Denise and Lombard I would like to apologise in advance for making your post a little bit personal and very long…
Denise contacted me to arrange her newborn shoot when I was about 36 weeks pregnant and she in her 37th week. We were both expecting boys:) I told her that I would love to photograph her precious, little bundle but that I would have to wait and see if my body (and baby) would allow me to do a newborn shoot so soon after giving birth. I said that if she felt she wanted to book another photographer in the meanwhile, I would completely understand. She assured me that she was happy to wait until we have both given birth and then make a call on if and when I would be able to do the shoot.
In my 40th week of pregnancy I went into natural labour (something I was very happy about as my daughter had to be induced) and we happily rushed to the delivery room the morning of 2 February. I will not be going into too much detail about what happened to me but that morning I lost my perfect baby boy (weighing 4.3kg and measuring 54cm) in a matter of seconds due to a massive placental abruption and also almost didn’t make it due to massive blood lost on my side.
I spent the next two weeks in a complete haze of heartbreak completely forgetting about Denise and her birth until she contacted me for her shoot. She wanted to know how my son was doing and if I was up to doing her shoot (as she had gone over her due date, and her son Dennis was now the perfect age to be photographed *within the first 10 days of being born*). It felt so surreal having to break the news to Denise and for some reason I didn’t tell her that I would be unable to photograph her son due to the pain of losing my own. I told her that I was still recovering from my emergency c-section and that I would only be able to do the shoot at the end of the month (making Dennis quite a bit older than the usual newborn for a shoot). I once again assured her that she was more than welcome to ask another photographer but she insisted that they would like to wait for me…
After losing my son, Christian, the “dominee” told me that nowhere in the Bible does it say that everything happens for a reason (as this was obviously something I was struggling with a lot). She said that this is something we have all adopted to make ourselves feel better about life and the bad things that happens. This message from her meant so much to me and is something that I still hold on to dearly when I think of my massive loss. With Dennis’ shoot though I once again went back to the thought in the back of my head that everything happens for a reason:) Everyone told me that I was crazy for even thinking about doing this shoot so soon after losing my own son but for some reason I just thought that if Denise still wanted to book me under the circumstances then it was a “sign” that I should do it.
I was soooo calm and relaxed during the shoot and even though it felt incredibly surreal holding a baby boy that was almost the exact age as mine would have been, I didn’t mind at all during the shoot. Dennis however had a completely different plan in mind and made me work quite a bit that day:) Sleep was not something he wanted to do at all and posing in cute little props was not his idea of fun. At the end of the shoot I told Denise and Lombard that I would like to come back to their house in a week’s time to take a few more shots to add to their collection.
I visited them in their beautiful, cosy nursery a week later but Dennis was still not too impressed with me and my camera:) Usually this would rattle most newborn photographers as we ideally like to get the perfect, posed newborn shots for our clients but “for some reason” this shoot suited the situation so much more and came out so much more beautiful than any posed shoot I have done before. Dennis being awake and a little “difficult” was exactly what I needed to make me feel at home, calm and and able to do my best for their shoot. I loved the realness of him and his mom in their cosy, nursery space.
Denise and Lombard thank you for trusting me even though you knew what I was going through and still wanting only me to do your newborn shoot. I hope you cherish these images as much as I do.