I am SO excited to share this blog post! I love photographing births, but this birth was especially dear to me because it was for my good friend Vanessa Isenbarger.
Vanessa—owner and talented photographer of Pearl Photo & Design—and I have been friends since I started working at Treefrog Marketing in 2015. Vanessa and I have a special bond because in addition to working full time at Treefrog, we were both photographers on the side.
Vanessa left Treefrog at the end of 2015 to run Pearl full time and has been a huge influence and supporter as I made the the transition to full-time photography. I love this girl with all my heart! She’s talented (She takes all of our family photos) and sweet, and I felt so honored when she asked me to take her birth photos at IU Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette, Indiana.
Side note: Vanessa’s photography is incredible, especially her newborn work. I highly recommend her! When we have kids, we will definitely be contacting her for birth and newborn photos. Check out Pearl Photo & Design!
This was Curt (Vanessa’s husband who is as wonderful as she is) and Vanessa’s third child. They already had a beautiful little boy and girl at home. Since they already had one of each, they decided that they wanted to be surprised about their third child’s sex.
With this in mind, they also decided that they wanted to have the birth photographed—something they didn’t do with their older kids. Vanessa said, “I want to capture the look on Curt’s face when we find out if it’s a boy or a girl.”
After photographing a few births, I feel like every mama should have at least one birth photographed. God has designed our bodies to do an amazing thing. And, in the midst of contractions, it’s hard to focus on what’s happening around you. Having a photographer will allow you to see what your body is capable of and help you remember this special time (after the pain is over of course).
Vanessa warned me that she has babies fast. I think she said her first came within four hours and her second came within two. And with her third child, Vanessa went from having back pain, to having contractions, to having a baby within about an hour and a half!
Vanessa and Curt made it to the hospital at 7:10 pm; made it to the delivery room probably around 7:25; and had a baby at 7:41. It was crazy!
I can’t help sharing the texting conversation that Vanessa, our friend Megan (who stayed with Vanessa’s kids that night), and I had during all of this!
When I got the first message, I was out to eat with friends and my husband, and we were placing our orders. I figured, “Great. She’ll probably have the baby late tonight.”
When I got the message that Vanessa’s contractions were only three minutes apart, I was about halfway through my meal. I asked Zach to pay my check and ran out the door. I think I was at the hospital for a total of 15 minutes before the baby was born. This was by far the fastest birth I’ve ever photographed!
When I arrived at the hospital, Vanessa was getting into bed to be checked. She was already 7 cm dilated, and by the look on the nurse practitioner’s face, it wasn’t going to be long.
In the meantime, Curt was answering the medical team’s questions, while trying to soothe and support Vanessa—who was laboring epidural free.
One of the nurses asked Vanessa to turn on her side so the team could hook monitors up. When Vanessa turned, her urge to push took over, and the medical team sprung into action.
Through the whole process, Curt kept a hand on Vanessa. He brushed her hair back, held her leg, and told her how great she was doing. They were both amazing during the whole process.
Within a few pushes, Curt and Vanessa welcomed their third child, a baby boy, into the world!
Hilariously, they truly thought they were going to have a girl. Vanessa said, “I even bought bows!”
Within seconds of holding her baby boy, Vanessa knew what his name was. She looked at Curt and said, “His name is Lukas.”
“Really?” Curt asked. “How do you know?”
“I just do,” she said.
After watching Vanessa fight to give birth, there’s no arguing with a statement like that!
After carrying a baby that she knows and can feel for nine months, it’s an amazing thing to capture a mother seeing her baby for the first time. This is an incredibly raw and emotional moment.
I was so thankful to capture these moments for my friend, and I was definitely misty eyed behind the camera. Lukas will be loved every second of his life by an incredible family!
After Curt and Vanessa had a little time alone with their son, their families arrived. Vanessa is one of five kids, so the room was packed! And, thanks to FaceTime, Curt and Vanessa’s siblings who couldn’t make it could still be part of the celebration.
Curt and Vanessa, I couldn’t be happier for your family. Lukas couldn’t have been more into a more loving, Christ-centered home.
Someday, I hope these photos help you tell Lukas about the day he was born. Thank you for allowing me to capture these moments for your family!
Victoria Rayburn Photography is a Lafayette, Indiana wedding photographer and family photographer. Victoria strives to make photo sessions enjoyable memories and help clients feel comfortable in front of the camera.