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The Birth and Heart Surgery of Olivia Mary ~ New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This past winter Nicole and Curtis contacted me to photograph the birth of their precious baby girl, whom they had just learned had a rare congenital heart defect. We met to discuss what they knew and what the birth would entail; their courage and strength were astonishing to me.

As this sweet babe's birth approached I readied myself for multiple potential outcomes when the baby was born on the Special Delivery Unit at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Nicole worked hard to plan as natural a birth environment and experience as she could under these trying circumstances. She also crafted the most intentional and gracious birth plan I've ever read. She did everything leading up to her induction date to bring Olivia ("Liv" for short) earthside without additional medical intervention. At the birth they were supported by doula Jenna of Hello, Baby! Doula Services.

A day prior to her scheduled induction I received a call early in the night that Nicole was in labor; things were progressing quickly. I jumped out of bed and drove the hour to Philadelphia. As I walked into the labor and delivery room I immediately heard a nurse say to Nicole, "Just go ahead and bear down." At this I knew it was game on. Baby was born within 20 minutes of my arrival. Olivia was as pink as I'd ever seen a baby be born!


New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

Nicole and Curtis were able to enjoy some skin-to-skin time once Olivia was born. Much skin-to-skin  time is understandably very rare on CHOP's Special Delivery Unit -- everyone was elated.
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

The moment just before handing baby Olivia over to the stabilization team.
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

The onset and progression of labor was so quick they had to wake big brother up to come along. He waited so patiently for his sister to be born and then provided great comfort while his sister was in the adjoining room being stabilized. He was so very curious about Olivia's whereabouts once he saw that his mama's tummy was no longer full and round.
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

Meeting Olivia.
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

Within an hour of birth mama began pumping colostrum for her sweet babe, a familiar routine for NICU and CICU moms. Any first drops are collected with a Q-tip and swabbed inside baby's mouth.
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

Olivia's first earthside echocardiogram.
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

Not quite two days later I rejoined Nicole and Curtis to capture the moments leading up to and subsequent to Olivia's repairative heart surgery. This was a really tender time to catch between mom, dad, and their fragile little love.
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

Many hours later...
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer
New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer

I'm thrilled to share that Olivia has already been discharged from CHOP and is home with her family, nursing, breathing, and thriving. Welcome to our world, baby Olivia!

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4 Responses to “The Birth and Heart Surgery of Olivia Mary ~ New Jersey and Philadelphia Birth Photographer”

  1. This is my favorite story you have told! The video is awesome.. That beating heart!

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  2. SO much emotion, made me tear up! Great images. Glad to see baby Olivia and family are doing well!

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  3. I have been following this wonderful story Kristy! So well done!

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  4. Absolutely captivating story telling ... Extraordinary work!

    ReplyDelete