Births are one of my favorite genres of photography. Pretty much any photography to do with babies is right up my alley (in-home lifestyle newborn, studio newborn, fresh-48, all of it!) but being present and witness to the birth of a new sweet soul has a whole new level of reward for me. Due to the unpredictable nature of the job, I have a standing agreement with another local photographer, Sarah Lodge, to be one another's back-up in the event one of us can't make it to a birth on time.
Sarah's clients, Jennifer and Joshua, were eagerly anticipating their baby's arrival, and after 42+ weeks of waiting, decided to be induced. I had the honor of photographing this family's birth story, as a stand-in for Sarah, who was photographing a wedding in Vermont. Below, Jennifer shares the moving story of her baby's birth, and some of their struggles along the way.
Can you share with our readers a little about your family? Where are you from originally? How did you and your partner meet and end up living in Ledyard, Connecticut?
I’m originally from Vernon, Connecticut and my husband is from the Philadelphia area. We met in 2012 after the navy stationed him in Groton, Connecticut. We met only 2 weeks after he arrived, and have been inseparable since. We moved in together 6 months later and rented a little house in Waterford. 6 months after that we were engaged and getting ready to buy our little house in Ledyard, Connecticut. About 4 years, a deployment, and 2 children later we’re really excited for the future.
What was your pregnancy with baby like? Did you suffer from any morning sickness? Have any strange cravings?
Our sweet Evelyn was conceived via IVF. Our frozen embryo transfer was 12/26/17. We think we had a little Christmas magic working in our favor. I had a really easy pregnancy with no morning sickness or complications of any kind. The worst I had was heartburn, but our sweet girl was born with a full head of hair!
Which part of your pregnancy did you enjoy the most? And the least?
Well the heartburn was my least favorite part, but it was so worth it.
I loved feeling the baby kicks and wiggles on the inside. Actually, I already miss it and have some crazy baby fever already!
What made you decide to follow your specific birth plan?
My first birth was extremely traumatic, and ended in an unnecessary c-section. I was determined to have a healing vaginal birth this time. We planned a home-birth from the start, but at 42+2 decided it was time for a change of plans. After some discussion with our wonderful midwives we decided we needed to transfer care to Manchester Memorial Hospital in Manchester, Connecticut, for an induction. Even though it wasn’t exactly what we planned, it was a beautiful, healing experience, and now we have a perfect, healthy, baby girl!
Birth photography is becoming more and more common now, but there's still a lot of mystery surrounding it, and skepticism from women who may feel hesitant to have such intimate moments recorded by a photographer, and potentially someone who is essentially a stranger. Can you tell us a little about what made you decide to have baby's birth photographed?
This pregnancy was so precious. We worked so hard for this baby! I documented our IVF journey on Instagram and thought her birth needed to be documented via photos as well. Evelyn is also my VBAC baby after my first was born via cesarean in 2015. I knew this would be a healing and powerful experience so I knew I needed photos!
What was your birth experience like?
Powerful, healing, and a bit scary at times. There were a lot of similarities to my first birth, but they were handled so much better this time!
If you could do it again, would you choose the same birth plan? Would you still choose to have it all recorded in photographs?
Absolutely! I will have birth photos from now on. I still have a strong desire for a home-birth so we’ll see what happens.
What's been the grossest thing you've experienced since becoming parents?
Evelyn has reflux, so we’ve been showered with baby throw up a few times now.
What's the sweetest, most memorable moment of parenthood for you so far?
My favorite moment so far was when our first daughter, Emma, met Evelyn for the first time. She loves her little sister so much, it melts my heart.
What was your first thought when you found out the sex of your baby?
I was shocked! We didn’t find out until she was born, and I swore she was a boy the whole pregnancy! This pregnancy was night and day from my first. My husband knew she was a girl the whole time. Fathers intuition? (See Joshua's reaction to Evie's gender reveal in the photos below)
What tips or advice would you give other parents as they experience their first few weeks of parenting and welcoming their newborn into their family?
Enjoy your baby. Soak up those sweet snuggles, because they really do grow as fast as people say.
How did you break the news to your partner that you were expecting a baby?
Our 2 year old told him, “mommy has a baby in her belly”.
What feelings came up during this pregnancy about your baby?
Worry- we worked so hard for her, and wanted everything to be perfect
Excitement- Emma would finally be a big sister
Anticipation- wondering whether we would have a boy or a girl!