The Friday in August that Jude was born was a little bananas. I got a call that morning from Cambrie Anderson asking me if I was available to shoot a birth for one of her friends. I initially said I wasn’t available because I had to shoot Lindsey and Chuck’s wedding the next morning. Lewie (Jude’s dad) told me that this was baby #3 and they weren’t thinking it would take all that long to deliver. Alright then. Let’s do it. So, I met them at IU West around 1:00 in the afternoon.
Photographing a birth is an odd thing. It’s amazing and beautiful, but it’s intimate in ways that words cannot explain. I had never met Jen (Jude’s mom) or Lewie before, but they welcomed me into the experience with open arms, as did Jen’s mom, Sharon, and Tonya the amazing doula.
There are a few things in life that I know for sure. One of them is that Jen is a badass. She was strong and fierce and fought for exactly what she wanted. The level of grace that she had while laboring was profound. I feel blessed to have witnessed it.
That said, Jude was in NO HURRY WHATSOEVER to arrive. No hurry at all. So, Jen labored. She labored in the hallway, she labored in the bed, she labored while eating yogurt, she labored in the tub (side note: someone should have photographed Tonya and I setting up the laboring tub… I’m sure it was hilarious). Jen was a champ, and she was surrounded my so much support. And then, after about one million hours of labor, she was exhausted. And I mean exhausted in a way that I’d never seen before. Those contractions were a bitch. And she needed some help. She did exactly what her body ended up telling her to do, and she called for an epidural. This was a rough decision, because Jen and Lewie had a very specific birth plan. Drugs were not part of it. But, plans change. And Jen was amazing.
While Jude was lollygagging around waiting to make his arrival, the hours were passing by on the clock. I was getting nervous as I knew I had a full day of shooting the next day and once the epidural was in, it was nap time for Jen (she more than needed it). At 2:00 in the morning, 13 hours-ish after I had arrived, I called the only friend in the world who would pack up her gear, drive to Avon from Westfield and finish shooting this birth for me. Katie Destry didn’t even question it. She’s awesome like that.
Four hours later, sweet Jude arrived. I was heartbroken to have missed it. Thank you to Jen and Lewie for reminding me that the world is a beautiful place.
You can find the rest of Jude’s birth story here. Fair warning though, Katie has some pretty legit detail shots of Jude’s entrance. Thank you, Katie, for doing such beautiful work.