End of November I had the huge honour to take portraits of one week old baby James, my first rainbow baby. For those who don’t know, a rainbow baby is a baby born after the loss of a previous baby, either through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.
James’s parents Katie and Adam tragically lost baby Olivia after 36 weeks of uncomplicated pregnancy and she was born asleep. Having photographed their wedding a couple of years prior, I was thrilled when Katie announced her pregnancy and booked me in for newborn portraits. When she told me about Olivia’s birth and death I was deeply moved and totally devastated. Having had two children myself I was familiar with the subject of the importance of monitoring the foetal movements and the worries associated with not feeling the baby. In Olivia’s case there were no warning signs, no hereditary issues and it happened very suddenly. Did you know that as many as 1 in 200 babies are born asleep in the UK? A terribly high number that makes my heart bleed.
In the UK 1 in every 200 babies are stillborn.
So you can imagine my joy when Katie sent me an email to say that they were expecting another baby and that in fact she was induced the very next day. Baby James was born without any complications and was completely healthy! Within a week I had the pleasure not only to photograph him, but also to hold him, give him a snuggle and even a bottle of milk!
The portrait session took place in Katie and Adam’s home which is where I prefer to take newborn pictures as the parents simply feel most comfortable at home. The shoot was very emotional, we laughed and we cried (me on the way home when I was alone in the car). But it wasn’t only sad, it was also meaningful, celebrating life, showing what an amazing bond Katie and Adam have to have gone through this together. It shows that hope and love are stronger that despair and fear. The pain of Olivia’s death will never go away, but it has been made bearable by the birth of her brother. Or as Katie herself put it – she said that Olivia had selected a little sibling and sent him/her towards Katie & Adam.
So while I go and wipe the tears from my face, I leave you to enjoy these precious pictures.
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