grandma kissing newborn baby hand in hospital after birth documentary birth photography

A Birth Story | Baby Audreay

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou

On a crisp and clear evening she walked into the delivery room full of joy and anticipation. Chatting with each of the nurses and doctors it was clear that she was ready to brave barriers and hurdles to birth her baby girl. That she is a military wife is no surprise, she was ready for the fight. Armed with mementos picked out by her husband and a bear with daddy’s voice recorded, Jeannette faced labor without her husband by her side. She thought of him stationed oversees as she brought forth their third baby.

Jeannette’s joy in seeing her baby girl for the first time was clear as she soaked in tiny toes and chubby cheeks. Then the call came, her husband’s voice over the distance. For the first time all day tears escaped her eyes. He whispered over and over, “I’m so proud of you. Thank you for my baby girl”. He spoke to his new daughter, his baby girl who will have to wait to meet daddy until he’s sent home. For now he will serve his country proudly, working hard to provide for his family, while Jeannette leads this new little life they have created together. Baby Audreay will fall asleep to daddy’s voice and mommy’s embrace.

Jeannette, thank you for allowing me to create these images for you. To tell the story and document this tender moment in your life is such an amazing privilege. I pray the pictures we made together will allow your brave sailor to see just how strong, courageous, beautiful and tender you are. I hope he can feel what it was like to be at her birth. I know baby Audreay will be so special to your family. With all my love – xo, Erin

Front view of hospital labor and delivery

With her mother-in-law by her side, Jeannette labored with so much laughter and hilarious stories. She was so much fun to be around and I was amazed at the way she made having a baby seem so effortless.

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This teddy bear is so special. Baby Audreay’s daddy made it for her before he shipped out. It has messages to his baby written all over and plays his voice when hugged. His message to his littlest love brought me to tears. Teddy watched over momma in daddy’s place the whole time.

teddy bear in hospital room at baby birth

Those final moments, the pain, the pushing, the effort that brings forth life always reminds me of just how phenomenal women are. God created something so special in the way they sacrifice all to see their baby be born. Birth is a beautiful thing.

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doctor hand on belly during labor
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mom holding baby for first time after birth

Watching grandma with her new grand baby was truly special. She didn’t leave baby’s side as she was checked out by nurses. A clean bill of health delivered to both mom and baby.

grandma watching baby right after birth
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As much as I am in awe of a woman during labor and birth, it is the first hours after a baby is born that evoke all the feels in me. Watching a woman as a mom with her new baby is so beautiful. I love how they explore their baby’s every feature. How they check for hands and toes, look at hair and noses, try to determine which parent contributed which features, and say their name over and over until it fits.

mom and newborn right after birth
mom holding newborn right after birth
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mom nursing baby right after birth
mom and newborn right after birth

And then her husband’s voice echoed over the distance. It was a heart wrenching moment and the first time I watched a tear escape from Jeannette’s eye.

dad talking to newborn on cell phone

Soon it was as if life without Audreay never existed before. She is truly loved. Plus look at those amazing cheeks! The gift of new life and birth is such a blessing and changes everyone involved in it.

grandma holding newborn baby
newborn baby yawning right after birth
newborn baby girl in hospital
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