“Blowing out another’s candle will not make yours shine brighter – Unknown”
Look it’s tough in this industry but this is something I try to live by every single day. I’m not going to lie, I am only human and sometimes it really is hard not getting envious of other’s successes. I do however believe that the only way we are going to make headway in this industry is by collaborating and celebrating one another’s successes. Bill Richardson said;
“We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.”
Man there is a lot of work that still needs to be done here and that is how my Birth Photography Workshop was born.
The field of Birth Photography is fairly new in South Africa and trying to break into the market can be a nightmare, especially if you don’t know where to start. Hospital access is one of the most common head aces for new birth photographers. This is however as easy as knowing the right process to follow and having the right documents.
Your responsibility however don’t stop there. There is also a whole lot of birth etiquette everyone expects you to know and adhere to. Little things that can create a PR nightmare for a hospital and cause hospital doors to close for all birth photographers. As chairperson of the GAUTENG ASSOCIATION OF BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY, educating and assisting new and aspiring photographers is something I truly believe will benefit not only new photographers but the birth industry as a whole.
We will be working through different types of birth scenarios and really getting into the do’s and don’ts of hospitals. Please keep in mind that is an informative workshop and not a practical one as I am yet to find a mom to volunteer to deliver on que 😉 Small groups of only 8 per workshop means loads of time for questions and coffee, leaving feeling equipped and confident.
If you would like to register, please “CLICK HERE“. You only need to pay a R750 non-refundable deposit to secure your seat when registering, the balance will be due 2 days before the workshop.
Should you however need more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
When you are a birth worker, these words are magical, not as much when there is a history of fast deliveries. Ranel birthed her first two babies in record time, we anticipated a 3rd fast delivery. The Dreyer family waited 9 months and a little bit, for this day! (This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24)
Heather (the midwife) was just in time, I however, missed this beautiful girls birth by seconds.
I was welcomed by a dad that was a little flustered, two wide eyed smiling brothers and “tannie Elanie”. They were all mesmerized by what just happened. The atmosphere was loaded with excitement, pretty pink balloons and a beautiful drawing. A drawing of lilies with the meaning of her name, by her mom to help welcome little Lilly-Su.
Lilly: elegant flower, innocence, purity, beauty, humility…Su: gracious Lilly ….Janel: God is gracious.
Ranel was holding her against her breast Johann was wiping tears of gratefulness from his eyes, touching and talking to his perfect little girl, while the two now big brothers was pouring warm water over their brand new baby sister to keep her warm. Priceless moments. Ranel held Lilly-Su ever so gently to float on her back, while Johann cut the umbilical cord, a home birth like they wanted.
A water birth like they imagined, in these moments every prayer were answered and every sacrifice worth it.
I enjoyed listening to the tales of Johann and the boys running up and down to fill the birth bath with water. How they couldn’t get that perfect temperature and had to through ice in to cool down the water. How relieved everyone was when Heather arrived. Just in time to get Ranel into the birthing pool and Lilly-Su safely in her mom’s waiting arms. I loved Lilly-Su’s first birthday party, complete with cupcakes and her family singing happy birthday. Truly a day to rejoice and be glad in.
I missed my very first birth. It saddened me a little bit, but I knew all was well and exactly as it should be because Lilly-Su was fashioned for greatness!
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”- Wayne Dyer
I couldn’t make this birth and was extremely grateful for my back up photographer Lerissa form Lerissa Kemp Photography to step in (This is one of the many things you have to consider when booking a birth photographer, make sure she has a support system in place 😉 ) Even thought these images are not mine, I still love to share birth stories. I feel that they empower woman in their diversity and hope that they could challenge some of those rigid ideas around birth.
One of the things I love most about birth photography is that like every child, every birth is different. Their stories are different, their beginnings are different. This is a story that started with the Absa Cape Epic Entry.
“When you meet your soulmate, and you plan your life according to all the things you love to do together, you think life can not get better. Life is all about planning. Planning things the way you want it to be.
And then life happens….
We thought we would live life and do most of the things before we have children and before we are too old. That was our plan….
As a wife of a keen cyclist (and a keen cyclist herself), what better gift to give your husband than an ABSA Cape Epic entry? I thought it was a good idea to TRY to enter but in the back of my mind thought, “what is the chance?”. Yet I was one of the lucky 9-second people who managed to get an entry for 2016! I was over-the-moon and super excited and happy.
We started to prepare. We started to train harder than we have ever done before. We planned. We organised.
We trained, we ate, and we slept Epic.
In between we worked and somewhere in between life happened. Our focus was Epic, until one Friday afternoon, a month before the Epic, when my husband shared devastating news with me. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Our plans, hopes and dreams were shattered in minutes. All our hard work felt like a waste of time and energy.
As we got our minds around the disappointment, the fear and anxiety, my husband had a successful operation and has been cancer free ever since. The organiser of the Epic gracefully postponed our entry to 2017. We were preparing for our new journey to the ABSA Cape Epic 2017 when I discovered I was pregnant and the baby would be due on 24 December 2016.
The first thing that went through my mind was “what about the Epic?”!
I even tried to work out if I would manage to get fit and strong within a few weeks after having had the baby. I was making plans and trying to figure out a way because I still believed that there was a reason why I was one of the lucky 9-second people, but unfortunately we were left with the choice of entering or being refunded. We decided on the refund hoping to get another entry one day.
