Posted on August 4, 2018
As a Seattle birth photographer, I know that part of my job in capturing these birth stories is to help mothers get the chance to heal, if only in some small way.
When this beautiful couple explained their history to me, a feeling of calmness swept over me. Everyone who approaches me to document their birth story is doing so for the memories, the love, and more. But this Mama needed to have these moments to keep and hold forever. A rainbow birth story is not one I believe I should ever need to photograph for a mother, but as we all know, forever doesn’t always get to happen.
This Mama received her Rainbow–her hope after the storm–with fear, strength, worry, and love. I believe I did witness a small piece of her heart heal that day.
Please continue reading this Mama’s story, in her own words (have some tissues handy.)
One line.. wait, was that first line there? I can’t tell.
Hold on, let me try another one..
That looks like two lines.. but that first line is way too light so it can’t be two lines; probably just a faulty test.
Digital test.. negative. Okay then. Maybe next month.
The thoughts that raced through my mind in the Fred Meyer bathroom before we headed out to what would obviously be an alcohol induced game of “I’m totally going to beat your dad at trivia tonight” and as he would know it- royally fail at. No way, that line was there! No way was there two lines! We bought another test with different colored dye, followed by that digital test that quickly showed “negative”. Okay, I’m totally going to beat your dad at trivia tonight.
Well, those two lines WERE there and they were growing darker and darker by the minute. June 30th, the wedding anniversary of your grandparents, we found out that you were officially growing in my womb. I got to surprise your dad with an early birthday announcement and it felt like we were on the start to all of our hopes and dreams finally coming true.
Breathe, you made it to 12 weeks, there’s a heart beat.
I know there’s a heart beat because I listen to it every day that I get home from work.
A boy? Really? Can I have another boy? What will that feel like?
20 weeks, okay is his heart going to be okay? Are we sure? We need to check again.
22 weeks, okay it really IS okay, but if he makes it here, I’m going to have them check it again… just to be sure.
24 weeks, that’s the start of some form of “quality of life”, wait.. we could actually have this baby and he could maybe… live?
28 weeks. Borderline IUGR diagnosis- Again? I have to worry about this, again? I thought I was spared from this, the odds were so minimal?
32 weeks. 32 weeks is good because I will have an ultrasound every week to check on you. A non stress test, an ultrasound; rinse and repeat.
33 weeks, okay we are still borderline IUGR, but you’re growing.. so we’ve got this. We’ve totally got this.
35 weeks. Wow, 35 weeks?! Some babies don’t even see the NICU at 35 weeks! Please don’t die. I can’t make it this far and you die. 37 weeks. Wow, 37 weeks. I’ve been pregnant this long, once.. once before and he didn’t live for long, so I need you to come NOW. Wait, why can’t he come now? “No medical reasons”. I’ll give you medical reasons! I can’t take this, I can’t take the risk of losing another baby.
One more week? More like day by day..
38 weeks. Wow, I’ve REALLY never been pregnant this long. One more week and you’ll for sure be here.
38 weeks + 3 days. Here we go,
It was a Tuesday morning and we walked into our weekly ultrasound and non stress test thinking nothing more than how excited we were to see you on the sonogram again. I had touched bases with our birth photographer, Erin, earlier in the week and let her know we were really playing it by ear, day by day really, at this point. We were preparing our bags here and there, and that morning your dad had this inclination to grab all of our bags and load up the car. Silly me, thought, “Why would we do that? We aren’t having this baby until Saturday, and if we do pack the bags, then he’s definitely not coming!”.
I had showered that morning. Which is 100% out of character for me.
I had showered that morning, And refused to pack the bags into the car, so of course that meant you were coming.
It was only a few moments into our ultrasound that we saw your fluid levels had decreased quite a bit from the week before. They had been a rollercoaster the entire month of February, and as much as I wanted a reason to be induced, I was not expecting that to be the reason. The ultrasound tech walked us through what was going on, and I quickly replied with a, “Can you please just go grab our doctor, she’s going to induce us today once you tell her those numbers”. Your dad and I sat in the room waiting for them to come back with what felt like a FOREVER amount of time passing. We sat there saying over and over “Whoa, are we having a baby today? Is this really happening?” as both excitement and anxiety grew and grew.
I told your dad to send Grandma the text saying “10″ because that was our code for baby is coming and there’s no turning back now! She was at work teaching and needed to get a sub in so she could make the trek up to be with us.
The ultrasound tech came back in and said, “Let’s just take you over for your non stress test”. We didn’t even make it hooked up to the monitors before the doctor came in and said, “It’s time! You’re having a baby today!”
Thankfully we were able to go home and grab our bags because dad needed a shower, and mom needed a few minutes to realize what the hell was happening. This was the last time we would leave our home as just the two of us, because we were hopefully returning with you.
