Updated: Mar 14, 2019
This one is a tough one for me to write. The emotions I have felt for this family through photographing them is of course, nothing compared to what they're feeling... but I too, am grieving the loss of sweet little Logan and my heart aches for his family so deeply.
It was Monday afternoon, 4th March at around 6pm. I was preparing dinner, the kids at my feet, hubby only a few minutes off arriving home, when I got a message from Belinda. She informed me that she was in birth suite waiting for the arrival of her sweet boy, Logan, who was coming into this world at only 22 weeks.
Considering that, up until now, I had not experienced the loss of a baby. How was I sure that I could keep it together for this family? How was I sure that I could get myself out of the pain after being witness to such loss? To be honest.. I didn't know! So in a bit of a panic, I rang a lovely fellow birth photographer. I expressed my concerns. I asked her how I could figure out whether this is something that I could do. She of course listened to my concerns, reassured me and offered to be there for me if I needed any support and that if I was totally overwhelmed by it all, she would come to the hospital to take over for me. Once we chatted for a little while , I told her I'd have a think about it and let her know what I decided.
I think it was once my husband got home when I decided that I was going to do it. He reassured me that I can do it. That I had been there for mothers at their happiest moments in life.. and that now I can be there for a mother during one of the saddest moments in her life.
I arrived at the hospital and was let into birth suites. I was shown which room Belinda was in and then the moment came.. I had to walk through the door. I took a deep breath and tapped on the door, announcing myself. I walked up to Belinda and her partner, Will, not really knowing what to say. What do you say to someone who is awaiting the arrival of a baby that they will not get to take home safe and sound!?
You could feel the love these two have for one another. Comforting each other. Embracing one another. Waiting patiently for their baby boy. It's safe to say this is when the photographer in me took over. I focused on my camera. I focused on what settings I needed for the dim lighting. I focused on the composition of the images I wanted to capture. I focused on being as quiet and discreet as I could be.
It was around midnight when the midwives and Belinda had given me instructions to head home to get some sleep as labour had slowed down a bit. She had told me that her most valuable memories she wanted captured was the first skin to skin moments and his tiny little baby details, so if I did happen to miss the actual birth, she wasn't going to be disappointed. So off I went, getting home for a couple of hours sleep until Will rang me, informing me that bub was not far off and that I should make my way back to the hospital. Belinda had been adamant that I went home to get some sleep. What a beautifully kind woman. Here she is, experiencing the greatest loss, yet she was concerned for me...
Once I had arrived back at the hospital, I walked up to the birthing suite again... got to Belinda's room.. and took that deep breath in again. I entered the room and the midwife informed me that Logan had just been born. Once again the photographer in me kicked in. I focused on my job, capturing that first cuddle. Those sweet little details. The beautiful soft touch between Belinda and Will, surrounding one another with their love for their little boy. It wasn't until I put my camera down for a minute... that's when the tears started to well up. But for me, this was not the time or place to become an emotional wreck. I had an obligation to this beautiful couple and I was not about to let my emotions get in the way of that. I had agreed to capture this moment for them and that is exactly what I continued to do.
His tiny little toes, his gorgeous little button nose. Watching Will wipe away the tears that streamed down Belinda's face. Logan's first cuddles with his Daddy. His Mummy & Daddy looking at him, discovering all of his features, discussing which features were from Mummy and which features were from Daddy. I moved around the room silently capturing all that I could.
Once I felt I had captured all the images I could, I knew this couple needed space to themselves to bond with baby Logan. So I quietly approached them, holding tight onto Belinda's arm. I can't really remember what I said to them as I tried to hold back the tears. I knew she could see it in my face. From one mother to another... She knew the words I wanted to say but couldn't. And then I said goodbye.
I took a few more minutes outside the birth suite door. Taking photos of a beautiful blue butterfly that had been stuck on the door. As I was adjusting my camera settings and taking a few quick shots of the butterfly... I started to hear something. The sobbing of Belinda. That uncontrollable kind that a person makes when the pain is unbearable. To me, this was the hardest part. Hearing Belinda's cry for her baby. That sound of a mother's cry for her sweet baby, will never leave me.
I have spoken to Belinda a few times since... she has also written a beautiful post, thanking me for giving her the precious gift of photography of her son. Something that they can hold onto forever. For this, I am so grateful. I am so grateful that they asked me. So grateful that I pushed my concerns aside and made the decision to capture this moment for them. Any pain I feel after being witness to sweet Logan's birth is far outweighed by the love and gratitude I feel for them knowing that I have made such a difference to their lives. Such a difference in the way they will grieve for their baby boy. My heart of course aches for them and will for some time to come. But knowing that these images will make such an impact in their lives, gives me so much peace.
When I asked Belinda how she felt about me sharing these images on social media.. she replied "We were so lucky to have him for the shortest time, sharing him with the world now is all we have left"... And for me... that just sums up the strength, love and down right beauty in this woman. She is a warrior. And I will never forget them.