A birth story - baby Andie

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My friend Heather texted me at 12:15 am and said she was going into labor so I texted back and said I would be on my way to the hospital. A few months earlier she asked if I would document the experience of her daughter's birth. I was excited by this request; honored really. I got ready and headed out the door for an exciting night (or morning) of seeing the events of this day unfold through my lens. We would catch all the emotion leading up to the birth and then right after. We discussed what kind of pictures to take and had it all planned.

I arrived at the hospital just before 1 am and texted her from Triage at 1:03. I was assuming that they would be in the room, talking, waiting and going through the motions of getting to the stage when delivery was just minutes away. I had planned on at least 5 hours of this and was happy to be there.

As I sat in the waiting room for a little while, I took a few pictures of the surroundings that would help tell the story. A woman finally came to the desk and smiled as I walked up to her. I told her I was there for Heather and she asked me to wait a moment. She left, came back and said to go to room 60. I would have to go back through security to get a badge and door pass. They were really accomodating and although it had only been 4 years since I was there, I noticed they had changed a few things around. I didn't remember the strict security of the building but thought it was good.

Entering the hall, I noted how hushed it was and took a photograph. Another nurse met me and asked if I was there for Heather. She pointed down the hall, smiling, and asked if I was ok with births and everything. I just nodded knowing she, of course, wouldn't know that this wasn't my first rodeo.

The door was open but lights were dimmed and I tiptoed inside realizing right away that they were in the thick of things. How long ago did this start?? I asked myself. I overheard a nurse say "she's going fast" when I was walking into Triage but didn't know they were talking about Heather. Pulling out my phone I looked at the text. 50 minutes. I was amazed at the progression. She is a rock star, I thought.
Knowing that photographs weren't allowed right then, I waited and listened.
I stood just outside the door wondering if I should even be listening to such a moment but I needed to be close so the nurses could call me to come in.

And so I listened and tears slowly fell down my face as I heard in a tired and nearly defeated voice echo those 4 words that almost all of us have uttered during labor, "I can't do this."
Kyle, her husband, immediately said in a tender and calming voice, "Yes you can, Heather, yes you can. You're doing great." He stressed the word "great" and the nurses all chimed in and said the same thing. She had what sounded to be a big personal cheering section around her. I thought it was funny how at that moment we seem not to care who is at our feet. We just need the encouragement. I did anyway.

I heard Kyle say he could see the baby and that she had lots of dark hair, encouraging Heather to keep going. The nurses were excitedly telling her that it was going to be soon; they could see her and she was doing great, just to hang in there and give it her all. Instinctively, I brought my hands to my mouth in nervousness, waiting to hear that final moment of bearing down. Someone said, "Let's go Heather!" and then at 1:21 am, I heard cheers and was quickly called in.

My eyes were a little misty and the intensity of listening made me forget all about camera settings. Everything was so quick it was hard to not get in the way so I hung back a bit and tried to snap pictures as best I could. It was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget.

Although we had this photo story planned out, it went according to another plan, a perfect one.

*shared with permission


  1. Crying. Love you both. So beautiful!

  2. You have captured amazing moments in stunning shots that will be treasured forever...brilliantly done Laura !!!

  3. Finally getting around to making Andie's baby book and had to re-read this, I probably do it more often than I would like to admit. But I love it. Seriously Laura thank you so much for capturing that special day for us.


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