We made it back to the hospital at noon, and by 1pm we were all set up in our delivery room and met our wonderful nurse who’d be with us for a few hours. I had group B strep and had to have antibiotics for 2 hours before we could really get the process started.
Grandma made it by 2pm and the first thing we did was show her your name on the letter board I had put together. Your dad and I kept your name a secret the entire pregnancy and made bets who would be the one to ruin it! Luckily neither of us did and showing Grandma your name in person was one of the sweetest moments of my life. We had spent so many weeks scouring every source we could to find your name; to find the right name. One that had meaning but was strong and beautiful all at the same time. So we were both overwhelmed with excitement to finally be able to share it because it was your name; the perfect name.
Around 3pm we got hooked up with the Pitocin and were able to walk around a little bit before getting settled in to get my epidural. I had wanted a “natural”, non-medicated birth but after talking with the nurse about how quickly labor could potentially go, I decided it was best to focus on my emotional well being to prepare for meeting you because I was still 10000000% in denial that that was even going to happen. The epidural was the absolute right choice because my doctor came in at 5pm and broke my water, and the show was officially on the road!
At 7:30 when the nurse checked how far dilated I was, I was still stuck at the same 5cm I had been since my water was broken. I was determined this was going to be a long night and cuddled into bed to try to get some sleep and rest for what was to come.
Little did I know that the abrupt pressure that came at 9pm was the start of the most life changing moments of our lives. I called the nurse back in and told her I felt a burning sensation and she asked if maybe my epidural was wearing off. I asked her to check me again and low and behold she looked up and said, “You’re ready to push. It’s time for me to call the doctor!” The look of excitement on everyone’s faces around me was the most overwhelming experience. I wasn’t ready! What was I doing? What did I sign up for?
Tears instantly poured down my face and I don’t think I saw through them for at least an hour after they started. Hearing those words and realizing what was about to come, it all hit me at once. I was going to be having a baby again. I was going to meet you. I was going to hear you cry and hold you. Oh my god, I was going to HOLD you. Something my arms have longed for for a long 7 years and something I knew I could never truly understand until it happened.
Push. Push. Push. Each contraction and push felt like an hour because the epidural wore off and I felt every ounce of pain, and doubted my body could get you here. It was the words and the confidence of your dad and your grandma that kept me going and reminded me how strong I was and how much we all wanted to just meet you.
26 minutes of pushing and you were here. I pulled you up to my chest and I held you. You were beautiful. You were perfect. You were more than I ever dreamed you could be. You gave me the best experience I could have asked for with your birth. I wanted that unmedicated birth but instead my epidural wore off and I still got to feel all that my body was doing and be in control of bringing you here. I had the strength to persevere through the pain, to clench the bed with hands and channel all of the emotions that were coming through me to bringing you here. And through the endless tears that filled the room, my entire world opened to something new that night and in those first few moments with you.
Grandma added, “There was this transition. You held him by your palms but your fingers were outstretched. As he settled into you, your hands settled and your fingers relaxed around him. I kept telling myself…. just wait, she’s nervous…. and when your hands curled around him and you hiked him up a little closer I knew you believed you actually had a baby in your arms.”
And she’s so right, my arms were full of everything I had never known and everything I had ever longed for.
My dear son, you are not a replacement for the journey I endured so many years ago. You are a dream that has been fulfilled from the first conversations your dad and I ever had; cuddled up in bed talking all night about what we wanted in life. I never knew I could be a mom again, I never knew I would have the strength or the desire to endure so much, but those moments of holding you will forever fill my heart in new ways. And each day that I watch you grow, I will treasure each and every second of that. You have brought new life into my life and changed every ounce of what endless love looks and feels like for us.
You son, are the rainbow after my storm, and the joy in all of our lives.
Erin DuPree is a licensed and insured professional, and happy to offer services as an Issaquah Birth Photographer, Kirkland Birth Photographer, Redmond Birth Photographer, and Seattle Birth Photographer.
Posted on June 5, 2018
As a Seattle birth photographer, there’s often an immense flood of emotions filling me to the brim when I witness the entrance of a new little person into this world. A surefire way to squeeze a few tears out of me is to see a mama labor and deliver with such a strong partner by her side. He was her breath, and her rock, and stood calm at every minute.
The lovely ladies at the Puget Sound Birth Center in Kirkland were wonderful and warm with their tender care and expertise. Just a day earlier, this couple made the sudden decision to follow their hearts and switch their birth from the care of a hospital , where they previously delivered their other 2 children, to this quiet and unassuming birth center. Here you can read, in her own words, the story of this mama’s journey to having her much loved and longed for, 3rd baby.
Posted on October 20, 2017
As a Seattle family photographer, I’m often asking: What are some of the things you value the most? For many, it’s the candid moments captured during family photos, whether by yourself, or a professional family photographer.
A photograph is powerful. Very few objects hold the ability to flood our minds and hearts with such strong emotions, like a photo of your child.
