MARCH 2018

As a documentary photographer, I think there is no greater challenge and beauty than photographing a birth.  But this was bigger than that.  This was the birth of my niece.  This was my sister and brother-in-law inviting me to welcome their baby to this world.  I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again… as a sister, there’s no greater feeling than knowing your sister trusts you enough to invite you to witness one of the most vulnerable yet significant moments in their lives.  As an aunt, there is no greater gift than witnessing your niece’s first breaths and getting to know her from the first seconds she was born.  Rielle, with your birth, you brought me closer to your mom and multiplied my love and admiration for her.  I hope that one day, as you read my take on your birth story, and as you go through these pictures, you see the strength of the love your family has since even before the first seconds you were born.  This is Rielle’s birth story.  


When Brianne messaged me to tell me her water broke, I couldn’t contain my excitement.  Just like the birth of her big sister, I was hours away from meeting my new niece (or nephew?) for the first time.  I went to bed for what would be a restless night… waking up every hour terrified I would miss it.  But Rielle took her time.  


It was only around noon the next day that I got the message to come over to the house that Brianne and Aaron hurried to renovate to have it ready just in time for Rielle’s arrival.  As I got there, having worked my way down the muddy Spring lane, I knew already that this would be different than her big sister’s birth… as Brianne, relaxed, walked around her kitchen, bounced on her exercise ball, and worked through contractions that came…and went…a bit sooner each time.  It wasn’t long before we moved upstairs (and back and forth) for the relief of the warm water in the shower… then in the bath… with Brianne and Aaron’s wedding song “You’re my Best Friend” playing in the background.  Brianne worked her way through contractions with Aaron supporting her every step of the way (with the occasional word game break on his phone between contractions haha).  


Then, all of a sudden, things started moving quickly.  Waiting inside of their shower for most of the time, I watched as Brianne pushed and… finally… a baby was born in water.  Have you ever tried taking photos while bawling?  Let’s just say I count myself lucky to have captured some of those first moments Brianne and Aaron met their baby girl.  We moved over to the bed where, she was first breastfed, where she was given the name Rielle, and where she got to meet her big sister just a little while later.  One of the midwives said “Welcome home Rielle” - and it was just that - Brianne and Aaron were able to welcome Rielle in the comfort and love of their home where she took her first breath, she will one day learn her first words, and take her first steps.  

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