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twins

Columbus, GA Photographer | Birth | Ker-Fox Photography | Merritt M.

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Columbus, GA Photographer | Birth | Ker-Fox Photography | Merritt M.

The closest I've EVER come to missing a birth, was this one right here. Rachel was a scheduled c-section but sweet Merritt had decided she was to choose her own birthday. I got the call that Sunday just before lunch. Admittedly in my pajamas, no make up and doing laundry at home about 25 minutes from the hospital, when my phone rang and I heard Rachel's mom on the other end: Rachel's in labor, they're about to take her back, you're probably not going to make it. I've never run through the house, put close on and grabbed my camera bag so quickly in my life. By the grace of God I was on-call for her with my bags packed and ready, and my husband was home to watch the kids or I would've missed it for sure. (Insert sage wisdom of a seasoned birth photographer right here ---> this is why we charge the same thing for c-section births as labor clients, there are no guarantees that babies come on certain days).

I arrived at the hospital just knowing I wasn't going to make it, but the wonderful staff at St. Francis, my family/home away from home, had a nurse at the entrance of the waiting room ready with a set of scrubs for me. They rushed me back, I threw the scrubs on, unpacked my camera, and I kid you not as I put it around my neck they called Justin and I back into the OR. From the time I arrived to baby being born was less than 10 minutes. 

Rachel was grace under pressure the whole day... there were concerns in the hours leading up to the delivery, then sweet Merritt required a brief visit to the nursery for some extra help right after birth, and then Rachel experienced a rough patch as well when her epidural wore off precipitously. Her doctor, Dr. Stephens was phenomenal. He is always a calm voice, and a confident comforter. The whole day felt like a whirlwind for me, I can only imagine what it must've felt like for her and Justin. When the buzz of busy finally settled down, their precious twin boys (Their birth story can be seen HERE) came to snuggle and love their new sister. And as they tend to do, the bigs steal the show. 

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Columbus, GA Photographer | Family Photojournalism | Ker-Fox Photography | Hart & Mills

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Columbus, GA Photographer | Family Photojournalism | Ker-Fox Photography | Hart & Mills

The timing of this blog post could not have been more perfect. Today, I celebrate these precious boys and their awesome mom and dad, by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY Hart & Mills! One year ago today I watched your momma labor over 24 hours, I watched her fight for 9 months to get the birth she wanted, and I've watched her and your dad fall in love with you over and over again for the last 365 days.  (If you're feeling so inclined, you can view her birth story HERE)

Eliza and I have so many overlaps in our friendship and personal career, I'm certain she's taken as many photos of my family as I have of hers. She's my go to gal when I need to cry, vent, laugh, tell an inappropriate joke, or take a mom break. She keeps me grounded and helps keep my compass pointed North when life gets crazy. I think, if any of you who have a friend that sounds like what I just described, then count yourself blessed. People like her don't come around very often.

Aside from adoring her. I adore her family. She and Mike have excelled at parenting these sweet boys. It hasn't always been easy. As they say the days are long but the years are short. I know she is feeling the weight of that reality today as her babies turn 1. 

Let this next part be a cautionary tale from this mother's heart, rather than a sales pitch. Life happens. It happens in the minutes and seconds of each day. It happens even when you aren't paying attention. It's one of the simultaneously cruel and beautiful things about life... that we are only moving forward. While our hearts ache to slow life down, we rejoice in each milestone. The dichotomy of dreading the fact that they will need you less and less, yet that is exactly what our goal is, to raise these little humans to succeed without us. What we captured for Eliza and Mike during this session, is Life. Their beautiful life, wrapped up in those seconds and minutes that most days go unnoticed for the treasures that they are. 

Aside from birth photography I've never felt so compelled to tell people about the power of family photojournalism. They are only this age once, you may move away from the house you brought them home from the hospital. Life happens. You may not be able to freeze time, but I can bottle up these handful of moments for you to relive forever.

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Columbus GA Maternity, Delivery, Newborn Photography | Ker-Fox Photography | Finley's Journey

Please take the time to actually read this blog... their story is one to be told and one to be respected. The Hidalgo family came into my life over a year ago and since then they've gone from being my client, to being my dear friends. They've allowed me into the most intimate, tragic, hopeful, and miraculous times of their lives and I couldn't feel more honored. This blog is a perfect example of what we strive to do here at Ker-fox photography... photobiography, telling your story, all of it, and hopefully doing so with grace and love.

The Hidalgo's story with us started last year when Caroline called me to schedule a maternity session, she was due with her first child Cale. She quickly wanted to capture some maternity photos to surprise her husband who was stationed overseas at the moment. So we did, and got some gorgeous photos of her sweet belly and baby Cale. A mere few weeks later I got a phone call from her sister, and immediately I assumed the call was to tell me that Cale had arrived and get Caroline on the calendar for a newborn session. the news couldn't have been further from that... Caroline and Miles lost Cale. I sank into the kitchen floor and just sobbed. I just could not wrap my head around the news. My heart ached, and words escaped me. There are no words that comfort that kind of loss.

As some time passed Caroline and Miles contacted me to thank me for the session, and for capturing those moments with their sweet Cale. The first time I got to see them after their loss was to deliver their album, which was also the first time I'd ever met Miles. Delivering that album was one of the most difficult things I've had to do for one of my clients. The bad news wasn't done raining on this dear family... Miles and his entire family all serve in the military, graduates of the prestigious West Point, even Caroline herself graduated from West Point where she and Miles met. So to say that this is a patriotic family would be a massive understatement. Miles brother, Daren paid the ultimate price for that patriotism, as he was killed by an I.E.D. in Afghanistan in February. It all seems too much for one family to endure in a lifetime, much less in the timespan of under a year.

Sometime early in the year I get a phone call from Caroline... she was expecting again! Another little boy, Finley Daren (Daren, after his courageous Uncle), due just weeks before what would have been Cale's 1st birthday. Our journey together had begun once more. Again Miles was deployed but this time we waited for him to get back then scheduled her maternity session. She also asked if I would consider shooting the actual delivery, I didn't hesitate and immediately said of course! Little did I know that I soon too would be pregnant and shooting a delivery a few short months before my own arrival! But I was totally game for the experience, after all what could be a more miraculous thing to photograph than a new life coming into the world.

This blog isn't about me, but I must tell you what an amazing, beautiful, spiritual experience it was to witness Mr. Finley's birth. It was just Caroline, Miles, and myself... I mean what an honor. Caroline was such a trooper and seriously only pushed for 7 min.... let me repeat that, 7 min. I even checked my time stamps on the photos to make sure. She was full of grace considering just a year earlier that she lost her precious Cale. I say lost, but he isn't lost at all. They include him in so much that they do, his memory is strong, and I know they will always have it that way. Finn will always know about his big brother Cale thanks to his mom and dad. He was even wrapped in the same blanket as his big brother Cale. They also have a gorgeous bench and garden in their backyard in his memory. Caroline is a strong outspoken mother of losing a child, please take the time to check her blog and read all of Cale's story by clicking here. Also check her blog to see posts of Finley and just their life in general by clicking here.

To say that these 3 mean so much to me is an understatement. Every single client that walks through my door effects my life in some positive way... but meeting these two has completely changed my life. I don't think even they know quite what they mean to me, being a part of their lives and the way they allowed me in it. Yes it was my job, and my purpose was to capture these moments for them. But for me this was so much more than "work".

I love all of my newborns I get to shoot, but I watch fondly as this little one grows and always remember Cale. Cause if it weren't for Cale, I wouldn't know these two amazing people.

Below are some of the images from the month long journey from her maternity session to the delivery to the newborn session... I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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