hello bianca + a birth story

DISCLAIMER The following sequence of images documents a live birth.
If you continue to view this post you will inevitably see some photographs of a baby being born.

When I mentioned that I was planning on documenting my friend Lindsay’s birth, I had quite a few reactions, most positive, some raised eyebrows, many questions as to why. Being a photographer, I am always drawn to the beauty of life and love in this world, and now even more towards a documentary and photojournalism style. What is “the” most remarkable moment? Throughout my life, that remarkable moment changed from tying my shoelaces by myself, to graduating each educational milestone, to jumping off of the rickety wooden diving board into the mountain lake, to kissing my husband after our vows… and then it became clear to me that meeting our son was the single most amazing moment of my life (the funny thing, is that I wasn’t exactly present and can barely remember any details, just foggy memories). Other people will have different WOW moments, but mine will always be the miracle of life. I am so incredibly honored that I was able photograph Bianca’s birth! Witnessing this baby girl’s first breaths has forever changed everything that I am.

This was my first time photographing a birth and the anticipation was unreal! Everything unfolded so quickly and I feel that I am still recovering from the adrenaline. A baby girl was born and it was the most phenomenal experience.

I received a text on my phone from Lindsay at 11:19pm saying that she woke up with some “fairly strong ones”. Took my camera bag to the door along with my keys. My phone rang at 11:28pm and I literally jumped off of the couch (I had my phone turned up full blast)… it was time to go to the hospital! I contemplated brushing my teeth (wasn’t sure when the next time I’d be able to do that was) so 10 seconds of brushing and I drove as conservatively fast as I could to the hospital. I parked, the clock on my dashboard said 11:38pm. I entered the room at 11:50pm to see Lindsay going through a fairly strong contraction. She was in total control. Introductions, hi to everyone, quick hugs. More intense labor. Doctor arrived between 12:20-12:25. Bianca was born at 12:35. So fast!

My beautiful friend and her husband trusted me to capture the empowerment of labor, the first breaths of their baby, and the amazing  joy of meeting their 3rd daughter. I will be connected to this baby girl and her family in my heart for all of time. You can see Lindsay’s spontaneous 4 minute maternity session here.

Thank-you so much to the Doctor and Nurses for allowing me to be there. Thank-you to Lindsay and Kirk, words cannot express how grateful I am for this truly amazing experience, xoxoxoxo.

This is Bianca’s birth story:

Bianca’s Birth Story as told by her Momma:
It all started at about 3pm… I’d had a few contractions that felt more than uncomfortable. Thinking that this could be the day, I made arrangements for my 2 daughters to go stay with my parents.
At 5pm, contractions continued to be mildly painful and about 5-7 minutes apart, so I paced the house, walked the neighborhood, watched a show, ate cereal… waiting for things to progress. By 9pm I was totally discouraged, having told family and friends that I thought I was in labour I was feeling like I may have spoke too soon… I was suddenly completely exhausted and decided to go to bed; perhaps if this is labour, a bit of sleep will do me some good.
At 11:15pm I awoke suddenly, for some reason I was literally throwing myself around in bed. It took me a moment to know what was wrong… pain, real labour pain. I stood up, went downstairs waited for 2 more contractions; they were hard, strong and about 1 minute apart. Time to go. Nycky-Jay was called to meet us at the hospital, texts went out to parents. We drove to the hospital like we had just robbed a bank, I held on for dear life – not because of painful contractions, because my husbands driving was scary (being that we live about 2 minutes from the hospital, I assured him this was not necessary – we’ll make it).
Once we had arrived at the hospital it was about 11:45 before we were settled in a room. I walked and labored around the room while the nurse and my husband frantically filled out paperwork, with each contraction things were getting increasingly more intense. Every so often the nurse or Kirk would look over their shoulder and throw me a “you’re doing great!” or “keep breathing, that’s it.”
Once the paperwork was finished Kirk helped me into a gown and the nurse was able to check my dilation… I was expecting to be about 5-6 cm and thought I had a few hours to go… not so much, 8 cm. I was told at this stage that my doctor was paged and should arrive soon.
Things quickly became immensely painful and I gave myself a quick peptalk “you have to get through this, you have no choice, so just breathe and everything will be fine”. I felt at this point like I was no longer controlling my body, my body just took over and did what it was meant to do. A few more strong contractions and an unbearable urge to bear down and push…
My doctor arrived just in time. I felt overwhelming relief to see his face when he walked through the door and very calmly and cooly put a gown on and assisted in coaching me for the third time through the pushing stage of the delivery.
8 minutes and about 5 pushes later… My third baby girl was placed in my arms. You would think at 3 that the miracle of a baby would be less awe inspiring. But no, it is just as amazing and just as incredible the third time. Her cry, her face, her fingers and toes, her resilience and strength all so wondrous and astounding.