Two days after I have asked for my refund, I had a miscarriage.
I was devastated and was blaming myself for the miscarriage. Perhaps I am getting punished because I was disappointed that we won’t be able to do the Epic. So many thoughts and emotions crossed my mind.
My focus moved slightly away from the desperate need/want to do the ABSA Cape Epic and I have realised that events like this will always be there but having a baby doesn’t just happen. After all we have been married for more than 3 years with no luck. We have tried and planned and I started thinking that perhaps we were not meant to have children.
I’ve tried our last resort, the fertility lab. We had our first appointment where the doctor told us that we won’t be able to fall pregnant naturally or without any help. We had to think about all our options but our 2nd appointment never happened because I discovered I was pregnant.
Naturally! Without any help.
We were over the moon. Fear and anxiety was obviously a major thing and the first trimester was quite stressful for me. It turned out to be an awesome pregnancy without any issues or complications. I had a little bit of food aversion up until 16 weeks but otherwise I was healthy, and the little baby was healthy.
We have decided that we didn’t want to know the gender beforehand. We wanted a surprise. This was the best decision we have ever made and the anticipation and excitement of not knowing was wonderful. And oh, my word, what an awesome surprise it was!
My plan was to have a natural delivery but unfortunately things didn’t work out the way I have planned, which was okay because I have learned that life doesn’t always happen the way we plan it. Luckily, I was open minded about everything from the beginning and I was more than happy to do whatever was best for our little baby. 26 October, 38 weeks 4 days, was THE day.
I went for a nice relaxing pedicure that morning with my sister-in-law. I asked for pink toes because I teased and said I think I am expecting a little girl. From about 9am I started getting cramps which at that point in time I didn’t know was the start of my labour, in fact, it felt more like menstrual cramps and I could manage with it.
I expected severe pains from the word go as well as my water to break, just like in the movies.
I didn’t make much of it. After my pedicure I went to work. During my staff meeting my “menstrual cramps” started getting worse but I have put on a straight face and nobody noticed that I was experiencing some discomfort. At about 4pm I decided to go home, and I told Alasdair that I don’t think he should come home too late. I thought I will have a nice warm bath which will help with the “cramps”. And at that time, Alasdair came home. The bath didn’t help much. I contacted my doctor who advised that we should go to the hospital so that they could check me out. And that is when I contacted Sam to inform her that she should be on standby. Luckily my bags were packed. On the way to the hospital, in 17h30 rush hour traffic, my cramps got more intense and 3-4 minutes apart. We both realised that this is it, I am in labour. And yes, at the hospital they confirmed it, I was in active labour and I was about 4cm dilated, and no, I am not going back home. My doctor came at 9pm to check on me. And then she gave me the news.
My baby is not coming down ,
even though I am in full labour and I am dilating. On the examination both baby and I were still doing fine, and she said we could wait a while to see if baby will come down, but she was not very hopeful, and the possibility might be that baby can go into distress which is not what we want. And I obviously was not keen on the idea of being in labour for days. We’ve decided to opt for a caesarean while baby and I are still healthy and happy. After we made the call, things happened so quickly. So quick, that Lerissa, the photographer couldn’t make it in time to the hospital to capture the whole process. But at the end, the pictures afterwards speak a thousand words and will be treasured forever. Alasdair notified the family and they came immediately and waited in anticipation.
I was calm and relaxed and had a feeling of contentment. I was quite surprised that there was not a negative feeling of anxiety or nervousness. The time has come where we are going to meet our little BabyG. Our little surprise. My doctor and the staff were superb, and I knew I was in good hands, both of us were. A lot of pushing from the doctor, her assistant as well as the anaesthetist to push the baby down. And then, next moment, at 22h17pm the doctor pulled the baby out and lifted him in front of me… “It’s a boy!” she shouted.
A moment I will never forget. Tears of joy rolled down my face.
The family was super excited to meet BabyG and welcome him into the family. They didn’t mind waiting at 10pm after a long day of work to meet the new addition to the Garnett family. Lots of happiness, excitement, and adoration. A small family with a close bond and I never thought that a little baby can bring a family even closer together. Something special happened that night, something I can’t explain but I feel a warmth in my heart every time I look at the images from that night. This baby boy is so special and will be loved so much.
When that tiny little hand grabbed my finger
as if to say, “please mommy, don’t leave me, you are the only one I know, and I am not sure about this thing called world” and I looked at those fingers and saw pure perfection. I couldn’t believe that we made a tiny little human being. That little baby boy grew inside of me. He was growing for 9 months in my tummy. Pure perfection. I am in awe. I am content. This is pure love.
Even though I was the only person he knew, it was such an amazing sight when Alasdair took him, and he laid on his chest and he didn’t make a sound. He was happy and peaceful as if he knew this is his dad who is going to love him and take care of him. The bond between father and son started immediately.
A little baby boy climbed into our hearts and we will do our best to raise him to the best of our ability.”
Images By Lerissa Kemp Photography
Editing By Sam Schröder Photography
Music Slide Show By Sam Schröder Photography
“You can do the impossible, because you have been through the unimaginable” Christina Rasmussen.
Dreaming of the day we give birth to our own, looks different to everybody. I can however assure you that complications during pregnancy are not included in those dreams. Unfortunately to some it’s their reality. To Danyella and Ryan TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome) became a devastating part of their reality.
” Twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a serious disorder that occurs in identical twins and higher order multiples who share a placenta. This occurs when the blood vessels of the babies’ shared placenta are connected.
