Happy birthday baby girl! More coming soon!
Happy birthday baby girl! More coming soon!
A long road of infertility and heartache leaves Rotha and David in a place where their joy and grief collide. Experiencing a pain that no parents should ever have to face. These babies were seven years in the making, but Rotha will say the story started last February when she lost her grandmother. A few months passed and she knew her Grandmother had a hand in finally blessing her womb with not one but two little babies! With a bittersweet due date almost exactly on Grandmother’s birthday! Months passed and excitement built as the babies were growing so healthy. Then at a regularly scheduled ultrasound a few wks ago, almost exactly one year after losing her Grandmother, Rotha immediately knew something wasn’t right by the reactions of the technician. At 32 wks gestation, for an unknown reason, Hudson’s heart just stopped beating. From perfectly healthy kicking that morning to an angel in the blink of an eye. 🙁 Because Emerson was doing so well in her own sac, Dr. Knipper wanted her to continue to grow as strong as possible for life outside the womb. For the next two weeks, Rotha bravely swallowed back the agony and tears as she continued to carry and love both her babies. A reality that turned into an impossible nightmare that she woke up to each day as she resided on bedrest in the hospital.
Rotha originally contacted me to shoot this birth but I wasn’t allowed in the OR so we didn’t follow through. Then a very sweet mutual friend reached out to give me the news last month and asked me to be present as these gamut of emotions would eventually unfold. Dr Knipper and the Good Sam staff generously bent the rules to allow me to be present during the cesarean as they knew Emerson would be whisked to the NICU and the few moments the twins would share outside the womb as a family of 4 would happen only in the OR. Not only were they gracious in allowing me to be in the room, they pulled down the drape to give me the chance to really get all the good stuff happening! So thankful for the kind hearts of that staff and the empathy they shared to let me capture every second I could of these sweet babies together! I’m certain Emerson will be forever grateful for the moments captured as her teeny hand grasped her brother’s.
Both babies came out footling breach, which was a sight to see! Emerson is a tiny fighter but at only 34ish weeks at 3lbs 3oz and 17″ she could only hang out with us for a few minutes before David and I followed her to the NICU. When we left her, she was stable without additional support, so David wanted to be with Hudson and Rotha so the family could meet their new angel and baptize him. You’ll notice I’m not going to share much of sweet Hudson, as the state of his 2lb 14oz and 13″ fragile body succumbed in the womb after 2 plus weeks of being an angel. Rotha and David truly believe he “took one for the team” and gave up his life so she could thrive. His first selfless and protective actions as a big brother.
I know personally, that what once was will always be if we speak of them often and proudly. Hudson will always be near and I hope you never forget the weight of his delicate body as he laid on your chest. Thank you for inviting me into such a private and sacred moment in your lives. I will never forget the way your babies and your story has touched my life. As always, I pray for peace to surpass all understanding and strength as you balance and navigate your way through such extreme emotions in the days that lie ahead. Much love to the Brauntz and Penn families.
***Warning: There are some surgery images that may be considered graphic. I find them all beautiful but I see this type of thing on the regular so I know others may be squeamish.
Happy birthday to both sweet babies and happy angelversary to big brother. <3 More coming soon of these special twins.
Around two weeks prior to estimated due dates I start to get anxious. Will I have a babysitter, will I be able to go to events planned, will I be getting up in the middle of the night to rush to a delivery? The logistics behind birth photography are kind of a nightmare, especially now that I have 4 kids. But births like threepeat BB mama and warrior, Erin, reminds me to stay in the game even though it’s riddled with anxiety and exhaustion. The raw emotion followed by the bliss. It’s a high I will never find elsewhere unless I’m the one laboring. And documenting those sweet love filled moments like Erin so beautiful in her freshly postpartum state gazing at her husband skin to skin with their new babe. LOVE!
At just about 42 weeks, LAST Monday, Erin tried to evacuate this baby out of her. She didn’t want an induction but when it’s your third baby and you’re knocking on the door of two weeks “late,” you’re not tryin to stay pregs forever. Assuming it would be a day time birth I had to line up 3 sitters to cover my time before Adam was home. Hours ticked away but unfortunately Erin’s cervix did not. Soon it was dinner time. Then bed time. Then a text came at the 22nd hr of induction that no progress had been made besides utter exhaustion so Dr Bowen sent her home. (I love that man. Errybody loves that man.) A few day’s later they did a Non Stress which was great and measured the babe at 9.7lbs (and our US tech is always on the money!) and set another induction for the following Monday but with prayers she’d go sooner!
