or a girl, she was determined that it was a girl. Although, for a slight moment I thought she was crazy, I knew that the intuition of a mother should be trusted and so I believed her.
After the gender reveal, we both had been counting down the days until little Paisley was born. Melissa was so great about keeping me updated with her progress. As the weeks dwindled down to single digits, Melissa’s pregnancy became more difficult. For my birth photography, I always ask that the couple notify me once they are at the hospital and 4-5 cm dilated…. well Melissa was already to that point a week before being admitted for birth. I thought she was a hero even before this birth for the mere fact that she was walking around so progressed! haha I was so nervous for Paisley to arrive that I literally carried my camera in my car just in case I was unable to get home to get my gear and get to the hospital in time.
On February 7th, I woke up with the plans to take my daughter on a shopping trip. I woke up with a feeling that the day was just going to be so joyous. I thought that maybe I felt that way because I had a day off, I was going to go shopping with my favorite girl in the world and it was unseasonably warm. It was our first day that we felt a sense of Spring! Little did I know, God was preparing my heart for the day that I would get to witness two old friends become parents. If you’re thinking our shopping trip was ruined, it totally wasn’t. As I was on my way home, only 10 minutes away from my house and I got a call from a strange number on my phone. This typically happens because of new clients calling so I answered and I hear a panicked Jeremiah on the phone. Maybe panicked isn’t the right word…. he was nervous and I could hear it. He explained that Melissa was at the hospital, admitted, and that Paisley was officially on her way. This wasn’t a false alarm. This was actually happening right now. I praised God for great timing because if it had been earlier, I would have been an hour away from the hospital. My worst fear is missing such a beautiful moment like this one!
When I arrived at the hospital, I waited outside the room. I heard Melissa in pain as the doctors were trying to get an epidural in. As I entered the room, Melissa was in so much pain, you could see it on her face and hear it when she spoke. She was ready for this baby to arrive. Since this happened so quickly, Jeremiah was trying to notify all the family he could while still trying to comfort Melissa. It was a chaotic moment. I could feel the anticipation in the room, the bells and whistles of medical machines and the ringtones of phones going off every second. At the moment, it felt like too much. I felt like they were so burdened with the different pulls of life, but as I look back, that moment was so beautiful. That moment was defining. Like royals in the 17th century, trumpets blared as royalty arrived. In our day and age, it is these sounds of technology and voices that toll the arrival of a new life.
This birth went so quickly, I was prepared for that per Melissa’s warning. During the labor, the heartbreaking moment came when we realized that Melissa’s epidural wasn’t going to ease her pain. She was too far along and Melissa was feeling every bit of it. She angrily said ‘This is not fair! I got poked! It has to work!’ The doctors did everything that could to ease her pain but it really wasn’t working. Melissa’s mom arrived and that’s when Melissa lost it. She cried as her mom bent over the bed and kissed her head. As soon as her mother arrived the doctor was trying to convince Melissa to entertain the idea of pushing. Understandably, she didn’t want to, she was in so much pain. We all looked at her and convinced her that the inevitable was coming and she would have to push at some point. Melissa laid her head back on her pillow, put her hand over her face, and muttered a very defeated ‘Okay’.
Melissa is a total champ. This girl loves zombies and she participates in roller derby. She has spent her life rising above tough situations. But some of the things Melissa endured during labor was really hard. Paisley was not turned in the right position so the doctors were constantly putting Melissa into different positions to help Paisley. Melissa pushed for less than an hour and finally, Paisley was born. It was an insane moment at 2:49pm. As I captured these moments I thought about the amount of power and grace it took Melissa to do whatever it took to make sure her daughter came into this world safely. Melissa had shown an immense amount of sacrifice for her daughter.
I felt so honored to get to photograph Paisley in her first moments. Melissa’s mother followed me over to where Paisley was being cleaned up. She leaned down and whispered ‘Happy Birthday little Paisley!’ As things settled down and the realization set it that Paisley was finally here, the grandparents, so full of joy and pride stared at their granddaughter. Melissa’s mom said Paisley has Melissa’s lungs. Jeremiah’s mom said Paisley has her father’s forehead. One of my favorite moments is watching the family gawk at this tiny baby. The look on their faces. Jeremiah’s brother, Jonathan, had the best expression of all. The look on his face when he held his niece was one of total excitement.
If we as humans, had things our own way, we would never experience some of the most wonderful moments in our life. Photographing this birth, it put everything into perspective. You look at it and know that everything is as it should be. You realize that Starbucks can bring two people together. You’re reminded that going through the pain can bring wonderful moments in life and specifically with Paisley, her life has created the start of something new for Melissa and Jeremiah.
Thank you so much for reading about the celebration of Paisley’s new life. If you are interested in having the birth of your child documented, please contact me at www.envphotographyy.com/contact to check availability.