This results in one baby (this twin is referred to as the recipient) receiving more blood flow, while the other baby (this twin is referred to as the donor) receives too little. Twin to twin transfusion syndrome is also referred to as chronic inter-twin transfusion syndrome.” – http://americanpregnancy.org/multiples/twin-to-twin-transfusion-syndrome/
Read Danyella’s story of heart ace, desperation, hope and the birth of a miracle baby.
“The Story of Chase and Troy…My Twin Boys
It all started during week 8 of my pregnancy, I went to my first check-up appointment with my gynaecologist after finding out we were pregnant. My mom booked me an appointment while I was still travelling in America so that I could be seen the very next day after our return from the USA without having to wait very long.
Lying on the bed, I was so excited to hear my baby’s heartbeat for the first time. The Dr took a few moments and there it was – the heartbeat. Probably the most incredible moment of my life at that point. It was so clear and crisp, beating so fast. That was my baby. After a few moments, the Dr said: “Okay, there’s one more thing I need to tell you”. Eagerly I waited, until he said: “There’s another heart beat!” What?! This can’t be – I am having twins? At this moment, a flood of emotions ran through me, I was excited, but weary, happy, but scared, thrilled but nervous. I started thinking of everything a baby needs and doubling that, including the financial aspect of it. Regardless of it all, I was super excited to phone up the family and let them know. Before I got to that point the Dr told me to dress myself and come meet him in his office for a quick chat. I thought this was normal protocol and did so. As I sat there, my Dr started preparing me for the pregnancy. He mentioned that there are things such as a phantom twin, the pregnancy is usually consisted high risk, I have what they call a mono di twin pregnancy, and it is one of the most high risk pregnancies.
It was all a lot to take in, but I didn’t want all that information to take away from the joy I was supposed to be feeling about the news I just received.
We were going to be blessed with TWO gorgeous human beings – both identical to one another – boy or girl – it didn’t matter, they were going to be our miracles.
Our next appointment was when it all began. It was our 12 week appointment and we were so excited. It was with a MFM – a Dr that has some very high tech scanning machinery that allows you to see very clearly what is going on with the pregnancy for precautionary measures. This appointment very quickly took a turn for the worst when the Dr mentioned that there was a size difference in our boys. One was clearly a lot smaller than the other, which gives rise to the concern of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. A term that was going to haunt us for the remainder of our pregnancy. Most of what I remember about this appointment was simply bursting into tears as the Dr read me right act on termination options, and suggesting it quite strongly. I remember rushing out of the Dr’s room mid conversation to take a breather in the corridor. It was such a difficult moment for us, but it was only the beginning.
We ended up going for more appointments, each with a 2 to 6 week gaps in between that seemed to take a lifetime to pass. Each appointment we went to, our little babies size difference grew bigger and bigger and the option of termination was stressed upon us even more. I researched everything there is to know about TTTS.
It didn’t look good. My options were limited.
During our 16 week check, the Dr gave us our last ultimatum. Termination or laser surgery. He mentioned that SA is very far behind in terms of the laser surgery and I should look at going overseas for it. Europe was his first suggestion, and Australia was his second. I didn’t know what to do with this information and began feeling very overwhelmed. SA has one Dr who can perform laser surgery on TTTS – I emailed him immediately while walking out of the Dr’s rooms and he came back to me also suggesting to go overseas as he has only had 8 out of 25 successful surgeries and my chances of both twins surviving was less than 30% as opposed to an 80 – 90 percent overseas. I then got home and started emailing all the hospitals around the world who offered laser surgery to ask for assistance. I had so many calls with nurses and Dr’s explaining my situation, many of which required me to understand all the medical terms around TTTS. I remember feeling so stressed out and concerned that as a pregnant woman going through all of this, I was left on my own to figure out everything there is to know about this surgery without any help from my Dr’s. It turned out that my medical reports that I was sending to Directors of hospitals around the world were incorrect and showed no evidence of TTTS. I went back to my SA Dr’s and they got very irritated with me for needing to change their reports. I was trying to figure this all out by myself and felt like I was drowning. I had numerous panic attacks. I remember sitting on my bathroom floor struggling to breathe while my fiancé held me asking me to take a deep breath. This was not the plan. I was always supposed to have an easy pregnancy. This doesn’t happen to me. Why is this happening to me? What am I supposed to learn from this? Why would God put me through this. How are you supposed to get stronger from this? I hate this. I had so many conflicting thoughts, I was distraught.
I eventually made contact with the Chicago Children’s Hospital in the USA who would perform the laser surgery for me. I needed to get documentation from my MFM regarding my pregnancy. I needed to see my gynaecologist for measurements of my amniotic fluid of both boys, I needed to get flight clearance. There was so much prep for getting me ready for my trip to America but I knew it was all worth it. I had an 80 to 90 percent chance of my boys surviving the surgery and all being well in the end.
Until I received the bill.
I needed to pay over R600 000 upfront before I could board my flight and attend my booked MRI appointments in the USA and my laser surgery thereafter. This killed me. It was a Thursday morning. I had battled during the week with time communication to and from the USA due to the time differences and I couldn’t waste any more time. I would need to sell my house to make this trip.
