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The Birth of Josie Kate

May 11, 2017

When Amy & Tim told Neil and myself they were expecting, they started by posing a question: Have you ever noticed how everyone in our family’s birthdays come in twos?

This is true. At the beginning of January, Amy and my father in law celebrate their birthdays. My mother in law and I have birthdays less than a month a part (not that close, but close enough to count!), my sister in law Kelly and Tim’s birthdays are a few days a part, Neil and his brother Client’s a a week or so a part, and my nephew Kolt and my niece Khloe’s birthdays are a couple days a part. Then Graeme was born on April 1st. This left him all alone in House Family Birthday Land!

But no longer! Amy pointed to her stomach.

I was in disbelief at first. They had recently completed their home study for foster to adopt. Having a biological child was not in their plans – but God had different plans! And that little surprise’s due date was March 31st. One day before Graeme’s birthday.

Not long after, however, we learned that Amy has a bicornuate (heart-shaped) womb which usually causes pre term labor. Baby Richards would not make it to his/her due date and would likely be born significantly early. Our prayers continued but changed. Our focus now was that Amy make it as long as possible but we all planned for more likely outcome.

Somewhere in there, I was asked to photograph an engagement session in NYC only a week before Amy’s due date. Amy insisted I go, there was no way she’d make it that far, baby was likely to be here in February. I booked the session, I booked the flights. Neil and I were going.

And then February came and went. The beginning of March was filled with anticipation and we twiddled our thumbs as it neared the date we were to leave for NYC. Baby wasn’t early like we all though baby would be and Amy, Tim, and I started to stress. What if Neil and I were in NYC when Amy went into labor. Amy wanted us there, for sure, but she also wanted me to photograph the birth. Amy sat dilated at 3 cm for more than a week – she wouldn’t make it another 4 days!

I had a great time in NYC but was constantly checking in – how was Amy feeling? Any progress???? God answered our selfish prayers and no progress was made while we were gone. Amy admitted later that she and Tim were literally counting down the hours until she COULD go into labor! Haha!

We landed in Nashville on Monday, March 27th and I text Amy – I hadn’t seen my own baby in 4 days so maybe tomorrow would be a good day to have her baby! Amy agreed and she ended her self-prescribed bedrest and continued attempts in getting her body to go into labor, much like she did weeks before we left for NYC. Tuesday came and went. Wednesday passed. Thursday arrived and Amy felt defeated. Much like all pregnant ladies approaching their due date, Amy concluded that baby was going to stay in there forever. I went to sleep Thursday night already tired from dealing with a almost 2 year old who was suffering from medication induced night sweats. Another story for another day.

Friday morning, 1:30am, I was already awake dealing with Graeme when Neil just happened to check my phone. Amy had jus text. Her water broke. They were heading to the hospital!

Even though I’m on call for all births from 38 weeks until birth, I don’t arrive at the hospital until mom is in active labor, or 5-6 cm dilated. I can tell myself that I left for the hospital that was literally 2 miles from my house because we all assumed Amy would labor quickly, just as her mother did with all three of her children. Honestly, though, this was my sister in law birthing my niece. Just like I did with my sister in law Kelly birthing my niece Khloe, I wanted to be there from the beginning.

Amy & Tim opted not to know the gender of their child so we all voted for what we thought baby would be. I had said girl from the very beginning and even though I had nothing to back that up, I didn’t change my answer that morning. I started shooting at 2:38am on Friday March 31st and after over 11 hours of only lightly medicated labor, Josie Kate (as we’ll call her) was born at 12:40pm on her due date, weighing 8 lbs and 2 oz and 21 inches long. Welcome earth side baby girl, we’re so glad you’re here!

Are you expecting and considering hiring a birth photographer? I am currently booking births for late summer and early fall of 2017. I book a very limited number of births, so if you are considering hiring a birth photographer, please get in touch soon. If you would like to meet in person, birth consultations are free of charge and carry no obligation. I don’t want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to have this short and sweet season of life documented. Contact me today to reserve your birth month.