Weekly Gratitude Vol. 9 – Special Edition

I’ve known Kirsten for a very long time.  We were still kids when we first met.  She could probably tell you the exact date we met, and what we were both wearing…  because she’s great at remembering those things.  That’s one of the qualities I love about her.  

In many ways, we’ve taken different paths over the last 24-ish years.  But our paths always seem to cross again and again, keeping us connected as the years past by.   Some of my most treasured memories include Kirsten, and this week’s experience with her is my all time favorite.

On Monday morning, at 7:20 am, I arrived at Banner Hospital in Gilbert.  I nervously knocked on room 7, and opened the door to see Kirsten on the other side in labor.  I was there because she asked me to photograph the birth of her second child.

I’ve never witnessed a birth before.  I’m not good with blood and don’t like medical facilities.  I wasn’t sure this was something I could do, but I knew I wanted to try.  Having the chance to document such an amazing experience was something I was not going to pass up.

I discovered that I am oddly focused behind the camera, even in this situation.  And that allows me to witness what’s unfolding in front of me in a way that’s hard to describe… but it’s a little like being stuck in slow motion.   I am aware of my exposure and my composition.  But more importantly, I’m anticipating the next moment.  I think that’s what slows down time… the anticipation.  And within that small pause, there’s just enough space see what’s really in front of me, that otherwise might be missed.

Yes, I saw a human being come into this world and it was insanely amazing.  But I also saw the tenderness in a father’s eyes when he sees his son for the first time, and the obvious love this man has for his wife.  I saw the relief on a mother’s face when she knows her son is healthy, followed by the sweetest smile that must only be reserved for a day like this.  The depth of a grandmother’s love was undeniably present in every moment throughout the entire morning.  I photographed a birth, but I also witnessed so many forms of love unfold in front of me between a family.  It was a spectacular experience.

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Labor makes a girl very hungry!  She was eyeing that menu hours before baby Hudson arrived.

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The next few photos were taken in Spain. We were both 15 years old, and spent part of our summer there.  We had many silly moments while we were there, and most of them were caught on film.  One night, Kirsten grabbed a pillow to pretend she was having a baby, and I took the before and after pictures.  If someone told me then that I would be doing this for real in our future, I NEVER would have believed them.  Life is full of surprises and fun coincidences.

I’m grateful for Kirsten’s friendship.  And I’m grateful Kirsten and her husband, Steve, trusted me to photograph this experience for them.  And I’m grateful for the opportunity to witness this amazing miracle.  This is one memory I will never, ever forget!

Kirsten and Steve…  congratulations on your new baby boy!   Brooklyn and Hudson are beautiful children and I’m very happy for the both of you!

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