My fiancé sat me down and brought me back to earth. I couldn’t do it. It’s unrealistic. It’s impractical. I would need to spend weeks in America after the surgery in bed rest. I didn’t have the money for it, I would be alone and who knows how my work would take that news. I just couldn’t do it. This broke me into a million pieces. My last hope was gone. I remember feeling like a failure. My one job as a mom was to protect my babies, and 16 weeks in, I have already failed.
The next best bet would be to meet with the SA Dr who could perform the surgery. I went from an 80 to 90 percent chance of survival to a 30 percent chance of survival, but I had no other choice. We made contact with the Dr and he scheduled an emergency appointment for me in Cape Town at 9:30pm. I arranged flights from JHB to CT and we made a plan to clear our diaries to go see this Dr. We were silent the whole flight to CT and the day seemed to drag on. Eventually we walked into the Dr’s room, ready for our scan to see if we could start the surgery immediately.
He paused and looked at me.
“Before we continue I need to let you know that there is only one heartbeat and I am sorry to say that you have lost one of your babies”.
At this point I thought I was going to burst into tears again but there was nothing. I couldn’t feel anything, I went numb. He continued the check up and I just lay there. His words were a blur and I don’t remember much of what he said thereafter. This was a taste of what the following weeks were going to be like. I was numb. I went into a state of shock where I just couldn’t feel anything, I couldn’t cry, and I couldn’t mourn the loss of my son. The next 3 weeks I spent in bed. I didn’t eat, I couldn’t get up, my fiancé did everything he could to help me but I was a wreck. It was the worst time of my life. You supposed to cry, you supposed to be sad, but then you are supposed to be relieved that the other twin is alive and well. These were all these feelings that I was supposed to feel but there was nothing.
We had another appointment with an MFM who brought up termination again. I thought we were past all this but now it was different. Now, due to the passing of one twin, his body could break down and flow into the surviving twins supply and cause brain damage. When was the bad news going to end? On top of this, the surviving twin received all his nutrients from his brother so he may not survive because he needs to figure out how to obtain the nutrients himself.
There was so much to consider at this point, I reached a point in my pregnancy where I gave in. I gave into what God had planned for me and believed that I just needed to accept things as they are and needed to give this baby boy the best chance of survival. I needed to start eating properly again and I needed to start being happy and enjoying the gift of pregnancy. I fought with myself but I knew that I am strong willed and I can convince my brain to do this. From that day on, I made a decision to be strong and healthy for my boy.
It was then that we named our sons, Chase, the donor, my angel who passed away and Troy, our survivor, our soldier who fought through the worst odds and survived.
7 months later I gave birth to a miracle. Troy was health 3.2kg’s heavy and 50 cm tall. He had his scans and he was an over achiever.
I was a mommy. After everything, I learnt that I am blessed to have my boy, safe in this world and healthy. There is nothing wrong with him as the Dr’s feared and he is perfect in every way.
He is a miracle.
He is my Troy.”
Baby Troy’s Birth slideshow 🙂
I hope that you as you browse through these images, you find hope, believe in love and witness a miracle.
In life it’s more often than not required of us to wait for that perfect timing. A lesson that sure is one of the hardest things to accept. It is also one of the most beautiful moments at a birth, when at last it all falls into place.
The Steffas twins were born from waiting, praying, trying and some more waiting, trying and praying.
Mom Angelique recall’s the process, the lessons and the great joy that came with the birth of her Squishies.
“Everything happens for a reason… this has become our mantra throughout our marriage.
This year marks our 11 year journey together as a couple, our very own fairy tale. I won’t pretend that everything has been picture perfect, there have been some very tough days, filled with heartache and frustration, but in the end everything always turned out better than we could have imagined.
We had always had our hearts set on a honeymoon baby. We wanted to get our family started ASAP and live out this epic story about our lives, but clearly the Big Man upstairs knew that there would be some challenges that we would need to face first.
2012 was a big year for us, we just moved into the first home that we owned (all ours, HOORAY!), I started a new job and we became parents to the most adorable fur babies, all this in the space of 4 months. Five months later we got married and started our lives as husband and wife, then we were off to our amazing 5 week honeymoon and were convinced that this would be when we would start our journey as parents as well… but nothing happened.
We got back home and kept trying, determined to make this happen.
Fast forward a year and a bit, still not pregnant, we made the decision to put our home up for sale, and take on the gruelling task of building our dream home in a wonderful estate, knowing in our hearts that this is it.. this is where we would start and raise a family.
Well…let me tell you one thing, if you have this dream of what it would be like to watch your home evolve from a piece of land to this magnificent structure… here’s your wake up call 😊 It can be a long, tiring process; filled with delays and arguments and frustration. Definitely not a recipe for the romantic, stress free situation you would normally be in when trying to start a family.
Finally October 2016, after 22 of the most stressful and painful months we could possibly imagine, our home was finally finished and we could move in and start enjoying our lives, just in time for a Christmas lunch with the family. The best Christmas present we could have given ourselves…or so we thought.
A few weeks later we found ourselves in the doctors rooms awaiting the results of our blood tests.
Were we really finally pregnant? Or did the house ordeal affect me so bad that I’ve just stopped my period and gotten my body super confused?
“You’re pregnant”… words I had to ask the sister to repeat at least twice as I burst into tears of pure elation… it’s really happening, our fairy tale is finally taking place. We were so overjoyed, everything was falling into place!
