I initially declined Brynne’s request that I photograph her birth experience. First of all, hospitals for me make me squeamish. Secondly, blood and I are not friends. Third, I always told people if me and Sarah had a baby – I’d be facing the wall throughout the whole birth.
Of course, I was flattered to be asked. I’ve been asked in the past several times but I just didn’t want to do it because of all the above. Once Brynne convinced me I’d do all right and Sarah told me I should do it – I actually got excited about it. Effie Jo was already popular with the masses while she hibernated inside her mom’s tummy. Josh (the pop) apparently was nervous too but please – he was so cool through the whole thing. I think he had more of “excited jitters” because the morning I met up with them before her scheduled C-section – he was all smiles, nothing else.
At the end of February – Brynne texted me and said “OMG – Contractions!!!! Mom’s picking me up at work to go to the doc – keep your phone handy…..” My adrenaline was zooming up the roof. I was pumped. I was excited. Come to find out – they sent her home. DAMN.
Sure enough, Effie Jo hung out in Brynne’s belly till her scheduled date – March 6th.
Sarah and I woke up early that morning to head out to the Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge to meet the expecting couple. We stopped for coffee and breakfast at CC’s off Airline. I felt good. I took a bath before we left too. Calm was all around me.
We arrive at Woman’s. I’m surprised to be as calm as I am. This whole thing is definitely something thought I’d be a bunch of nerves with. Josh just spread his “excited jitters” over to me which was a good thing! We saw Brynne all prepped up with a couple of her family members around chatting. Everyone was so excited obviously and so ready for Effie Jo to arrive.
The nurse told Josh and I to put on our outfits. I forget what you call them? The throw away scrubs. I put mine on. I imagined that I was in a weird horror movie (Flatliners) then I envisioned I was one of the hot doctors (let me dream) on Grey’s Anatomy. Brynne and Josh were all smiles while I’m roleplaying in my head.
Once Brynne was in the delivery room, they took quite a while to prep and it was just Josh and I in the hallway waiting… I took some photos including my 366 Day photo for my self portrait seriesJosh was playing with his flip camera (which by the way he did the whole time….. I think we both were even more chill because we had our toys to play with through the whole experience!).
It was time to head into the delivery room. They sat me down right behind Josh. He held Brynne’s hand as they began her C-section. He had that little video thingie flying allover the place. It was cute. Brynne was evidently just feeling all the emotions all at once.
It was weird being in a room full of people who’s faces were covered up with masks. It kind of drove me nuts, but rules are rules. I had to make sure everyone “knew” I was deaf! I wasn’t in the mood for any kind of screaming at me “to move”…. or anything unexpected while snapping away with no clue. Ha.
Before I knew it – Effie Jo was here! I wasn’t as squeamish as I thought I’d be. Brynne and Josh were so happy. It was so evident on their faces.
I got the time on the clock. I realized at that moment I couldn’t SEE anyone to catch “the right time” to take a shot. I just pretty much figured when Effie Jo’s head was sticking out – to take a shot. Sure enough, it was pretty much the right timing. Right? 8:14am.
I was so happy too. For them, for their families, and for Effie Jo to be on this earth welcomed into a beautiful environment. I was happy for myself too for getting to experience it with them.
This was definitely an eye opener for me. Not only as a photographer, but definitely a human being. I am so grateful for this experience and will never forget it.
Brynne & Josh : Thank you so much for trusting me not to pass out in the middle of the whole thing. Thank you for trusting me to capture such a special moment in your lives via photography. It’s an honor.
Effie Jo : It was so amazing to meet you. I can’t wait to see you grow up. I know in 20 years from now that I’ll be telling you I saw you the day you were born. I have pictures to prove it.