When I got the call I was still in my PJ’s. “I’m at a 6 and I am about to take a nap for a while.” The drive wasn’t far and she had only been admitted a few hours earlier, but I should have recalled her fathers familiar statement regarding his daughters, “good breeding stock.”
Immediately I started to roll through all kinds of possible things I might see on this day and tried to catalog as many as would fit in my anxious mind. My heart started the steady thump, thump race that happens when it’s time to photograph a new life coming into this world. I’m fairly certain it was that last minute thought to pull through the Chick Fil A drive thru for a gallon of lemonade that set the events of the rest of this day in motion.
The text came as I was pulling into the hospital parking lot, “she will be here very soon” to which I stopped and replied, “I’m here.” Goodness sakes her daddy wasn’t kidding about his girls. I knew I was in trouble when I drove around parking lots A, B, and C and didn’t see one place to park. I followed the stream of other cars to D, E, then F. That steady thump, thump of my heart turned into a racing OMG I can’t breathe kind of beat. “How many letters of the alphabet does this place have??,” is what my mind was thinking. As fate would have it I ended up in parking lot K. YES, I said K. I was still determined to somehow get back to parking lot A and up to the 2nd floor delivery room of this hospital before that little girl took her first breath. Having to park so far away forced me to take on the challenge of carrying my camera equipment and any other necessary items on my initial trip. Oh and lets not forget that GALLON jug of lemonade. Gracious sakes! I would imagine the laughter from the security guard watching this fiasco on camera drew attention from anyone passing in the halls. To this day I don’t remember getting in the elevator, but I certainly had to because after the marathon I had just endured the stairs would NOT have been an option. I went whizzing past the receptionist while she said, “hurry it’s the room with the big pink wreath #255.” I’m not having good thoughts about this jug of lemonade in my arm that has now lost circulation. Opening the door to room #255 I hear it. You know what I’m about to say already don’t you? That beautiful sound every mother and father wait to hear when their child comes into this world was echoing off the ceiling. I simply collapse in the floor behind the curtain and Aunta says, “Lili she only pushed one time.” One time. Her daddy wasn’t lying.
I dropped that crazy gallon of lemonade and probably mumbled something that would require me to type symbols like ***##*#**. I had to laugh else I’d be crying like the new life that had zero patience and made her entrance into the world very quickly and extremely grand. The most important thing was, she was here and I was still breathing so let the fun begin.
Do you ever wonder what things must go through a newborns mind when they burst onto the scene and are surrounded by hands, instruments, machines, and lights. Oh, the lights come from every direction. What this child, who is only a few minutes old, is about to learn is the person with the black square in front of her face doesn’t seem to ever turn her light off. Snap and flash, snap and flash, and so it goes. Every time the little princess meets someone new there it goes again, snap and flash.
Very soon I learned that big sister is about to arrive. These are the moments you breathe in. Moments that have no description other than “awww.” It’s priceless to capture the first eye contact when big sister finally gets to meet “her baby” and asks mommy and daddy a million questions. There were so many magical moments but one little observation by big sister still makes me laugh out loud. “Mommy! you opened it. You got my baby out.” All the while patting her mommy on the tummy exclaiming, “oh, Mommy you opened it!” Priceless, priceless.
This family may as well be my very own. I love them so dearly. Experiencing the birth of their children with them is a blessing that can’t be explained. You see, there are three sisters in this family. Their mother was my dearest friend and she left this world to take up residence in Heaven only weeks before the first, of the now four, grand-daughters arrived. I heard her call her girls “Sissy” almost as many times as I heard her call them by their given names. These women inspire me to no end. They are strong women. They have leaned on each other and pushed each other down this road called life, especially during the hard times. They push through with great grace.
Visitors come and go and Mommy and Daddy finally got to have some food and some quiet time with their new family of four. The nurse came to advise its time to take baby for her bath. Big sister is not at all happy about this abrupt announcement. She has waited such a long, long time for Mommy to finally “open it” and now this stranger says she’s going to take her baby. The bond of sisters has already started. I found it no accident that this was my favorite shot of the entire day. Big sister, pushing “Sissy.”