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January 27, 2014 - 5:12 pm

Angela - When our youngest son was born we had a photographer/friend in the delivery room with us.

He will be 3 years old in a few weeks and I still love looking through the book I made of Carmen Freemarks wonderful work capturing our sons arrival.

I just wish I could have those same moments captured for his 3 older brothers.

It takes a special person to be welcomed into such special occasions.

February 2, 2013 - 6:59 pm

Claire Vardy - N.Jay, I first experienced your presence and gift of photography at Lindsay and Kirk’s wedding and now seeing the birth of granddaughter Bianca through your eyes is such a gift. Thank you – so beautifully and artistically captured.
Claire Vardy

February 2, 2013 - 4:59 am

Sara - WOW! These are ridiculously A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!!! I am soooo glad you captured these priceless memories for your friends. You truly did a STUNNING job!!!!!
Great disclaimer, BTW! Genius 😉

February 2, 2013 - 3:09 am

robin wocks - This brought tears to my eyes! One day this little girl will be amazed (maybe a wee be horrified) and totally thankful that her parents had a fabulous photographer documenting the day of her welcoming.
Birthing a beautiful process, sadly, as women we rarely feel beautiful during it. Lindsay, you are the exception! Congratulations mommy and daddy, and welcome you the world Miss Bianca.
Nycky – You have more than out done yourself, BRAVO!

February 2, 2013 - 3:02 am

Shirley Neil - WOW is all that comes to mind. Great job!!!!

February 2, 2013 - 12:53 am

Cheryl - That was beautiful, it made me cry. I loved it, what a miracle.

February 2, 2013 - 12:09 am

jennifer armstrong - beautiful, intimate captures of a most precious time. They will cherish these photographs always. Heartfelt congratulations to all!

February 1, 2013 - 10:47 pm

Jennie - Oh Nycky-Jay. Your capture of Linds, Kirk, and Bianca is outstanding. So beautiful to see my friend who I’ve known and loved for so (SO) many years become a third time mother. Gorgeous! Loved it.

February 1, 2013 - 9:05 pm

Jan Staebell - What a wonderful keepsake for the parents and princess. The black and white was a great idea for the eye to focus on the important details. Loved the back side of the “Maternity” door to signify the end of the story! Beautiful!!

February 1, 2013 - 8:40 pm

kath cullen - That’s it. You caught all the magic moments of birth. Well done. Fabulous!

February 1, 2013 - 8:34 pm

Leanne Allingham - This has got to be the most beautiful blog post I have read……WOW!!!!

February 1, 2013 - 8:17 pm

Jessica - Wow… these are absolutely beautiful! Made me cry like a baby, what a wonderful experience!! Our baby is due in 4 weeks, and this made me more excited, nervous, at ease and everything all wrapped into one! 🙂 Beautiful job! Beautiful family! Thank you for sharing!

February 1, 2013 - 8:13 pm

Lisa Pollock - Amazing, beautiful, brings tears to my eyes!!!

February 1, 2013 - 8:07 pm

Sarah - Beautiful! I love this. So precious!

February 1, 2013 - 8:01 pm

Chelsea Siggelkow - Nycky-Jay, I love this! Wow. What precious memories. Down to the smallest most abstract details. The black and white was so smart. The beautiful contrast, and keeping focus on the right details. Not to be distracted by the busyness of a hospital room. Hospital lighting is so hard. You nailed it. If I have babies, can you come do mine?:) xoxo

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