I f a woman is sufficiently ambitious, determined and gifted – there is practically nothing she can’t do. ~Helen Lawrenson
One of the most beautiful things life hands us is the creation and beauty of a life be born. For a few years now I have known my dear friend Laura. Our friendship grew over the years, and I am beyond blessed to have her in my life. Laura has a vibrant positive attitude and sometimes I need that in my life. The more her and I hung out the more I realized we have a lot in common, and now even more so.. she just birthed her third daughter. We met years ago from our children being in the same school on the same bus at the time. And now, I have had the honor to be there throughout her last pregnancy, and birth. This was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had, not only was she a very close friend, my newborn assistant, but she was also my first water birth.
During these nine months we have anticipated exactly how all of these shoots where going to go. It was such an honor working with Laura and her family. I wanted to share the many takes of her journey. Although our schedules sometimes conflicted we made it work, we had all these thoughts of a maternity shoot.. but honestly creation happens on the spot, sometimes it’s not something you can plan. Our plan, sunrise maternity session at the beach. This meant I had to get up at 4am. Was it worth it? YES!!!!!
St. Augustine Beach is the location of choice, a beautiful sunrise and walk on the beach. She was amazing in this gown, and completely stunning even more so when we decided to do some shots back at her home. Then came her birth. I must say, the photo above was taken when she was nearly 5 weeks from her due date, and 6 weeks from her actual birth! Yes our little one was a late birth!
It was a long 5 weeks, anticipating the birth of little Leanna Jewel. Everyday we would check the progress, do what the midwife said, walk, walk and more walking. This little one didn’t want to leave her mother’s side. She was warm, cozy, but running out of space.
October 19th, after Laura being dilated to 3 for weeks, put on bed-rest at 36 weeks, her water broke at 1:30am. I was snuggled up ready to go to bed, and I get the call we had all wanted. I drove to her house, thankfully Laura lives close to me, and as I drove down the street to turn the corner to her house.. I started thinking to myself “Amanda, do you have what you need.. your camera bag!!??”…. it seemed for nearly 4 weeks I had all my gear packed, and my overnight bag. Then when the time comes it’s filled with excitement! Yes don’t worry I had everything, in fact everything was already in my car….. for the last 4 weeks!
We drove to the birth center, and then we waited. I was gleaming for my close friend, but I also was there to photography this birth… so I had to remain calm. Laura has never done a water birth so this was her first time, and my first time photographing it. The midwives where wonderful, and helped her a lot, made her feel comfortable.
She did wonderful, Laura and little Leanna did great! It was such a tearful yet joyous moment to capture and be apart of. I went home after the birth so they can all spend time bonding with each other, it was a little after 6am when I left the birth center. Little Leanna came out with wide eyes, seeing the world, and weighing at 9lbs 11oz. She looked right at her mom, and her mom looked right at her. They locked eyes and just calmly embraced each others warmth. The most amazing thing to see though, was Laura’s two daughters helping to cut the cord. That was beautiful!
I wanted our little to get settled in to her new life before she came to the studio. Laura had to adjust to having three girls and her husband had to adjust to having 4 women in the house! Needless to say I was able to get little Leanna in the studio once at 7 days old and again at 14 days. To be apart of someone’s pregnancy and watch her grow, watch her be born and hold her… priceless.
And this my friends, was one of the most beautiful miracles of life created.