This is a journey no one could have predicted. One you would never hope to go through, yet a journey that leaves you feeling so lucky and blessed. This family will always occupy a very special place in my heart because I have followed their journey from pregnancy through to today. I’ve shared many hours of meaningful conversation, ideas, dreams, hopes and desires. This beautiful family who cherish their daughter, love their music and value all the simple things in life had their world turned upside down – literally within the blink of an eye.
It was a planned homebirth with an independent midwife. All was well with mother and child, waiting father and big sister. But sometimes the best laid plans…. No one could have realised just how vital her decision to transfer to hospital was at the time.
The life of a mother and child are never more precious than at this pivotal moment, as a father watches on in a state of helpless desperation. He’s a bystander to events beyond his control as he hears the baby’s heart rate crash and witnesses the urgent commotion unfold before him. Then the wait… an eternity… The silence in the waiting room is a stark contrast to the anguished thoughts running desperately through his head. The independent and attending midwifes who’ve followed her journey from the beginning no doubt go over every detail from the hours and days before and weighing up the potential outcomes. I try to remain focused – document the journey, capture the story, keep eyes dry and settings tight.
The news comes that mother and baby are well – but then we hear that baby had inhaled meconium and burst a lung, something that they see once a year in NICU. He was undergoing an operation right away. Once stabilised, the father and midwives were shown in to see this beautiful baby boy. The emotion was overwhelming.
I went back to the hospital the next day to see him. His mum came down to see him for the first time since recovering from her emergency caesarean. Her apprehension, anxiety, fear and helplessness were all so present as she looked on at her baby who was under continuous care.
I returned again the next day. Fortune found me walking into NICU at just the right time. This lovely little man had made a profound recovery. He was off ventilation and had just woken for the first time since his birth into this world 40 hours earlier. He lay awake in the arms of his mother, about to enjoy the opportunity of his first ever breast feed. The sense of joy filled my heart as I witnessed a smile and look into my camera. It was if he had woken from a dream to find something he instinctively knew was right and as it should be. I will never forget the comfort I felt thinking I had witnessed his birth of consciousness.
It was a strange twist of fate that the next day I found myself walking into NICU, down towards the same crib in the early hours of the morning to attend a Heartfelt session for a baby boy who shared the same surname as the one I’d photographed here. It was one of the most challenging Heartfelt shoots I’ve done and a sad reminder of the reality of how the coin can land on either side.
Thank you to Kate and Rohann for allowing me to share this journey with you. I hope it fills you with the same sense of gratitude and warmth of love that it does for me.
If anyone would like more information of the services Heartfelt provide for families, please follow the link: www.heartfelt.org.au