Nearly 43 weeks, Erin checked in bNorth at 6am with an open mind for God’s perfect alignment. She said she had tried it her way and failed so let His will be done. They tried an artificial water break this time which meant she wasn’t leaving without baby in arms and officially on the hospital’s clock. A few hours later contractions induced by the pit had her rocking and rolling during some hydrotherapy. Mark and I chatted and I told him that after all the stress of waiting for this birth I WAS NOT MISSING IT. So once my sitter arrived I went ahead on the road even though he hadn’t asked me to. And whaddya know? Ten min later it was about to be my turn at the drive thru window to get a sandwich and he says, “She feels pushy.” Ducked right out of that line and floored it in true Mothership mode in under 20min. You guys. There were NO spots in that damn hospital lot. None. I circled. I begged for someone to pull out. No one listened and I had to sprint with cameras slapping against both hips, backpack of lenses bouncing on my back. I made it to the room to see her bottom up with a head the size of a tennis ball crowning. Enough time to lean on my knees and not die from lack of breath and muscle cramps. Alas! I made it! When I stopped panting to see the room all laughing at me, I took the only available space at Erin’s ankles, which is not ideal as I try to avoid the not so modest money shot. Erin is actually a nurse at bNorth in the Mom/Baby unit so she was totally cool with my position.
The control this BA mama had. I mean his very large, practically 3mth sized head, was fully crowned to eyebrows for minutes. She didn’t let out but a soft moan. She didn’t tense or rock or even move! She just let her body do it’s thing as the rest of us watched in complete awe. Dr Bowen eased him out bit by bit and we were shocked at his very short umbilical cord! You’ll see in the images that she couldn’t even get him near her chest! Eventually they laid together in bliss that she was finally no longer pregnant and his hands rested near her necklace reading “Fearless.” No doubt, 100% accurate. Little butter ball was 9.12lb and 21 1/4 inches and so calm. Things progressed naturally with the recovery until Erin started complaining her cramps were unbearable. Then she couldn’t even hold Asher because she was crippling in pain. He went skin to skin with Mark while we watched Erin turn white and her BP drop from 120/75 to 60/40. The most amazing nurse that ever was, Kate, alerted staff and the room quickly filled.
A Dr assessed via ultrasound that Erin’s uterus wasn’t able to clamp down for what could have been multiple reasons such as, 3rd pregnancy and big baby. Instead of hemorrhaging, her body was developing multiple very large clots. She was still alert enough to communicate and yelled she wanted to push, which was alarming since she had already delivered the baby and placenta over an hour prior. I stood near the foot of the bed watching as she pushed this explosion of clots and blood out. I’ve never seen anything like it and it was so much that we actually jumped and gasped, “oh my God!” The nurse weighed the blood loss in at 1850cc. Now let me put this in perspective for you. With delivery she didn’t even lose 100cc. That means in one moment she expelled 62ish ounces of blood! WHAT. Once she was stabilized again and comfortable on morphine, we were able to get close again. As you’ll also see in the slideshow her Fearless necklace had flipped in the chaos and ironically now read, “REST” as she laid loopy and barely awake. She said she had it made in prep for this birth and once he was here, she’d claim rest over herself. Well, that was one way force yourself to do it!! Shoot, girl!! Since it had then been hours since the birth and she hadn’t made it to breastfeeding, the superhero nurses, used Erin’s draaaained body for her and fed Asher. I just loved watching that. Her coworkers and friends now part of her village.
Welcome Asher, you sure did live up to your name of “blessed and happy.”
***Some images are a bit more graphic in nature than I usually share but Erin was all, share it all! I don’t care! 🙂 So if you’re not a birth junkie, you may want to look away as the rest of us find it incredible beautiful what our bodies can do!!***
Happy Birthday baby boy!! Can’t wait to share more of this crazy day! More soon! 🙂