Caroline, is so much more than a client... she has become such a close friend in the years since she first came into my life. A little backstory. I met Caroline in 2010 when her first photographer cancelled on her and left her quite literally "stood up" on location, while she was about 8 months pregnant! By the grace of God she somehow found me on Google and set into place a friendship that would change me as a person, and my business forever. We captured some beautiful photos during that maternity session, she's one of the most gorgeous pregnant women I've ever seen. A few short weeks later I get a phone call. One of those calls that you never forget... I'll always remember, I was standing in my kitchen cooking dinner. It was Caroline's sister. Caroline had lost sweet Cale. He was born sleeping. I hit my knees and started sobbing right there in the kitchen. I was taken back by how much this effected me. I'd only met Caroline for the 2 hours I shot with her. I'd not had kids of my own yet to understand a loss like that. But there I sat, numb, and angry, confused, and quite honestly lost.
Weeks passed and I realized I had to deliver Caroline's maternity session. Not knowing how it would be received I felt a knot tie in my stomach. Delivering that album was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But I'm so thankful I did. Eventually my anger for what happened to Caroline, Miles, and Cale went away. And in it's place was hope... I promised to never forget Cale. And I haven't. I think of him often! He is still so much a part of their lives, still "alive", still being spoken of, still being loved. It's a beautiful thing to witness. She's taught me so much about infant loss. Even now years later I'm still continually amazed at her strength, yet her willingness to be transparent and vulnerable. If you know of anyone who has experienced the loss of a child she has a wonderful blog, you can visit HERE.
Fast forward nearly a year. I run into Caroline at a local store. And I see this sweet bump. She was expecting again. She asked if I would shoot her maternity session again, and I gladly accepted! Here's what I didn't know at the time. The next question she asked would completely change my business in the coming years. She asked if I would photograph Finley's birth. I myself was pregnant at the time, scared to "see behind the curtain" if you will before my own delivery. But, honestly I would've moved Heaven and Earth to make her happy. Again, I gladly obliged.
The time came for Finn's' delivery, I was in awe of her strength, her gracefulness. I was humbled by the palpable fear for the unknown. Remembering that nothing is ever promised in life. When it came time to push, it was over in a flash, 14 minutes of pushing which felt more like 2 minutes, and then the room held its breath.... waiting for that first breath. That first cry. And what a glorious cry Finn let out. The relief, the joy... the tears! There are no words to describe what sharing that moment meant to me. Being in the room when a new life enters this world, is spiritual, no doubt. But being in a room, when a family has experienced loss like that, knowing what this "cry" meant to them. It was almost more than I could handle. Finn's whole birth story can be seen HERE. I encourage you to read that post and view his sweet birth as well.
Caroline and Miles were re-stationed about 2 years ago to Killeen, TX. I got word that Caroline was expecting again and due in December. Remember how I said I would move Heaven and Earth to make her happy. There was no way I was missing out on being a part of this little one's story. Flights were booked, rental cars obtained... and I was on my way. In just over 48 hours of my arrival we managed to squeeze in a mini Maternity session, the birth of sweet Mary, and her newborn session. God is so good and so gracious in His will that miraculously we were able to get all of this in while I was there.
So here is Mary's birthday. Again, Caroline handled the day with poise and grace, a powerful force of motherhood and strength. I remembered how quickly Finn came, what seemed like the blink of an eye when Caroline started pushing. Mary was even quicker! That's not to say that labor wasn't long, and miserable at times... but Caroline doesn't mess around when it comes time to push. I think I counted 2 and a half pushes. And there SHE was, they had a daughter! Caroline and Miles had waited until birth to find out what they were having. So these expressions are one of relief and joy, but also the surprise of their sweet baby girl.
It's been an honor and a blessing to be a part of each of her children's lives and legacy. I don't think even she knows how much she and her children have impacted my life.
Her simple request for me to shoot Finn's birth, the experience I had, the miracle I witnessed... I knew I wanted to do this for a living. I knew right then I wanted to be a birth photographer. I wanted to capture these moments forever for moms and dads. There is no greater honor than to share the room when a baby is welcomed to the world. None greater.
I'm forever thankful for her friendship.
Love to you Caroline, Miles, Cale, Finley, and sweet Mary!
Song by Gungor - Beautiful Things