Rainbow Birth | Austin Birth Photographer

I had the immense pleasure of photographing Hope and Hunter’s rainbow birth not too long ago. Many of you saw this image of Hunter, holding his new baby girl to his chest. “She was so tiny and beautiful and amazing, I just couldn’t believe she was ours,” he said. “It didn’t seem real that we could take her home with us.” The image went viral and the story covered by online news sources such as the Today Show, Love What Matters, Ellen Nation and Redbook Magazine. 

The tattoo you see on Hunter’s chest, a tree with an anchor for roots, was done after their first miscarriage. And now Evelyn lies her sweet head against it.

Hope told Huffington Post of her birth history “When I became pregnant with Evelyn, Hunter and I were hesitant to believe it would be a viable pregnancy. I had previously undergone about nine fertility treatment cycles. After almost a year of these cycles, I became pregnant with a boy, whom Hunter and I decided to name Owen. Sadly, at our first sonogram appointment, there was no heartbeat. 

“This was our third loss, as I had two chemical pregnancies previously,” she said. 

After their next treatment cycle, Hope learned she was pregnant with Evelyn. They held their breath as they were told by their OB that she was likely to miscarry.

“We kept just waiting for the floor to fall out from underneath us every second,” Hope said.

That unsurely accompanied them into the delivery room, where Hope labored for about 31 hours and later had to get an epidural after the baby’s heart rate began to drop. She slept for several hours and about an hour after she woke up, it was time to push. Hallelujah!

Evelyn’s arrival was triumphant. Everyone in the room could feel and see the joy and relief on Hope and Hunter’s faces. Welcome, rainbow baby!

A few weeks later, Hope wrote this on her Facebook wall: “It’s five am and I’m laying here with a baby who is entirely to awake for what she should be/usually is. We’ve been up since about 2:30 am. I’m tired, grumpy, starting to get frustrated, and for some reason extremely hungry. All that being said I wouldn’t trade this. I wouldn’t trade the sleepless nights, the poopsplosions, the sour smelling vomits, or the can only sleep in this position or she will wake times for absolutely anything!!! 

This time last year I was broken. I had suffered a miscarriage after months of infertility treatments and was still healing from my D&C and I was completely consumed with the grief that came with that loss. I was desperate, hopeless, and shattered. 

Tonight (really I guess this morning) I think about how far our family has come. I think about the girl somewhere out there whose heart still aches for a baby. I think of the girl who cries herself to sleep praying that one day she will be up all night with a screaming much to awake baby. So as I lay here tired and hoping sleep will become our friend soon. I’m thinking about all the blessing of this little girl and the many #NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week) posts I’ve seen this week. And as I think I pray……

I pray for my infertility sister, my fellow 1 in 8. 
I pray she finds support
I pray she finds someone who will listen
I pray she finds comfort from the ultimate father
and I pray she gets the baby her heart so desperately longs for. 

Hope and Hunter beat infertility. I am so happy for them.

 

Hope’s father-in-law shared this with me. Their whole family came within an hour or so of Evelyn’s arrival to hug and congratulate Hope, Hunter (even me!) He said his brother (Kevin Madden) wrote it as an epitaph for their mother’s funeral. I thought it was beautiful and worth sharing here, as she had 8 children before she was thirty.”We began as a part of a small universe. A universe of love. Our existence and growth began with an ever present, never changing, heartbeat. Her heartbeat. A heart beat that resonated throughout our entire being. Gradually, as we grew we became aware of a sound, a sound that also, resonated through us. Her voice. It laughed, it sang, it gently spoke to us. It soothed us. In our universe, it nourished us, it kept us surrounded in wonder at the new things we began to feel. We grew. We stretched, we tumbled, we kicked and wiggled. We could feel the laughter and wonder in Her voice with each of our gyrations. Occasionally, we heard her call to other sources of sound, and could feel the pressing of a hand on our universe. Sometimes, we kicked at that, and were rewarded with exclamations of joy and amazement. We grew. Eventually our universe became too small. A time came when we could feel a sense of anticipation in our small world. More and more we slept. In a time of great pressure and pain, our universe exploded. Strange and frightening things happened. Our lungs gulped and expanded. Our skin was no longer immersed in comfort. It felt cold, touched , wiped, and handled. We were poked, prodded, turned, pinched and tortured. Our ears ached with the harsh vibrations of sounds that seem to attack them. Our eyes, though unable to focus, were assaulted with raw light, no longer veiled by the comforting rose hue of love. In our deepest agony and pain, we cried out. We cried out for the first time in our lives. We cried out in terror. We were covered by a harsh and unfamiliar substance. And then we heard it. Her voice. Soothing us, comforting us. And then we felt it, heard it, were pressed to it…. Her beating heart. That ever present, endless cadence of our small lives. It calmed us, it assured us it would always hold us to it. We knew that with it, everything would be alright. With it beneath us, surrounding us once again, we could rest. Resting safely in this new and terrifying world.” 

So raw and beautiful. I am thankful he shared that with me.

Enjoy these photos of Hope, Hunter and Evelyn’s triumphant day. I feel so honored and blessed to have preserved these happy memories for them!

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