Client Stories-A baby at 34 weeks

If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, then the NICU must be the saddest.
— Kristen

I’m always in awe of my clients’ birth stories. There is something so enthralling when a client shares how their little one entered this world. I love hearing all the details such as when they went into labor, how long everything took, and what the birth was like.

While every birth story is different, some birth stories begin after the baby has already been born.

That was Kristen’s story.

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The first time I met Kristen was when she showed up at the studio for her newborn photography session. She had emailed me a few days prior and asked if I had any openings for newborn pictures.

In her email, Kristen proceeded to inform me that her daughter was 6 weeks old. She was born at 34 weeks and had been released from the NICU a few weeks before Christmas. She was hoping to get some newborn photos taken of her little baby as well as a few of her older daughters.

To be honest, the studio was on its annual 3 week holiday which allows me time to catch everything up before the year-end. During this time, I also tear everything apart and make a huge mess getting things ready for the new year.

But not once did I tell her any of that.

There was something about her email that called to me. I could feel the urgency in her words. There was even the slightest tone of hope that she might possibly get her pictures back in time for Christmas.

Knowing that she had just gotten her baby home made my decision to open the studio and hide all of my projects really easy. I happily scheduled her newborn photo session 10 days before Christmas and ensured her that she would have all of her images back just in time.

Babies hold such a special place in my heart and they tend to come when they please. So I am never one to turn down a newborn photo session. Even when everything is in major transition I will still try to find a way.

With Kristen, there was a big driving force to get her in the studio as soon as possible. Between her birth story, family coming into town and her sense of urgency to get her pictures back before Christmas, I was driven to make this newborn photo shoot happen.  

When Kristen arrived at the studio she had two beautiful blonde haired girls by her side. She held her new baby close to her chest with one hand and was grasping a Starbucks drink in the other. My first impression was “This isn't her first rodeo.” Only a mom of three can look that calm and together getting out of the car.

There is just something about a mom with 3 kids that I’m instantly drawn too. I don’t know if it’s because I have 3 kids of my own and I can relate. Or if it’s knowing that the third child is pure bliss because you have navigated the waters a few times before.

Either way, that sense of peace and comfort radiated from her.

After she came in and got situated we started chatting. She was filling me in on her experience in the NICU and one of the first things she said was,

“If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, then the NICU must be the saddest.”

That statement really hit home.

She went on to tell me what their daily routines looked like. The challenges that she and her husband faced while having two other kids at home yet still needing to be at the hospital full time. She shared about the fear she felt when any piece of equipment would randomly start to beep. As well as the struggle of balancing hope and guilt with so many other, sicker babies surrounding them.

Before I ever photographed her precious newborn who faced so much during those long weeks, I got to learn all about her birth story. I know all mothers are built tough, but in my opinion, NICU moms are the toughest.

With all the challenges her little one faced I couldn’t help but feel such an overwhelming sense of honor when I got to hold her for the first time.

Kristen’s story has resonated with me on such a deep level. It really puts into perspective how fragile yet strong newborns can be. During her stay in the NICU, Kristen became friends with the nurses and other NICU moms who were going through a similar experience. She had told me that even though she never thought she would make friends under those kinds of circumstances, she now has a deep bond and connection with the other moms that will last a lifetime.

Once she finished sharing her NICU stories with me, I got to work photographing her amazing fighter girl. She was such a dreamy delight and her sisters were great as well.

All of the clothing and props you see here were borrowed from the studio wardrobe. Kristen wasn’t even planning on being in any photos with her girls but I have a sweet yet pushy way of encouraging moms to step in front of the camera with their kids. I know as time passes she will be so glad she did.

With a little help from the studio wardrobe, these 4 lovely ladies created an elegant newborn gallery that will be treasured for a lifetime.

If you love these images and are interested in a photo shoot of your own, please contact me here.

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