Birth Photography | Liemè Graaff
“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.
Liemè Graaff, you were called by your name!
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Why was I so desperate to have a natural birth?
Yes, it would have been a most empowering experience for me and yes my next one will be a VBAC, but was it really that important in the bigger scheme of things? At the end of it all we got what we set out to achieve – a human being that we could guide and mould and set free into the world for her to make her own impact. Maybe that trauma she and I both endured in getting her Earthside happened exactly how it was supposed to. That’s birth and even more so parenting – you set off on a course with big plans and that’s great, but there has to be flexibility and acceptance in changing course depending on whatever life (or your kid) throws at you.
After a minute or so we heard your first loud cry. It was glorious and we could finally breathe. Sr Lotter brought you to us and our hearts melted, my boy. You were beautiful. We checked for 10 fingers and 10 toes and we couldn’t stop looking at you. The happiest moment of our lives. You were born at 11:33 weighing 3.49kg and measuring 53cm.