I barely remember the hours after I gave birth to our 18 month old. I remember being ecstatic, relieved, energized, dazed. I didn’t quite recognize our little boy, who’d been hiccuping in my uterus for months on end. He wasn’t extremely familiar, but he was precious and beautiful and present. I remember holding him and sobbing for the first few minutes after birth, but after that, it was a blur of hamburgers and breastfeeding and visiting family and nurses in and out of the room.
A few pictures exist of those first few hours, but not the kind I crave. I want to see the intimacy and exhaustion and bursts of emotion. I want to relive those first moments when we became a family.
It’s always been a dream of mine that my photography and my business be a mechanism for capturing authentic joy. Connection. Attachment. Love. And in service of that mission, I’m beginning to offer Fresh 48 sessions. Sessions that take place in the first 48 hours after birth, and ideally in the first 3 or 4.
And so it begins. Baby Harper was born at 1am Saturday morning, and I made it to the hospital in time for her older brother to meet her for the first time that afternoon. Needless to say, it was a perfect day.
When I asked Bethlehem if she was excited for her two older children, ages 3 and 6, to come in and meet her hours-old newborn, she said she was thrilled. Her children were getting ready to meet their new lifelong best friend, she said.
There was something so beautiful and simple about the way the children interacted with each other. They seemed completely relaxed, happy to be there, and happy to be near their new sister. They wanted to be near the baby, to touch her, to feel the texture of her hair, and softness of her arms and legs. They were gentle and cautious, but also confident. This new person is their person. To hold and love and adore.
It’s one of the mysteries and beauties of family. An additional person doesn’t subtract, only adds: love, affection, joy.