So. You know that I am a photographer, right? Right. But I see myself as something else. I am a storyteller. This phrase comes up a lot as I talk to my clients, and in my own life. I am a scrapbooker, but my albums are filled with more words than photos, and this very blog was born from a desire to write the stories of my small but amazing life. I come from a great line of story-tellers, and am proud to work to keep that tradition going! I don’t think it is any small coincidence that I find myself in a profession that lets me tell the stories of other people, and their most treasured stories at that.
Almost three and a half years ago I was able to tell the story of the birth of Emily Conquest Tredwell, through photos and words. I remember the days leading up to her arrival. I had been on pins and needles waiting for the “CODE PINK!” call, then drove to Connecticut in the middle of the night for one of the coolest experiences ever…Emily’s arrival. In fact, when I need a little pick-me-up, I just find her blog post…I dare you to watch it and NOT feel bubbly and happy afterward!
When Tim and Kate found out they were expecting baby #2, he called and oh-so-casually asked how busy my business was in January…might I be available to be on-call early in the month? And thus ensued the Cousin Sarah Happy Dance! I first got to see the baby bump during our Tredwell beach week in Narragansett…and I’ve been waiting patiently for the call…
Last week, they thought that the baby might be on the loooong side….(wait–they thought the daughter of a 6’9″ guy might be LONG? NO WAY!) so they scheduled an induction for Saturday night. YESSSSS! I headed to the hospital on Saturday afternoon, and arrived as soon as they were all hooked up. Ems was there, and that child is so awesome. “HI! Cousin Sarah!” We played (she bounced from iPhone to iPhone, looking for the coolest games) until her grandparents came to pick her up. Smooches all around, and she was off. And thus began what I like to refer to “Baby Tredwell 2: The Elecreic Boogaloo”. The funny thing about our family is that EVERY occasion becomes funny. We are inappropriate jokers and laughers–it’s typical that we are shushed by hospital staff while in waiting rooms, sent confused looks at funeral homes, and Tim and I have been known to be reprimanded for being too goofy at church. As adults. So we weren’t surprised when Birthing Room 3 became a barrel of laughs. Thank heavens we were the ONLY guests on the birthing floor that night.
Tim headed to the waiting room (where the couch was) at about 1AM and at 3AM Kate and I agreed to stop chatting and try to get some sleep! At sunrise we were up and ready again…Kate got to eat breakfast and shower (oh heavenly shower!) before the Pitocin was administered, which Kate lovingly referred to as “liquid evil”, remembering what those contractions feel like. Tim and Kate walked and walked, and then those famous contractions kicked in. Kate is a ROCK STAR. I have said that before about her, but watching her breathe through each painful rise and fall with quiet strength was seriously awe-inspiring. She had her epidural and was able to relax during the hardest part of labor. I look at the photos and remember watching that contraction monitor up over 100 and she was relaxed and smiling…amazing. Kate’s parents and Ems came back to the hospital to await the baby’s arrival, and they scooted from the room when the doctor came in to check Kate’s progress. I couldn’t believe it, but she was READY to push!
The nurses scurried around, telling a VERY calm Kate not to push, the baby was right there! She pushed for 8 minutes. EIGHT MINUTES. That was not a typo, internet. Eight minutes of pushing and baby Paige came hollering into the world. 8 pounds 2 ounces of pudgy-cheeked perfection. Once more, just like when her big sister was born, I was a weepy mess behind my camera! I swear, it’s nothing short of a miracle that any of those photos are in focus…
Just as soon as I pulled myself together, in came Emily, with complete and utter delight at the sight of Paige. What I’ll remember most, though, is that at first, she only had eyes for her mom. She stood for a minute, deciding who she wanted to love up more–her mom or her baby sister. The sister won out, and her squeals of “She’s so CUUUUUUTE” over and over brought those tears again! She couldn’t wait to hold her (which reminded me so much of Sam’s reaction to meeting Jane) and when Paige was snuggled up by her grandparents, Ems was demanding to have her sister back in her arms again. Kate lovingly explained that everyone needed a turn holding the baby, and she pleaded, “pweeeeeaasse, Mommy? Just for 20 seconds?” THEN she spied a cookie-whipped cream sandwich, and miraculously, she was ok letting some of us have a few minutes of Paigey-love.
I had the ride home to let the events of those 24 hours replay in my mind, and in my heart. It occurred to me that these days-these collection of moments-are ones that Tim and Kate will remember forever. The way that I remember every moment of when Sam and Jane entered the world. These are the most important moments of their lives, and how lucky I was to be a part of those moments. This is a familiar feeling…I get that when I shoot weddings, usually in the early part of the day, when the bride is getting into her dress, or the father of the bride sees his daughter for the first time. I think about how amazing it is to be a witness to these life-altering moments, how lucky I am to have some small role in those stories. Sitting in the birthing room before Paige was born, Tim, Kate and I told stories…about being kids together, about our weddings, about Sam and Jane and Emily, about our parents and about being parents. These stories keep us together, keep us connected. They have true an honest value, and are treasured by those of us who hear them, and who tell them.
I cherish the story of Emily’s arrival, looking at her photos brings me right back to that day. And my heart is full today because I am part of Paige’s story too. When Tim and Kate tell the girls about when they were born, I am a part of that little chapter, and there is no greater honor.
I simply adore sweet Emily. The stories of her humor, her sheer will, her struggles and her triumph fill me with joy and amazement, each new chapter of her life brings such delight and excitement.
And my darling Paige, I can only imagine the wonder that you will be…for your story is just beginning. And I’m glad I can help you tell it.
I just love the look on Tim’s face here…like, “really? with the camera already?”
Electronics for BOTH kids!
looks like the couch in the lounge might not have been the best for a good night’s sleep after all…
What do you do when your wife gets the full lunch instead of the regular clear liquids? You EAT that chicken pot pie, dammit!
Oh baby. Here come the contractions….
Epidural = smiles again!
This next one might just be my favorite ever.
Remember how everything is a party? This is about 10 minutes before the baby was born….
Beauty in its truest and purest form…Kate, you are gorgeous.
Paige hollers hello at her Grams over the phone…
Hello, burrito baby.
If you’ve made it this far….nicely done!! If you are wanting to see more photos, head on over to my Facebook page and check out the slideshow. I can’t seem to stop watching it myself. I’m going to be out of tissues by morning.
Tim, Kate, Ems and Paige, congratulations on your beautiful family. Much much MUCH love.