I had the pleasure of supporting a really special family as they welcomed their fourth child into their family. Ellen and Kurt wanted a big family, and so when they faced fertility problems, they decided to adopt, first their oldest daughter, then a few years later, they added a son. And then just as they were finalizing the adoption of their son, Ellen found out she was pregnant, and her second son came nine months later. But God wasn’t finished with their family yet. Three years later, they got pregnant again. Ellen had had a challenging labor with before with her son (he was posterior) but she was incredibly strong and determined and was able to successfully have an unmedicated birth as she had desired. So she hired me to support her and document the birth of their fourth, and the decided to keep the gender a secret.
Although her pregnancies had been uncomplicated, at 35 weeks Ellen started bleeding, and it was determined that she had a partial placental abruption (when the placenta starts to detach too early). Although everyone was scared, the doctor thought it was safe to begin an induction, rather than going straight to a cesarean. The induction was very difficult for Ellen, but she kept going, and decided to try the nitrous oxide that the hospital had just gotten.
When it was getting really intense, and the nurse checked her and she was 6cm, she felt like she couldn’t do it anymore and asked for an epidural. And then within 15 minutes she had her baby! I had never seen anyone progress so quickly, and it was incredibly intense for her. Her baby GIRL came rushing into the world!
But after all the intense fear of the previous 24 hours and the intense pain of the last hour, all turned to intense joy the moment her baby girl was in her arms.
Despite the fears about the placental abruption, baby Simone came out healthy and crying and was able to go spend some time with mama skin-to-skin.
However, this little nugget was 5 weeks early, and it became clear that her lungs weren’t fully developed yet and she would need some time in the NICU. It was an intense few weeks for the whole family. Ellen was able to stay at the hospital so she could be near Simone, and eventually start breastfeeding her, but the older children were not able to go into the NICU so it was difficult for them with their mother away and not being able to see their baby sister. But this family is strong, and they had lots of support as they made it through those rough weeks. When Simone was finally able to come home, I came over to take some pictures of her brothers and sister getting to know their newest sibling.
The little boys especially had to learn how to be gentle and how to touch their little sister, but you can see they will be such great big brothers.
And big sister took on a very protective role. Maybe she wasn’t so sure about those rowdy boys!
It was such a joy for the whole family to be together at last.
And of course, I couldn’t leave without a few pictures of this little doll.
It was such a honor to be welcomed alongside this amazing and beautiful family. They have faced so much, but they grow together in strength and love.