The color of a baby’s eyes may change a few times before settling to their final hue. One day you’ll look back upon a certain photo and remember just when you realized the final color of her beautiful eyes.
With one family photo, you can remember how she used to giggle if you whispered in her ear.
For at least a short while, she was small enough to fit on your hip.
…and so tiny you could hold her hands to help her jump in the air!
One day she will outgrow her mommy’s lap…
…but she will never outgrow her mommy’s heart.
Posted on August 20, 2017
As a Seattle family photographer, I aim to create photos out of real moments just like the ones you’ll see below. Lifestyle sessions are a great way to ensure your family is comfortable, and enjoys the process.
This sweet Seattle family contacted me to photograph their little family inside their absolutely adorable tiny yellow home. Freddy had just celebrated 7 months earth-side, so perfect timing! He was so smiley, playful, and full of hugs and affection. We had a blast, and captured some truly special moments that this family will always cherish.
Posted on August 17, 2017
As an Issaquah newborn photographer, I’m always in awe over the abundant light in so many of the homes in the Issaquah Highlands, even on an overcast day.
This sweet Issaquah family welcomed me into their home to help capture these sweet newborn photos to commemorate the arrival of their third little boy! The two older brothers were so gentle and in love with him. Looking ahead, I can only imagine the fun they will all have together.
Interested in booking a lifestyle newborn photographer for your baby? Contact me to book or to learn more!
Posted on May 25, 2017
Let’s face it–having a Seattle newborn photographer take photos in your own home sounds a bit nerve wracking, right? You worry about the kids, the dog, whether the baby will be crying the whole time, and you worry about what you should wear.
I’m here to tell you that it’s OK. Relax, and enjoy the moment. I’m just a nearly silent observer, allowing your family to go about their usual routine, with just a few small nudges toward the light.
It’s ok to jump off the furniture, just this once! (Ok, only if Mom says yes. )
Posted on May 5, 2017
As a Seattle maternity photographer, I get to meet so many beautiful people. Melissa invited me into their lovely vintage-styled home to help photograph their final days as a Family of 3.
Miss Hadley, aka Big Sister, had the biggest smile, an infectious laugh, and a mighty desire to move move move–as every nearly-2 year old should. Toddlers are the absolute best part of this job. I need more of Hadley in my life. This job, as a family photographer in Seattle, is made sweeter for getting to meet little people like her!
During any lifestyle photography session, the goal is to tell the story of a real family in their real home. That means games with the kids, reading books, show and tell, and even snack time! There’s no pressure to act a certain way, or stand still and say “cheese.” Silly, energetic children can let their REAL smiles shine when the cameras are brought to them!
The vintage decor, and light shining through the windows made this session and photos simply effortless. I’m considering hiring Melissa to come personally decorate my own home.
Stay tuned for more photos of this family of FOUR once I’ve met their new addition for newborn photos!
Posted on January 5, 2017
As a Seattle maternity photographer, I often get asked about the weather and how it might affect your session. Our Seattle Autumn’s tend to be quite dreary and dark, but don’t let that discourage you from your desire to have beautiful maternity photos to document your pregnancy. As a maternity photographer, I can capture beautifully tender moments with the tiniest amount of light from a single window. The use of dramatic light can add an interesting dimension to your beloved images.
There’s no need to have a Pinterest home. These are YOUR moments, and they deserve to be captured.
Posted on January 3, 2017
Being a Seattle newborn photographer means a lot of driving, which I’m always happy to do for my wonderful client families. I personally live on the Eastside, so when this wonderful couple contacted me and said they were looking for a newborn photographer in Redmond, it turned out they were super close to my own home!
Their lifestyle newborn session took my breath away. Their home had beautiful light, and we were even able to have a short session at a local Christmas tree farm for those first Christmas photos as a family of 3! So many perfect moments were captured with this sweet, darling girl, and her family will be cherishing them for years to come in a beautiful photo album.
Posted on November 14, 2016
Being a professional Birth photographer in Seattle is exhilarating. It’s full of ups and downs, and beautiful emotions. Something even a bit more incredible, is watching a woman fight through her fears to successfully give birth vaginally after having a previous cesarean – called a VBAC in the birthing community.
As a Seattle birth photographer, I am constantly in awe over the job that I have, especially because of all the new people I am able to meet. Some of these people are brand new to this world, and others are a bit more seasoned. One of the lovely people I met during this birth is a wonderful doula, Ildi Sebestyen. It was a joy to work with her and to witness the power of such a kind and wonderful soul, and I hope to have the pleasure of working alongside her again in the very near future. She was such a tremendous support for this laboring mama, and a huge aid in her success.
Little miss Addison was born to an incredibly strong mother, and welcomed by her happy father, and new big brother.
If you are searching for a Seattle Birth Photographer, I would love to treat you to tea and pastries while we chat and get to know each other. Contact me today!