You would think the story ends there, but there were more surprises in store for us. It appears that my husband and I had been praying for one thing that we hadn’t discussed with each other, but knew that we really wanted, two peas in a pod…
A few weeks later, we were 8 weeks pregnant and finally got to go for our first scan and…ITS TWINS! The best news we could have ever asked for.
We waited and prayed for so long and now we hear that we are going to be parents to two beautiful little souls.
(If you missed Nic and Angelique’s maternity session CLICK HERE)
The connection you feel from that first look at them is unreal, it should be impossible to feel so much love for someone that you haven’t met, for someone that hasn’t even developed arms and legs yet… two tiny little squishy blobs, waiting to grow and be part of this beautiful, crazy world. I knew from the first day I saw them that they would be my little prince and princess , our little squishies…mommy and daddy’s world ❤️
(Here is the birth of the Squishy Twins 😉 )
Reflecting on all the obstacles and challenges, we realized more than ever, that everything happens for a reason and it happens when the time is right. You might feel that you know what you need and when you need it, and the wait may break your heart. But there is someone that knows you a lot better than you do, and He will always do what is right for you. We have been blessed countless times and are now parents to the most precious pigeon pair (with the loudest personalities two little 6 month olds’ could have).”
Waiting on or for something is not really a thing we humans excel in. It is however definitely a thing that aids in creating the magic of purpose.
“Don’t give up on your dreams…… keep sleeping” – Unknown
Bianke and Hannes stopped sleeping with the birth of their daughter Nadia, but they had to learn to trust. Trust and not give up. They had to keep sleeping….
“After being diagnosed with Endometriosis Stage 3 I knew our struggle to have children was real…..
We got married on 27 August 2011, on the most beautiful sunny day, at Avianto. Everything was perfect, and I knew, I married my best friend. Someone that will be with me and support me no matter what challenges we face….
We wanted to get to know each other for a few years before starting a family. As we reached 3 years of married life, we both knew we wanted a baby….
After trying for almost a year there were no signs of a baby…
I decided to seek medical advice and my Gynae recommended that we go and see a fertility specialist. We did and he said that I might have Endometrioses. He recommended that we do a laparoscopy to see how severe it was. I was diagnosed with widely spread stage 3 Endometrioses. Our chances to conceive naturally without the help of IVF was 14%
I immediately started doing research and knew that our struggle to have children was real. The thought of not having children made me sick to my stomach and I knew it was something I would not be able to handle.
In 2015 we made the decision to start IVF.
Nine eggs were retrieved, five fertilized but only three was good enough to freeze. We decided to take a chance on two. After 2 weeks of waiting and praying the results came back negative.
I was not pregnant, I was devastated….How can both not work?
We had 1 Embryo left and I placed all my hope in my last Embie. A month after our pervious failed attempt, we decided to use our last one. Full of hope that this was definitely the one we went back for another round. But after the 2 week wait the results came back negative….again not pregnant….I cried uncontrollably….how could it not work again…I had so many questions going through my head. Both myself an my Husband went through a very emotional time but we were not ready to give up. After this full failed cycle we knew that we would go back again. My husband reassured me that even if he needs to max out all our credit cards, our dream for a baby is one we are not going to easily let go of…..
God spoke to me through Habakkuk 2:3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay
This verse carried me through our infertility journey, and I knew that there was a bigger plan for us….
My husband wanted to go back immediately after our failed cycle but I was not ready. I just wanted a month of no injections, no pain, no heartache, and no Doctors….who knew???
The month that we waited was the month our little miracle Nadia happened…..naturally….”
Here is there little miracle
“I hope that our story encourage others that share in the struggle. Know that there is hope and it’s not always what the doctors say….
Never give up, no matter how big or small and especially not if its a dream to become parents.
The birth of your baby is one of the most life changing, pivotal days in your life. Definitely filled with moments to remember forever. Definitely worth getting a photographer for, specifically for that “moment of birth”. Right?
Wrong!!! Yes, you want a birth photographer at your baby’s birth, but to get permission from some hospitals and doctors allowing your photographer access can be a nightmare. I often get the question from prospective clients about access at hospitals, and I have to admit, I love capturing the whole thing but it’s not a deal breaker. There is so much more to your baby’s birth story than the actual moment of birth.
Here is Samantha’s birth story, we knew from the start that I wouldn’t be allowed in theatre. Normally I wouldn’t post the images the dad or staff captured on my website, because it’s not my work, but I decided to show you what is possible, even though I was not in theatre…..
I think we pretty much still “GOT” the birth 😉
Here is her birth video, you decide …..
A note from Michelle to her daughter Samantha;
“My liefste Samantha
Jy is al twee maande oud ! Dit voel nogsteeds onwerklik dat jy nou elke dag deel is van ons lewe!! Elke dag is net n blessing!
Jou geboorte storie :
Jou oorspronklike geboorte datum was die 10de aug, maar dr.laker het besluit om jou vroeer uit te haal omdat jy nie gegroei het soos jy moes nie. Ek is toe al die maandag hospitaal toe sodat hulle vir my steriods en magnesium kan inspuit om seker te maak jy is mooi gesond. Die drie dae voordat jy gekom het,het maar vir my baie lank gevoel en ek kon nie wag vir donderdag nie!!
Donderdag het finally aan gebreek! Pappa was al vroeg die oggend daar en ons het saam gewag in opwinding! Dit was die langste paar ure ooit!! Finally was dit ons beurt!
