One of the things we thought about when we first learned of Toby’s sIUGR condition was whether or not we wanted to have a birth photographer present. Admittedly, Josh was not on board with the idea, but he didn’t make too much of a fuss about it. Originally we had looked at an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS). This group of extraordinary people sends volunteers to take pictures of a little angel that has left this world too soon. We didn’t know if we would be bringing Toby home, if he would be born sleeping, or if we would only have a few moments or days with him. It was too hard to think about.
As time went on, I decided that since I was determined Toby was coming home, I wouldn’t ask NILMDTS to come. There were two reasons I made this decision. 1- Come hell or high water, Toby was going to make it. If I had to sell my soul, it was going to happen. (That’s how I felt, anyway.) 2- Since we didn’t know if Toby would be ok or not, I couldn’t bear the thought of asking them to donate their time (which is what they graciously do) to us, when there might be someone who absolutely needed them. Maybe Toby would make it and we would have used a precious resource someone else needed. The thought ate me up.
So, I went online and started researching birth photographers. It took a little bit of time, but we finally found the one who was perfect for us. An angel behind a camera lens. As far as birth photographers are concerned, Michelle Garey is the best thing that could have happened to us; her gift has beautifully illustrated Toby’s story and captured moments both intense and calm. Here are a few of the stunning shots she took for us.
Something that I have learned about birth photography is that while the skills of the photographer are important, the connection between your family and the photographer is paramount. You are choosing to open your life at your most vulnerable to someone you barely know, and who is documenting EVERYTHING. The birth of your child is different than a wedding. (You’re not dressed up, you aren’t wearing makeup, and no one spent hours on your hair.) But it is equally as important. Even Josh agrees now.
Michelle wasn’t the first photographer we met with, but she was the absolute right one for us. When choosing your birth photographer, spend time with them. Make sure you feel comfortable texting them in the middle of the night, they will be seeing ALL of you after all! HA!
Our only regret about birth photography is waiting until our 3rd child to do it. Not having to juggle a camera- having Dad in the pictures-receiving stunning pictures; nothing else can replace those things.
Make sure you go check out Michelle’s gallery: http://www.michellegareyphotography.com/. See all of her beautiful work! (She didn’t ask us to do this, but we think she is awesome and deserves a huge shout out! Plus, she’s donated an entire basket for the project AND designed beautiful cards to go in all of them. She really is an angel!)
If you want a super cool gift to give expectant parents, consider chipping in with some friends to give them the gift of birth photography. (Let them pick the photographer, though.) It’s a baby shower gift that the baby will never outgrow!