Ready for a wild story? Cause this one is one of my craziest yet! Georgia’s mom contacted me in Cape Town from Johannesburg saying essentially “shame you aren’t in Joburg”. I wrote back something to the effect of “You aren’t the first from Johannesburg to inquire, I don’t know how it would work out but I’m up for it if you are.” The in between was many emails that eventually resulted in “lets take this risk and see what happens”. She booked me way in advance and I’m glad she did because it quickly became my busiest month ever. We had a good pre-birth consultation over skype to make sure we were both comfortable with the “what-ifs.” The plan was as soon as labour was imminent, I get on a plane. I pretty much didn’t sleep some nights just thinking about it. Then fast forward to a month before her due date, when Noah’s family contacts me also wanting a destination birth photographer to come to Johannesburg. Theirs was to be a scheduled c-section, past this other due date. This is why you can never plan births. So I’m living now with my normal gear ready to go plus an overnight bag. One morning my phone rings around 4 am. I think its Georgia’s mom. I even told my husband the night before “I feel like I will be on a plane in the morning”. Lo and behold, its Noah’s family saying waters have broken early, its go-time. It took me a good 3 minutes to make sense of which family was calling me, I was so turned around. Already a crazy turn of events. So I arrive in Johannesburg and cover their birth. I text Georgia’s mom and let her know I’m in town. I text my husband something like “wouldn’t it be funny if I just stayed and did both births while I was here.” Famous last words. As I am wrapping Noah’s birth, my gut is saying to stay. A nasty storm is rolling into town. I hate flying in those. They are now all involved in ‘what should the birth photographer do’ weighing in with their thoughts. Which was hilarious, that was the atmosphere of that birth, like a party really… with great snacks. They all think I should stay overnight. What could it hurt? I could leave in the morning if nothing is happening. I text Georgia’s mom and she’s been to her doctor (a rescheduled appointment mind you) and she’s a little bit dilated. I decide, my gut has never failed me. I’m staying. I just have this unshakable feeling. So Noah’s family drop me off with Georgia’s family. She’s having intermittent contractions, but it could be nothing. I will be spending the night in their guest cottage. I unload my memory cards from Noah’s birth, charge my batteries, recheck & clean my gear. Take a shower. Its been a long day. I’ve been traveling or shooting for 18 hours now. I get in bed, turn off the lights, feel the tiredness creep in my bones. Not 3 minutes later my phone rings. Its go-time. We walk into the hospital around midnight and Georgia is born at 5:30 am… several doors down from where I was with Noah all day. I actually went to visit Noah’s parents as I left 🙂 The hospital staff see me walk in with a totally different family and I got a chuckle out of that. By the time I got into bed mid the next day, I was pretty exhausted. Almost 2 nights missed sleep. But how incredible it all worked out. Georgia’s mom took a risk hiring me but was unwavering that somehow it would all work out. And it did. She didn’t have a birth photographer the first time around and wished she did. I would say half my clients are actually second and third time moms who tell me this. Had Noah’s family never hired me, who knows how this would have turned out. Its given me the courage to accept more destination births and journey with these families. I especially want to thank Georgia’s mom for loving my work enough to take a risk. I hope these photos of such a historic day in your life will always flood your heart with beautiful memories. It was epic!
Enjoy the birth of Georgia and when you are done, be sure to see her newborn session that we squeezed in the next day before my flight.
These are the photos this family chose to share. As always, I only share whatever that family is comfortable sharing or nothing at all.
Before you go, come see Georgia’s newborn session, just 26 hours old.