1uur was ek in die teater in. Ek was maar bietjie bang omdat alles so nuut was. Maar ekt geweet Liewe Jesus is by ons en dat alles perfek sal wees! Die nakootiseer het die spinaal gedoen, die inspuiting was bietjie seer, maar dit was glad nie so erg nie. Daarna moes ek gaan le en hulle het my begin prep. Die dokter het in gekom, toe was ek bang ek is nie heeltemal dood gespuit nie en dat as sy sny gaan ek dit voel, maar die volgende oomblik toe kyk sy vir my en se “knyp knyp” , ekt na haar gestaar en gese “huh?” , toe haal sy n knyp tangetjie uit en se “ekt jou geknyp, het jy dit gevoel?”
Dankie tog ek het nie. Die dokters het gesels oor hulle vakansies en langnaweke terwyl ek en pappa baie anxious wag. 10min later (13:13) is jy gebore.
Wow wat n asemrowende gevoel! Die pediater, dr.angela colquhoun het vir ons die fotos geneem, sy het net aanhou se “aah, sy is so mooi!” ! Ek kon jou net so vinnig oor die lap sien, toe het die dokter jou gevat en pappa het langs jou gestaan en jou bekyk. Later op die fotos was dit vir my so special om te sien hoe hy saggies, met liefde aan jou koppie vat. Hy het toe jou umbilical cord gesny en hulle het jou bietjie in die broei kas gesit om warm te word. Na so 5min het hulle jou bo op my kom sit en ek kon bietjie na jou kyk. Die nakootiseer het toe n medisyne gespuit wat maak dat my baarmoeder weer terug trek, dit het my bietjie duislig gemaak. Ek was toe bang jy val van my af omdat ek jou nie meer so mooi kon vashou nie, die suster het jou toe weer in die broei kas gesit. Pappa het langs my gesit en my hand vashou en my verseker alles is oky.
Toe hulle my klaar toe gewerk het het ek vir so 10min in die recovery saal gele, jy en pappa was nog saam met my, pappa het jou vas ghou. Toe het hulle my saal toe gestoot en jy en pappa is na die baba kamer. Hulle het my gou kom was. Daarna het jy en pappa weer terug gekom en jy het so bietjie gevoed, wat amazing en special was, en ons het lekker skin to skin gedoen terwyl Sam (ja ook Sam, how cool!) vir ons stunning fotos geneem het.
Ouma tutti en oupa charles was eerste by ons. Dit was vir hulle so lekker om jou te ontmoet, en ek is so bly hulle kon hier wees. Oupa sam , ouma lorraine en jou ouma grootjie ella het toe ingekom. Hulle was so bewoe. Ons het toe ook vir die eerste keer vir ouma lorraine gese dat jou tweede naam raine gaan wees . Sy was heeltemal onkant gevang en so surprised. Dit was so special.
Daarna het ek so bietjie gerus en pappa het gou gery om boris en linka te voer. Maar hy was gou gou weer terug, haha. Jy het heeltemal jou pa se hart gesteel!!! Ekt so bietjie pyn gehad en vir die susters gevra vir iets. So, daai ietsie het my heeltemal deurmekaar gemaak, en die res van die dag is bietjie n blur, maar
Ouma lorraine, oupa sam, ouma ella, oom louis, oom stephen, tannie carien en tannie vicky het die aand kom kuier. Oom louis was heeltemal in awe met jou! Oom stephen was sommer afgeskrik omdat jy so klein was, hehe (nou dat jy bietjie grooter is, 2 maande, hou hy jou baie lekker vas) hulle het nie lank gebly nie omdat ek nie heeltemal by was nie, maar pappa het tot laat gebly en jou vas gehou terwyl mamma op haar trip was 😉
Die volgende dag het ek baie beter gevoel. Ekt vir die suster gevra om die kateter uit te haal sodat ek kan gaan stort. Die stort was maar bietjie moeilik, ek was maar seer. Note to future daughter – drink eers n pyn pil voordat jy gaan stort! Tannie jenny, vicky en lene het ook vir jou kom kuier vandag. (Oom ruan, danie en tannie karen het die saterdag vir jou kom kuier. Asook oom wynand)
Die vrydag aand in die hospitaal kon ek jou nog in die baba kamer gaan los dan sou hulle jou elke 3 ure bring om te voed. Ekt jou die aand gevat. Oh, by the way, daar was 9 babas gebore op die 3de aug 2017 in kloof hospitaal!!!! So… Toe ek jou vat toe is al 8 al opgeline en ekt jou in die que gesit, my hart het alklaar gebreuk! 2 ure later , (nadat ek vir 2 ure luister na verskillende babas wat nou en dan huil ) het ek besluit, nee wat ek gaan my baba haal!! Haha ekt jou gaan haal en jy het die hele aand op my bors geslaap, selfde met die volgende paar aande in die hospitaal! Dit was so lekker en ekt geweet jy is veilig en gelukkig.
Die volgende paar dae im die hospitaal het maar vinnig verby gegaan en ek kon nie wag vir sondag om huis toe te gaan nie!!
Sondag was ons so 12uur by die huis. Al jou oumas en oupas was daar asook oom louis, oom stephen en tannie carien. Ons het almal lekker middag ete saam geeet en toe het almal gery en dit was net ons. Dit was so lekker om jou finally by die huis te he!!
