Lately, we’ve been incredibly busy with engagement sessions, meetings, workshops and a little bit of personal time off that that blogging anything outside of weddings and all things related has been put off. I hope that doesn’t sound like complaining, we’re happy to be busy and we love what we do!
This blog post, though, is not wedding related (sort of!). This is my story of my experience and journey witnessing and photographing the miracle of baby Adrienne’s birth.
Just over a month ago, Dan and I were over at our friends’ apartment in Tsawwassen enjoying an evening of dinner, drinks and Pictionary. Little did I know, at this same time our good friends and fellow wedding photographers Gina & Chris Chong of Butter Studios (who were expecting their first baby a few weeks from this point) were pondering the idea of having someone photograph their baby’s birth. I received a Facebook message from Gina during the game just before 10pm asking if I would be available and interested in photographing her delivery. Honestly, my jaw literally dropped. I love surprises. Love love love surprises!! This was a huge surprise to me. I quickly told Dan (who I think was kind of caught off guard!) and replied instantly with a YES! My heart was racing, I was warming up, I couldn’t believe what I had signed up to do, I was incredibly excited!!!! Whoa, whoa, whoa….slow down, Kat….wait a sec….
A little tidbit about Kat: I pass out when blood is involved. EASILY. I passed out in grade 7 when I saw a little boy fall, hit his head, and bleed all over. I got dizzy in grade 9 when I sliced my pinky finger cutting a bagel for breakfast. I passed out at the theatre during the movie 127 Hours and nearly passed out during Prometheus (yes….Prometheus…I know!!). So I don’t have a good history with blood and gore, even when it’s completely fake. Yet somehow I love the show Dexter? I can’t explain.
Sitting on my friend’s couch, I began to worry that as much as I wanted to be part of this experience and be the one to document this birth for our good friends Gina and Chris, I would not be a good candidate. I started to visualize myself arriving to the delivery room, instantly hitting the floor, the nurses and doctors worrying about me in the midst of Gina giving birth and failing to capture these amazing moments for them.
Well, to be blunt, my curiosity, excitement and well…probably stupidity got the best of me. I brushed off the high probability of me fainting and got ready for this event.
It wasn’t until 4 days later that I got the text. Being on call for 4 days is utterly nerve racking. I was staying over at my mom’s in New Westminster to be closer to Royal Columbian Hospital where the Gina was to deliver. Shortly after 4am on April 20th, I woke up on my own accord, anxious for a phone call. I was on my mom’s couch when Chris texted me that Gina was 3 cm dilated and that I could make my way over slowly, to eat breakfast and get some caffeine in me before heading over. I did so! With few lights on, I quietly made some breakfast trying not to wake up my mom and sister. I quietly brushed my teeth, put on a bit of blush so I didn’t look so dead….next text from Chris literally 15 minutes later, “8cm!!! Quick haha.“
O.M.G. Lights on, grab my stuff, run over a cat or two, opening doors, slamming doors, tripping over my sister’s bags as I run into her room to grab a huge Toberlone bar (advice from my nursing friend was to eat sugar/chocolate before hand to try to help prevent fainting), where are my keys, where’s my cell, camera, CF cards, oh no what’s the phone number to New Westminster’s taxi drivers…!!
As you can tell, I freaked out a bit. I ran out of my mom’s apartment frantically calling a cab. Cab arrives, tell the poor guy to haul ass to Royal Columbia. I’m shoving triangles of Toberlone chocolate down my throat, I’m sweating, I start to shed layers. Less than 10 minutes we’re there. I’ve got my credit card ready. It doesn’t read. Cabby tries again. Doesn’t read. SERIOUSLY!!?? For all I know, the baby has already been delivered. I give him my other credit card. IT READS! Grab receipt, race into EMERGENCY. It’s dark. No one around. There are glass doors locking me out to where the elevators are. AHHH!! There’s life! Run to a clerk behind a desk and ask for directions to maternity.
“Are you family?” she asks.
“No, photographing a friend’s delivery!!” I reply in a rushed manner.
“Oh, well that’s interesting…“
Damn it woman, elevators!!! She opens the glass doors, I run what feels a mile to the elevators across the lobby. I push ’2′ for maternity. 15 seconds go by. I’m so frantic I don’t notice that I didn’t press the button hard enough and I’m not moving. DOH! Press it again. We’re moving. I get out, turn the corner, more glass doors damn it! Press a buzzer, glass doors open, eyes scanning for delivery room 7. I hear screams. I hear Chris’ voice. He’s saying, “Umm….maybe we should wait for Kat…” (Really Chris??)
I throw my crap on the floor, camera is on, and like a robot, I just do my job. Within 20 minutes or so, baby Adrienne is born at 4:55am, April 20th, 2013. I didn’t faint, didn’t throw up, nothing fazed me. I attribute that to Toberlone chocolate and the insane adrenaline that was running through my blood.
I honestly can’t describe the feelings I had watching Gina during the 20 minutes before baby Adrienne was born. I was in utter awe of the power and stamina of a woman’s body and mind. I’ve never witnessed a birth before. I know it’s a part of life, it’s going to be something I go through in my future, but it is truly something else when you’re right there and it’s REAL. Chris was very quiet during the process. I could sense his feelings of helplessness and being stuck in place where he couldn’t do anything to take away any pain for Gina. Though in awe of these moments, I also felt like I was being invasive, as much as I knew that I was asked to be there. I didn’t know what they were expecting from me, and I didn’t know what to expect of myself. I’ve never seen delivery photos before! I didn’t want to impede, cross any boundaries, upset anyone, but I photographed what I felt at that time was important and what I would want to see afterwards if I were Gina, or any mother.
Baby Adrienne was born with all 10 fingers and 10 toes and healthy as could be. In Chris’ words, Gina was superwoman. Words will never explain how honoured, grateful, thankful, humbled, and joyous to have been asked to photography Adrienne’s birth. Thank you Gina and Chris for allowing me to have been part of this milestone in your lives. Truly, truly from the depths of my heart, thank you.
Dan and I were lucky to photograph Gina, Chris and baby Addy a week and half later at our loft and enjoy the company of their little family.
Congrats! Much love from Kat & Dan!