This is a first for me, not only were these clients practically my neighbors, but this Mama is also a local photographer! Mikey Furman (Beyda), of mikeybeydaphotography.com, reached out to me back in March about attending her birth, and it would be a total lie if I said I wasn't SUPER NERVOUS about capturing any milestone or life event for another photographer.
I think my worry stems from attending a high school that had such wonderful art programs, teachers, and insanely talented students. I knew, before I had even begun 8th grade, that I NEEDED to take photography my freshman year of high school. Although I loved all four years of primarily art classes (I shoved as many classes as I could into each year), I was always so intimidated by the talent which I was surrounded. The thought of going to art school after graduation, hell, the thought of APPLYING to art school was enough to send me into a tizzy. How could I ever compete?
After all of these years, I have never once taken for granted the wonderful reality that is this career. A career I never thought possible, with clients for whom I am so proud to work, Mikey being at the top of that list. There is no greater compliment than being chosen by someone in the same industry to capture such a crucial moment in their lives. During our consultation, I think it would have been a little odd of me to express too much of my excitement. Now that Frankie is here, I am proud to admit how flattered (ok, and giddy) I was and still am.
Mikey was scheduled for induction on Friday, June 23, one day after her due date. Once checked in at Hackensack University Medical Center, Mikey began the grueling, 31 hour process it took in order to meet her little man. Right by her side the entire way was husband Ben. It's obviously not possible to get a full read on a couple within a quick sit down at a Starbucks, especially when you are primarily talking about shots, inspiration and editing style. Most times the woman, being the pregnant one, does most of the talking, and sometimes I don't actually meet the husbands or partners until the big day. However in the case of Ben and Mikey, I was given a small example of who they both were and how they worked together just from our consult.
I kept in touch with Mikey and Ben throughout the day on Saturday, receiving updates on the medications given to coax her body into labor. Inductions are tricky as there are so many different roads to take depending on each individuals reactions. Mikey, unfortunately, had to take the long road. It wasn't until 10;45pm on Saturday, June 24, that Ben gave word that Mikey had finally hit that magical 5cm mark.
I was checking in at labor and delivery by 11:15pm, and was greeted by two tired but happy faces once I made it to room 19.
I don't like to compare births too frequently, because I never want one Mama to think she had it "too easy" or maybe struggled more than any other that I have witnessed. So, I say this with only the best intentions:
What a champ this Mama was, between the horrible nausea, the discomfort from her epidural, and the sheer length of time she had to power through it all, I'm STILL in awe of her strength, I couldn't believe she was actually apologizing to ME about getting sick, and if that doesn't show the character of a person, I don't know what does. Part of me felt a little sad once I got home before I was able to review her session. I felt like I didn't take enough shots of her progression once I arrived, but between being ill and catching a few minutes of sleep, I believe I made the right decision to not document any feelings worse than that of contractions.
I'd like to think I play some magical role and just my presence brings mamas to 10cm. However, the truth is most women progress pretty quickly once they hit the 5cm mark, and lucky for Mikey she was there within two hours of my arrival. It seemed like no time at all before Frankie was in the perfect position for Mikey to start pushing, and what a pro she was! This first time mama pushed for 16 minutes from start to Frankie's arrival.
Even her medical team couldn't believe how beautifully she pushed, and by no means effortlessly, but with intention and so much control. For a first time mom, she surpassed any and all expectations.
Frankie was born, given the once over by the pediatric and NICU nurses, and happily made his way to Mikey for his first cuddles where he soaked in his surroundings with big. beautiful, wide eyes. Mikey held him as though she had done it tons of times before, and I even heard someone on staff ask her if she had lots of babies in the family since she was such a natural. Skin to skin went wonderfully and Frankie barely made a peep. He was so calm and content just looking at his mama; one of the happiest babies I have had the pleasure to capture.
I have had quite a bit of experience with golden hours and mamas with their little ones, but I have not had the chance to capture many skin on skin shots for Dads, so this image of Ben and Frankie makes me extra happy.
It was my immense pleasure to witness an amazing couple transition into parenthood during such an incredible time in their lives and marriage. I wish the Furman family only the best during this new and exciting phase of life, and I thank them again for giving me the opportunity to document it.
Congratulations, Mikey and Ben, and welcome home, Frankie!