Die eerste drie weke was pappa hier, en wow , dit was vreeslik lekker om saam as n gesin net deur elke dag te gaan en mekaar lief te he, en elke nou en dan vir jou te staar 😉 pappa het n nuwe favourite gekry, jy was instantly sy oogappel! Hy is regtig my mr.perfect! Hy help met ALLES! En nie omdat hy moet nie, omdat hy wil. As jy n geluid maak is pappa daar! As ek net dink dis tyd om jou doek te ruil is hy daar! Ek en pappa het actually gefight vir beurte om jou doek te ruil hahaha!!
Pappa was baie hartseer om weer terug te gaan DRC toe! Maar vandat pappa daar is video call ons elke aand, en oggend oor naweke! Jy kyk aandagtig na die skerm.
Vandar jy begin smile het op 6 weke het jy sommer baie hom gesmile. Toe jy 7 weke oud is die saterdag oggend toe pappa bel het jy die hele tyd vir hom gesmile!! Dit was so special, little daddy’s girl! Voor dit het jy maar net nou en dan vir my en oupa en ouma gesmile. Maar nie so baie na mekaar nie! Dit was regtig ongelooflik om te sien! En van daar af het jy altyd baie gesmile as hy met jou gesels.
Pappa kom nou weer oor 11 slaapies en ons kan seriously nie meer wag nie!!!
Ons lewe is soooo geseen met jou in dit xxx
Oh ja, nog n ding , ek neem te lekker fotos van jou! Oom louis het gejoke en gese eendag as jy groot is en jy vra vir al jou baba fotos , dan gaan ek se, ja hier is al die 12 000 baba fotos my kind, haha
Maar ek dink actually dit gaan meer as dit wees, haha
“A mother might give birth to a child but before that a child gives birth to a mother. “- Unknown.
Waiting on God to fulfil your desire to have a baby is one of the hardest things to do, I know, I’ve been there. When I met with Juanita to go over their birth plan and I realised she has also walked the road of waiting and praying, I was so honoured to be a part of their journey, being able to capture a small part of their testimony.
Juanita, I’m so glad you had the courage to share your story with others, not only by allowing me to share your images, but also in this heartfelt letter to your daughter.I know this will give hope to many and Karli will be touching people everywhere she goes …
“Karli… we waited for you. It felt like forever. We prayed, we waited, I cried, sometimes I got angry, other times we would just know… that one day you would be ours.
You sure took your time! I loved carrying you inside me, where I could protect you and where I knew you would be safe! But I also had the anticipation, like a little child waiting for her Birthday present. The doctor said that you would be here around the 25th of November. And we waited some more… 12 more days! Everyone was tired of waiting and everyone waiting for the phone to ring.
The morning you decided to change our lives, was the longest and the shortest 9 hours of my life! Daddy slept, well, like a baby. Mommy started contractions at around 3 on a Wednesday morning. Unsure of what it was, yet knowing you are on your way, I started getting ready to meet you! I messaged Sam, telling her I think its time, bearing in mind I told her this 2 weeks ago as well and we ended up waiting longer! I showered, I did my hair, I put some make-up on (because a girl can conquer the highest mountain with a little lipstick!) And at 6 that morning, I made daddy his coffee. Sam stayed in contact with me the entire time, wanting to meet me at the hospital. I was in denial of what was happening and telling her to stay put for now.
I had an appointment to see the dr at 10, but I knew I wasn’t going to make it! Daddy took me to the dr to check things out.. And then hearing those words I didn’t want to hear:
“You are now only 3 cm dilated, we are admitting you and will do induction if baby’s not here by tonight”! I cried…
I was scared and I knew the odds of me having a natural birth after getting induced was not good. I prayed and begged for God to step in and take over.
So off to the hospital we went, me sobbing and daddy stressing. Then, out of the blue…. two terrible cramps. In hospital I got checked again. Why I asked. Dr checked me 5 min ago. I’m 3cm dilated… No, you’re 4cm’s! Luckily Sam trusted her instincts and had just parked her car when daddy had phoned her to come. By the time your daddy got back from fetching our medical file, about 20min later, I was in active labour. 8cm dilated!
It happened so fast. There was no time for any pain medication. Just the way I wanted it. They wanted me to stop pushing, but I did not know how! I didn’t want to push, scared of what I know was coming, but at the same time yearning to meet you. And so I pushed. With every contraction, with every ounce of pain, I knew I was getting closer to holding you in my arms. Daddy was holding my hand, leaning over every now and again, to check on you. Then they saw it! Red hair! A lot of red hair. Before I could get around to the idea of you having red hair, you were laying in front of me. Pale like the hospital sheets with shocking red hair. You were the most beautiful human being I had ever laid eyes on.
And with you in my arms, 8 years of tears and heartache, turned into the sweetest reward I could have ever dreamt of.
You have taught me patience. To wait on God. Because His timing is perfect, and now I have found my favourite human <3
Oh the adventures you will have. The grazed knees, sticky hands from eating ice cream on the beach and giggles while flying kites with daddy. And falling asleep after chasing butterflies in the garden. All these things await you.
I cannot wait for you to live life my little precious Karli. While you sleep in my arms it feels as if time melts away. 8 years feels like a fleeting moment. You where worth the wait, more than worth the wait. Never have I thought that this thing they call motherhood is such a sweet experience. No words can explain this feeling.
Everyone warned “You will never sleep a full six hours again, good luck, dirty nappies and screaming baby is now your new normal”. But no one warned me that I will never feel the same again, no one warned me that before I met you, I was walking around half a human! No one warned me about this feeling. The feeling that your heart is now living outside your ribcage! No one warned me – a tiny little human being can stir so much love in you!
