When I was first contacted by Erin, she seemed a little hesitant on whether I would accept her requests. Erin was pregnant, but it was not her child, she was giving the gift of life to a beautiful couple who lived in France. I have photographed numerous surrogates in the past, both in maternity and their birth stories, but Erin was apprehensive as there are many people who are not very supportive of the world of surrogacy. I immediately opened my heart to her with love and excitement! When we met at Anchor Coffee house in Walkerville, it was like meeting up with a great friend. (side note: YUM! Check them out! http://www.anchorcoffeehouse.com) I felt a sense that our souls had crossed at some point in the universe. We easily spoke about her journey, our lives, her story and the story of her intended parents. We just CLICKED! We spent well over an hour at the coffee house!
It was exciting to see her again when we met up for the maternity session, she looked beautiful and was so happy to be able to give this to the parents.
Believe it or not, surrogacy is not recognized in France! In France, if you birth the child, even if not biological yours, the child is considered yours! So often, intended parents will use surrogacy agencies in the USA and Canada. Only one of the intended parents was able to make the trip to Canada for the birth of their second son, so as the time grew near for her due date, which was close to Christmas, she, along with her OB made the decision to induce her a bit early. There would be lots of paperwork to complete before they could return home to France and they didn’t want to miss Christmas!
The day before her intended induction, I got a message from her! She was in labour and baby was coming that day! I arrived at the hospital when Erin was about 5cm. She has two biological children and their labours were pretty quick so we didn’t want to miss a thing! When I walked in the room I introduced myself to Remi, one of the fathers, and was greeted with a giant smile, a big hug and two cheek kisses! Erin’s birth support, her best friend was rushing to make it to Windsor for the birth. When she arrived, Erin was still labouring; she made it! And she began to gently talk to Harry to tell him it was time to make his debut.
Erin laboured without the aid of any pain medication and she was a ROCKSTAR!
When Harry finally decided it was time…he meant BUSINESS! The room was a flurry of staff and excitement. Let me tell you, from the first moment she started pushing, to the time he was entirely out was NINETY THREE SECONDS! And I have the time-stamped images to prove it!!
Immediately, you could see the love on dad’s face and the instant relief on Erin’s. The excitement was palpable as they facetimed with Harry’s other father and new big brother! Big brother was speaking so quickly and with so much excitement (although, I could barely catch any recognition of his speedy French words!)
While dad marvelled at his new son, Erin was starting with a slight medical emergency which caused an influx of medical staff and quick movements. I calmly recommended to her birth support that she just stand by her side and keep calm and I asked the medical staff if I could step out of the room with Dad and baby Harry. I had very little worry over Erin’s condition as she had one of the best Doctors working her care.
While dad, Harry and I were in the hall, he told me all about the birth of their first son and what it meant to have Erin as a surrogate for their second son. It was the first moment I have ever cried at a birth. It made it even more special to me that I was able to provide their story, to be shown and told again, when Dad returned home to France.
It wasn’t too long before Erin’s emergency was controlled and we went back into the room for her to really see the gift she had just brought forth into the world.
It was truly beautiful.
Erin, Dad and baby Harry all made their way to France before Christmas, but not before inviting me over to get some snuggles in. What a truly incredible family! I got some serious baby cuddles in with this little guy before he became an international traveler!
I have been blessed with the ability to be invited into their lives to not only capture their story, but also now, with the magic of social media, follow their lives and baby Harry’s growth. And it’s safe to say, this journey has given me another wonderful friend in Erin!