I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. That if you put out into the world your hopes, dreams and good deeds that God brings situations back into your life that you could never have imagined would impact you the way they end up doing. True story.
Last Spring I received a birth inquiry from an incredible woman named Katie asking if I was interested and able to photograph her birth in November, as the child she was carrying was as a surrogate for another incredible couple from out of state and their genetic child. Katie thought that having the birth photographed would be an amazing experience for everyone, but mainly for the baby’s parents, Kristin & Tom, so they could be fully and completely IN the moments of welcoming their first child. I was absolutely on board and so intrigued, as this option was something Daniel and I talked about as a possible way of growing our family after years of heartbreaking infertility before even receiving this email.
Over the months that followed, I instantly connected with Kristin, Tom, Katie and her adoring family. I first met them in the summer when we did their maternity photos after finding out what gender they were having and it was such a joy to be able to witness this experience from an outside perspective and see how positively wonderful surrogacy is. To say it’s a gift would be an understatement, I honestly can’t think of a word that describes the giving & sacrifice, the joy, the hope, the healing that surrogacy means.
November came upon us oh so quickly and before we knew we were all gathered for lunch a day after baby Miles was “due” and joking how he wasn’t making any indication that he was coming any time soon. A day and a half later, at just after 3AM, my cell phone sang “Push It!” by Salt N Peppa, waking me out of a deep sleep that labor had begun and they were on the way to the hospital. At first I told Kristin to call me back when they got to the hospital to let me know what Katie’s status was but after I hung up, I got this feeling that was telling me I needed to GO. So I did and when I found Katie in triage getting checked in, she was ‘just’ at a 4 and I figured it may be a little while so I gave her space and found Kristin & Tom in the waiting room. By this time it was about 4:20AM, just barely an hour after I got the call.
It was kind of a surreal experience waiting in a waiting room during labor with BOTH parents. I was telling Kristin & Tom usually when I’m out waiting with family members I get nervous of missing something but since I was out there with parents, I was feeling comfortable and confident. Then their doctor burst through the doors, obviously having just woke up and a little disorientated on where to go (it was kind of funny). Usually when your doctor arrives, it means its delivery time and to refrain from getting everyone frazzled, I suggested to Tom that he try to get a hold of Katie’s hubby to find out what was going on back there. A few minutes later we got a “BABY IS COMING!” text and high tailed it to the room!
Yep, she went from a 4 to a 10 in about 15 minutes! I would have missed it if I didn’t follow my Jiminy Cricket and left when I knew I should. And another 15 minutes after we got into the room, this happened…
Initially when I made the video I abided by the surrogacy contract in place for Katie’s privacy. I thought since the birth went so fast and I couldn’t include Katie in the video, that I would instead just focus on Miles, and I LOVE the video. It makes me teary every time!! But after Katie viewed the video and the images, she explained how through this journey it’s become a part of her story as well as Kristin, Tom’s and baby Miles and she finds joy in sharing it! Which I’m so thankful, as the image below is one-in-a-million. Katie had written on her Facebook about this moment after the birth when Tom, leaning over his wife cradling their son, reached over and held Katie’s hand, saying Thank You! through the tears, and how much it meant to her. And I’m over here like “I have a picture of that exact second in time!!” These are the joys in my life! Thrills! Goosebumps. WHY Birth Photography is SO EMPOWERING.
Without Katie and her husband Jared’s willingness to do something indescribably amazing for another couple, one they’d never met before this experience, baby Miles wouldn’t be here. Katie not only gave birth to a child, she literally gave birth and life to a FAMILY. She gave them the world.
Surrogacy isn’t for everyone and that is OK, but for those few who offer to go down this road & journey with others who can’t create a family naturally, it is a life-changing incredible experience for everyone. And for me and Daniel, who have exhausted all other roads to parenthood over a very long period of time, being able to photograph this journey and experience it first hand from the outside looking in has absolutely solidified that we want to grow our family via surrogacy, and will begin the journey sometime in the next year. So please pray for us too, that our prayers may be answered and it can be my turn to hire a birth photographer to capture a day, an oh-so-special day, like this. God has a great way of showing us some creative ways to make our hopes and dreams come true, we just have to be willing to listen!
Thank you Team K! What a joy to come out of this, your photographer, with new life long friends. You’ve blessed me more than I could say. True story.