Fifteen days ago, I stood in a labor and delivery room as a sister, an aunt and a photographer and witnessed the amazing moment that was the birth of my sweet and precious niece, Harper Olivia. It wasn’t planned (my presence, that is) but after talking to my Mom on the phone the morning that Jen was induced, I felt a tug in my heart that was yearning to be there. My original plan included waiting for my grandparent to visit so we could see them too, so I never considered that I’d actually get to witness the event. We’ll still go back to see the rest of the family in a couple of weeks, but I’m so glad I threw some clothes in a suitcase, grabbed the kid, my camera gear and hit the road that afternoon. I drove six hours, the last 20 miles in a nasty storm, and we arrived at the hospital around 6 p.m., just over an hour before Harper was born. Whew!

Harper didn’t enter the world without causing a little bit of drama. First, I’m happy to report that all is wonderful and Jen and Jacob have a healthy little girl, but when you see some of the photos just after the birth you might be asking yourself, “What’s going on?”. The answer is best described in Jen’s personal account of Harper’s birth, but I’ll give you the short version. Harper got a bit stressed just before birth, pooped and subsequently swallowed some of the meconium. A team from NICU was present to treat Harper immediately after birth and the next morning she was given a good health report. I make it sound like it was no big deal, but believe me there was certainly an unsettling feeling in the air until we had word from the medical team that little Harper was going to be just fine. Like I said, she made a dramatic entrance and, frankly, I think she’s going to be demanding our attention for quite some time.

For anyone who’s curious, this was my first time photographing a birth, but not the first time I’ve photographed in a hospital setting. Medical buildings are tricky to photograph in, with restrictions as to when and where you can photograph, and it can be very limiting sometimes. Thankfully, Jen had an understanding doctor who, having no prior notice that I’d be there, allowed me to stay in the room to document the birth. As you’ll see, I was able to capture some very meaningful and story-telling moments without any special permission or access. I just tried to respect the doctor and medical team’s space as best I could, knowing that sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission when snapping a photo. (I’m not encouraging that approach, just saying that’s my strategy sometimes).

If you’re moved by these images and expecting a child, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to meet with you to discuss options for documenting your child’s birth.  I’ll only consider taking on a small  number of these commissions, though, due to the “on-call” nature of this type of photography. Contact me now to take advantage of one of these limited sessions!

And now I introduce to you: Olivia Harper Williams, born May 11, 2011 at 7:22 p.m., weighing 7 lbs 9 oz and measuring 21.5 inches long. Needless to say, I’m a proud and gushing Aunt!