I must have done something terribly right! God created you so perfectly. From your ruby red hair, to your milky white skin. Ten toes, ten fingers and a button nose, every inch of you was created perfectly. I know you are the apple of His eye! And I know you will do great things!
Love your Mom”
“A mother might give birth to a child but before that a child gives birth to a mother.” – Unknown.
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine.”- Isaiah 43:1
Birth Photography is sometimes hard, most of the times the hours are extremely long. They take you away from your own family in order to capture the beginning of a new family. At times it could seem that the sacrifices you make, are just too great. Then you get to be a part of the birth of little Liemè Graaff……
When Lulindie originally contacted me for birth photography, I was a little sad that her due date was the 25th of December. You see, that is our annual family holiday time. I met Lulindie at the birth of her nephew Aaren in 2015 and was already booked for the birth of her twin nieces, in a few months time. In my heart I knew, there is no way that I could miss this one….
Lulindie and I started planning around this actually huge obstacle. Each of us hoping that the little one would make her appearance a little later than planned. Lulindie’s family were on holiday over the same time period than I was. Nevertheless we planned around this and agreed that I will fly in from wherever I am and there is the possibility that I might miss it all together.
As I was packing the last things for our camping holiday, I spoke to Lulindie on the 15th of December. Her midwife were happy and baby was perfect. She even thought that this little one might just wait for her Granny to get back from their holiday on the 30th. Relieved at the news we left the morning of the 16th, our wedding anniversary, at 02:00 in the morning. As was expected the roads were extremely busy, but we had a save journey. Now for setting up camp!
Those whom have camped with me before, know this no quick job. Although I LOOOOVE camping, I hate struggling. So, when we go camp, I pitch every fold UP table I can, closets, basins, you name it! As I was unpacking the last of the suitcases, kids fed and in bed, I got the message from Lulindie…. “Lyk my Liemè is haastig” Long story short, 20min later I got a flight and was on my way back to JHB.
This HBAC (Home Birth after C Section) was one of those life changing experiences, one that can never be explained to anybody.
Lulindie had to work really hard through this birth. There were some moments that you could really see her struggling, doubting and not knowing how this will end. But she never gave UP! There was something insides of her that urged her to go with it, to work with her body and not give up, everything was under control! Under His control! Oh and did I mention, she also had the amazing support of her husband Dirk, incredible midwife Elrika and fantastic doula Tertia. They helped her through this journey that she later described to me as being incredibly “stormy”.
In the early hours of the 17th Lulindie was fighting fatigue as her legs started cramping during contractions. As the last couple of leg cramps past, and the next contraction was building, Lullindie suddenly asked for her phone. She selected “Oceans” by Hillsong United. This was Lulindie, communicating the storm inside her, the fight she was fighting, the new beginning that was about to happen.
“….. lead me where my trust is without borders.Let me walk upon the waters. Wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander …..”
These lyrics were floating through the room and as Lulindie surrender this storm inside her to her Savoir, her daughter was born, and with her, new life, new beginnings, promises and the end of an era.
“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” – Ashley Montagu
I received a frantic call at around 12 in the evening, but I did not need to answer to know that a special boy was being born that evening. As soon as I saw the caller ID, I knew we were ready to roll, instantly my calm birth photography mode took over my sleep muffled brain. By the next morning the lives of my friends will be changed forever ….
On my way from Pretoria to the Wilgeheuwel Life hospital in Krugersdorp, I was thinking of all the surprises that comes with the territory of having a baby. There was a few I could think of and I few I knew would surprise Rickus and Tharien on their new journey. I made a mental note to do some reasarch on the most common themes to the ways that kids revolutionize our lives. Have a look at the top 10 I found and let me know how acurate they are.
Surprise #1: Your relationship with your partner will change
Surprise #2: You’ll have no idea where the time goes
Surprise #3: You may look different
Surprise #4: You’ll join an exclusive worldwide club
Surprise #5: You’ll be stronger than you ever imagined
Surprise #6: You’ll make “mistakes” you never anticipated
Surprise #7: Your friendships will change
Surprise #8: There’ll be times when you hate parenting
Surprise #9: You’ll be overwhelmed by love (and other emotions)
Surprise #10: You’ll have to let go sooner than you think
Luan saw to a couple of his own surprises that evening and being part of the incredible journey called birth photography, I got to witness and capture a few.
He started his strike of surprises by his birth, born at 36 weeks, which was a few weeks earlier than his scheduled C-section date. I think his dad knew he would love him, but I saw how the overwhelming love for this little boy took his him by surprise. His big brother was a little surprised by his first pictures, but that was soon forgotten as he got involved in a betting game with his grandfather over the size of his brother. The surprise and wonder of the miracle of Luan are almost tangible in the images below. The love for this boy striking, evidently beautiful, unmistakable moments of utter happiness!
No matter how much you prepare for it, the birth of your baby and parenting will blow your mind.
Your kids will challenge you, bring you to tears, crack you up, and make you forget what you urgently had to do. They’ll shatter the life you knew into a million pieces. Then they’ll put it back together, like a stained-glass window, into something infinitely more complicated and beautiful.
Riki-Riks en Lallie, you are special friends! Enjoy every single surprise your little boy brings into your life, and by the looks of his beginning you’re in for the ride of your life!