About ten years ago I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career so I took a course in career decision making. During the process I learned that my love of pregnancy, and labour and delivery could be something that I could turn into some sort of career. From there I took a Doula (birth companion and post-birth supporter) course in Maple Ridge and got a job at The Birth Place. I really enjoyed it, and attended a few births, but realized it wasn't something that would support myself and my son.
A couple years later I went to UFV, met my husband, got my Diploma in Social Services, and started working as an Education Assistant. In 2009, after having my youngest son, I again looked into doing something with pregnancy and birth. I spoke with the Director of the Midwifery Program at UBC, and was considering going into Midwifery. After some thought though, I realized that it wasn't something that would be practical with a young family. You are on call 24/7, are often moved around, and there is a LOT of school work. I completely came to terms that it just wasn't meant to be for me to be involved in this type of work.
Fast forward 6 years later. My life has taken a completely different turn than I had ever thought. If you had told me I would be a professional photographer, I would have thought you were crazy. I always LOVED photography. I was the person that brought their camera with them everywhere, my room was COVERED in pictures, but I just didn't have the confidence. I didn't think I was creative enough. It is truly my passion though, something I believe I was meant to do.
I have known Aaron and Nicole for 2 years now. Nicole originally contacted me for maternity photos with their second daughter. I fell in love with their family immediately. Aaron and Nicole are some of the sweetest people I have ever met, and I just love their daughters, Anika and Karis. We have gotten together for pictures at least every 6 months. I have loved watching their family grow, and was super excited when they told me they were pregnant with a third!! I did their pregnancy announcement photos, and when we got together 6 months later for their maternity photos, Nicole asked me if I would be interested in attending the birth. Ummm, yes please!!! I was so honoured that they would even think to ask me to be there!!
On the afternoon of Monday, June 6th, 2016, Nicole messaged and let me know that they were in the hospital. She was having some minor complications and had been there since the night before. She was having irregular contractions but they were going to break her water in hopes of inducing active labour. She said she would keep me posted. I can't tell you how excited I was!! For them to finally meet their newest addition, and for myself, as I couldn't wait to attend a birth again!
I very impatiently waited by the phone the rest of the day. Things were slowly moving along. It wasn't until 1040pm that I finally got the message, "Can you come now?" I think I was in the truck and on my way before I even replied, "Yep!"
When I arrived things were very calm. Nicole had an epidural so she was confined to the bed. I told them to try to pretend I wasn't there and to carry on with everything. I took some detail shots, and we quietly chatted. The doctor and nurses were wonderful. They made sure Nicole was as comfortable as possible and had everything she needed. By about 12:30am, the doctor made the choice to try to get things moving more quickly by giving oxytocin. There was talk of a possible c-section and poor Nicole was beginning to feel frustrated.
We all attempted to get some rest, when suddenly around 1:15am Nicole began to feel pressure. The doctor and Nurse were quite surprised that she was so suddenly fully dilated and ready to push! It was time!! Baby was ready to come!
Nicole was such a trooper, and Aaron was so supportive. It only took about 20 minutes of pushing, and suddenly little baby BOY, Oakley, was here!! It was one of the coolest moment I think I've ever experienced as a photographer! To be able to not only be at a birth, but to capture it for them in such a way, was AMAZING!! I loved looking back at the first moments, the very first time Oakley saw the world and reached for his mom, the little smiles from Nicole, the look of extreme love they have for their new baby, as well as for each other. WOW! Plus, this was their first boy!! Such a blessing! I hear that big sister Anika was over the moon in love with little Oakley, and Karis was a little unsure. Haha, she's not even 2 yet. I'm sure it will just take a bit of time to get used to ;)
I am so thankful to Aaron and Nicole for allowing me to share this experience with them and I can't wait to continue to see them all grow throughout the years!
I am also so thankful that I am able to combine two things I am truly passionate about! Labour and delivery, as well as photography! Maybe this will spur a new chapter for Brooklyn D Photography! :)