Casey and I went to high school together, although I don’t believe we ever officially “met” until I took her maternity photos in 2017. She and Micheal were pregnant with a beautiful baby girl named Madilynn. Casey reached out to me in the first months of the year to book maternity and birth photos. We met, and shot some beautiful photos in the water one evening during Spring.
A little over a month later, I got the devastating news that they lost their precious little girl, on Mothers Day weekend. Casey was 36 weeks pregnant. My heart ached for these two sweet parents, who so obviously adored their daughter from the moment they found out about her. I gave Casey the space I knew she would want, being that we’d only truly met once, but watched their journey from a distance, admiring their strength. The pain they experienced was clearly seen, but the faith they had in their God was even more evident. Only a few months later, they announced that they were pregnant again, with their sweet rainbow baby Tanner. I was so happy for them, and as soon as I knew they wanted this birth documented I reached out to Casey.
Here is the beautiful story of their birth:
We knew Casey was being induced, and we kept in touch the evening before to make sure everything was still on track. I got a text at 7am that her contractions were already 5 minutes apart, so I packed my back and loaded the kids in the car. Once they were dropped off, I headed to Greer Memorial. I arrived around 9:30am, and she was already at 4cm. In 2 hours short she would jump to 6cm. She had her epidural placed before I arrived, so around noon it started to fade a bit and you could tell she was feeling the surges. Her very sweet nurse showed Micheal ways to help her through each contraction, instructing him to help sway her hips back and forth. This helped her, so he continued to do this through out the rest of her labor.
A bit of comedic relief came when Micheal said that he wanted to do “skin to skin” right then because of how cold Casey had the room. We all got a laugh out of that.
1:30 rolled around, and the nurses decided to start setting up the birth space, and by 2pm Casey had dialed to 9cm. It was almost time to push! They decided to replace the epidural, bc it was very evident that it’s effects had completely worn off for Casey and she was really feeling it. I don’t think the second epidural worked as well as it could have, but she got some relief. Only about 10 minutes later, Casey voiced that she *needed* to push. I knew it was time then!
The doctor rushed in, and barely made it before Tanner was crowning! Casey only had to push a few times, before her sweet baby boy joined us.
It was very evident that *sound* played a big role during this birth. From the moment I walked in, Tanner’s heart rate monitor was pounding away, as loud as it could go, filling the room with sweet and strong little heartbeats. I knew this was because that sweet noise was not present during their last birth, and it played a very important role in keeping mama calm as she brought her baby earthside. When Tanner emerged, I knew another sound that would play such a huge role for these two parents. This moment was not Casey or Micheal’s first time experiencing the birth of a baby. Once Tanner was out, I could tell they were holding their breath, waiting for that glorious ringing of a newborn cry. And when it came, the room was overwhelmed with cries and sobs of joy. My eyes filled with tears behind my camera as I watched these two incredible people embrace their new baby boy, and the wave of relief washed over them so powerfully as his cries echoed through the hospital room. Micheal looked at his son and said “you can cry as long as you want baby, I will never get tired of hearing that sound”
There aren’t a whole lot of words left to describe how precious the next moments were, so I’ll let the photos finish the story. I am overwhelmed with joy for these sweet parents, and I know their testimony, their entire journey from Madilynn to Tanner, speaks wonders to the community around them about their faith and their God. I’m blessed to be a witness to it.