Dad to Dad - Why You Won't Regret Hiring A Birth Photographer -Part 3
When planning for my daughter's birth, hiring a birth photographer wasn't even on my list of priorities. Looking back, this should have been at the top of the list! Nicole demonstrated to us the great importance of this role, and was definitely the best choice we could have asked for. She greatly exceeded my expectations, and I will always be grateful to her for that!
For context, I didn't give much thought to hiring a birth photographer. I figured myself and whomever else was in the room would snap some pictures and videos on our phones when we could, and that would be that. So when my wife told me she scheduled a "meet and greet" with our potential birth photographer, you can imagine my first reaction:
Seriously? We have a baby coming, I don't want to interviewing someone to take our pictures on the most intense, stressful, scary day of our lives!
Nonetheless, we sat down with our first candidate, Nicole Streeter, a few months into the pregnancy. We got along well, my wife and I both enjoyed the samples of her work that she shared with us, and she seemed like a great fit. We booked her right away, and my expectation was I would see her once more at the birth, she would take and send us the pictures after, and I wouldn't give it another thought.
When my wife went into labor, Nicole was on the scene right away. My biggest fear with everyone on our care team was punctuality, so that was greatly appreciated. Once she arrived, she seamlessly moved between roles of photographer, friend, and caregiver at just the right times. She brings with her the experience of being at many births and clearly has a great intuition for how to truly be a supportive member of a "birth team", fulfilling various vital roles through the unpredictable process of labor and birth.
Of course, at the end of the day we hired Nicole as a photographer, and her photos were awesome. She was able to capture all of the pivotal moments and moods of the labor and the birth. Both the quantity and quality of the photos were perfect. They enable our family to re-live one of the most special experiences of our lives. Seeing those photos draws me back to that overwhelming experience of the first time you get to see and hold your baby, and the fresh new love that has been born and will be a part of you forever. Being able to capture and recall these moments is truly priceless, and am so grateful we chose Nicole to create that for us.
Full Blog of this birth seen here:
When Lindsey (my wife) told me she wanted a photographer for Georgia's birth, I didn't give it much thought and just agreed that it was a good idea. We talked a little bit about her birth choices and decided later in the pregnancy to have a homebirth, and also hire Nicole for photos. Again, just thinking okay, it will be nice to have some pictures taken of that moment to have, not realizing the extent of what we were really going to be getting for the price of Nicole's birth package. And when I tell you that we would have paid double, triple even to have those moments and support during that time I would not be lying. It was worth so much more than we could have ever paid for, to have her as our photographer, and now someone we consider a close family friend.
We stayed in contact with Nicole throughout the pregnancy and we finally got to the point where all we were doing was waiting for her to be born and keeping Nicole in the loop. Nicole was amazing at checking in on us, helping Lindsey mentally while our due date came and went and making sure I was ready and knowing what to do when the time came.
Finally, Lindsey went into labor almost two weeks past her due date and we called the birth team to come to the house. It was a long night of hard labor for her and Nicole was right by our side the whole time, not just capturing those moments but being an outstanding support for me on how to better help my wife, and then herself getting in there for counter pressure, hand holds and many words of wisdom and help. We found our rhythm and took turns getting rest, helping Lindsey and finding ways to keep things going and spirits high. We had moments of laughter, moments of rest and when the time came for Georgia to be born, things took a turn for the worse and she was stuck and experienced something called shoulder dystocia. Once she came out, we knew the baby needed some extra help and we then had to call an ambulance and our peaceful house was then flooded with emergency personnel working on our brand new, giant baby (over 11 pounds). Those moments that Nicole put down her camera to just hold us and console us is everything. Knowing when take pictures here and there, knowing we will need them to process everything without being in anyones way. I ended up having to ride to the hospital with her, and Lindsey stayed back with her mom, midwife and Nicole. When Lindsey and I look back on that time, she will tell me that she wouldn't have made it through as calmly as she did without her mom and without Nicole. We ended up spending almost two weeks in the NICU with Georgia, and almost everyday Nicole would check in on us, researching the things that she was going through and giving us so much hope and making sure that Lindsey was doing okay after all of this.
We decided since we were not able to take newborn photos, that Nicole would be there to capture us coming home from the hospital, and to this day those are some of my favorite photos and moments to look back on. Luci getting to meet her baby sister, and us all safe, back at home.
When we got all the other photos from the birth back, we both had tears running down our faces and I was just so grateful to have all of that captured, even in the moments of chaos to look back on and remember what happened. Those photos told a story, one that we will never forget but also have these beautiful images to go with it. Georgia suffered no long term damage from the birth, and we are so so glad we chose Nicole to be there for us throughout it all.
