When I began my career as a photographer, I knew I wanted to primarily capture people. The idea of documenting important milestones in people’s lives seemed the most appealing. Naturally, one first thinks of things like weddings, birthdays, graduations, and special events like family reunions. I have had the opportunity to photograph many of those events, but one of the things I never thought I would have the opportunity to photograph is birth – especially birth by a surrogate who is carrying babies for intended parents.
I have to be honest, whenever I receive an email from a surrogate or an intended parent, I leap with joy. There is something about the overall experience that I really connect with on a personal level. Watching someone carry and deliver a baby for someone else is the kindest most generous gift I think one person could ever give to another. And any intended parent I have ever met, is overflowing with gratitude toward the surrogate. It is a unique bond and life experience unlike any other. So anytime I am asked to be present for the miracle of birth, I eagerly oblige.
When I first arrive to the hospital, I always enjoy all of the anticipatory excitement. I typically unpack my gear and get photographing right away, even though the actual birth is typically many hours away. I love capturing all those moments leading up to the actual birth itself. For the intended parents, it is the last time they will be just a couple. And the involvement between the intended parents and the surrogate is fascinating to watch.
Jonas and Ben had waited many years for this day to finally arrive. They had always wanted a baby girl and a baby boy, and lucky for them, that is exactly what Ashley was carrying for them. Ashley had contacted me months prior saying that she really wanted the birth photographed. In particular, she wanted me to capture the expression on the dad’s faces as they saw their newborn babies for the very first time. Anytime I work with a surrogate, that has always been their number one request. No matter what, capture the look on the dad’s faces. Honestly, it’s hard to miss. The room buzzes with energy as the little ones enter the world.
Due to logistics, the decision was made for Ashley’s husband to be by her side during the birth and for Jonas and Ben to be present as well to witness the birth. I was asked to remain out by the door and to be ready to capture photos as soon as the dads and the babies emerged from the room. The babies were immediately weighed and assessed by the medical staff and then handed to the dads for some skin-on-skin time. Jonas and Ben had the opportunity to feed the babies for the very first time and since they had twins, they were each able to hold a baby on their own at the same time. It was incredibly sweet to witness. After a short while, they even traded babies so that each baby was held by each dad.
It was time to head back to the hospital room for some rest and special one-on-one time with the babies. As we were walking down the hall, we stopped in Ashley’s room so she could meet the babies as well. Jonas and Ben each handed Ashley a baby so she could snuggle them both just for a moment. I stepped in to grab a photo of the moment and Ashley was beaming with happiness. There is a photo of her with a gigantic smile as she holds both the babies that has to be one of my favorite photos.
We then proceeded back to Jonas and Bens’ room to capture a few more photos of them as new parents holding their newborn babies. I didn’t want to stay too long because everyone needed some rest, but it sure was nice to see the entire event from start to finish. A few weeks later, just before heading back to their home town, I coordinated a family photo session with Jonas, Ben, and their twin babies, along with Ashley, her husband, and their two beautiful daughters.
We would like to thank the Northwest Surrogacy Center and all the surrogates and intended parents who continue to recommend our services. Capturing your birth stories is an incredible experience.