I consider myself a pro now at getting ready for family photos, knowing what needs to be done (pretty much show up in my pre-picked out clothes and just listen to Nicole on what we need to do) Since then, we have celebrated by taking family photos for Georgia's first birth where we told Nicole we were expecting again, and that we will NEED her there. It's not an option for us to go through another birth without her. A few weeks after that, we decided to finally get married after a long engagement and asked Nicole if she and Shawn were available for our wedding (just two months away) on New Years Eve, and without hesitation they were in! Our wedding photos are a close second to some of my favorite photos, and the work they do as a team is priceless. Another life moment captured perfectly for us.
Then the time came for our last birth, and we all had some anxiety surrounding it because of what happened last time. Nicole kept checking in on us, making sure we were ready and that she just knew things would go great and it would be anytime that baby would come. Lindsey went into labor the day before my birthday, and within hours I knew it was time to assemble the birth team again, and everyone made it, in record time. We even have footage of Nicole running as fast as she could inside our house once she arrived, as this was not something she was going to miss and things were moving FAST! Just a few hours after everyone got there, our last baby girl was born and it was a birth that I had always hoped for, for my wife. The baby was perfect, healthy and much much smaller than Georgia was (thankfully) and my wife was so strong, and healthy and safe as well.
This birth was a dream for us, and something we needed so badly but again could not have done without the help of our team. And our MVP was most definitely Nicole. I can't think of what else to call her job title, because a birth photographer just doesn't cover it. She is so much more than that, and I am so glad that Lindsey got us connected with her and we now have her for any big life event, and know that she will come and get the job done, give us outstanding photos, but also is there for so much more than that.
If you are hesitant to hire Nicole, I can understand that. It's a big cost and may just seem like some photos that anyone could take but again, she is so much more than that and I would never hesitate again to hire her and have her a part of your life. We love Nicole, her family and what she does as a business owner and friend. We can't thank her enough, and now have photos taken by her spread throughout our whole house, making it feel like home.
Full Blogs seen here:
Courtney( my wife) first told me about wanting to find a birth photographer soon after getting pregnant with our second. Her mom was in the delivery room with us during the birth of our first and took pictures that we absolutely cherish so it didn’t come as a surprise. Knowing that Courtney is a photographer herself, I trusted her to make the decision. Of course, questions ran through my head, “Would I be ok with this random woman in the room with us?” or “Am I ok sharing this moment with her?” But this is something that I knew Courtney genuinely wanted.
I first got a chance to meet Nicole at the maternity shoot. It was here that I was able to get a feel for who Nicole was and that this was the woman that would be joining us during our child’s birth. She was kind, funny, and made us feel very comfortable in that moment. Even making our daughter feel like the princess that she would constantly aspire to be.
Unfortunately, we were challenged with the news of Covid-19 and the major restrictions that were placed by the hospitals during labor and delivery. We didn’t know what to expect with a baby due in June of 2020. Was I even going to be allowed in the room? Or would Nicole even be an option anymore? Nicole, thankfully, was on top of it, and acquired her doula’s license which would allow her to become part of the birth support team and not be a “visitor” or “+1”.
Courtney was scheduled to be induced five days before her due date. Even through the restrictions, Nicole came and flashed her new credentials and got the “ok”. (Whew!). This is where I really got to know about Nicole, what she does, and why Courtney wanted her. I describe her being there as "having a best friend with you, as you watch your other best friend go through this crazy life experience". Being just her and I, she was able to be supportive, not only to Courtney, but to me as well. She reassured me when things got a little hairy and would explain to me what was happening when the nurses couldn’t. She really helped me remain calm. To understand what each step and change meant as they happened. She was the person who became a huge part of our birth story that I didn’t know that I really needed.
So, when we became pregnant with our third and Courtney told me she was going to reach back out to Nicole for a second go around, there was no hesitation from me. I was so pumped to have Nicole back in that room with us. Again, to have that connection with someone you barely know yet she comes up in conversations often when we talk about the delivery of our children. She even made it through a crazy March snowstorm and 12” of snow.
Neither Courtney nor I could imagine what these experiences would have been like without Nicole. Especially with her being there for our 2nd when no one else was allowed. The photos, the videos, the reminder of the memories that take us back to the smallest moments in time that were so significant. When we hear a friend is pregnant, Courtney is right there to talk about hiring a birth photographer and just how amazing Nicole was to us. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Second Birth