I first met the Atchison family many years ago during what was undoubtedly one of the most difficult times of their lives. Jessica’s mother called because she was expecting a baby boy, Jeremy, and he was not expected to live many hours past birth, if at all. She asked if I would come to the hospital for photos when she delivered and I agreed. When Mrs. Atchison called that December morning she told me through tears they had lost Jeremy’s heart beat and he would be delivered that afternoon. I met the family as they grieved the loss of a beautiful baby boy and photographed the entire day through tears. What a moving experience, what a gracious family, what faith I witnessed. The following year I met their family on the beach for family portraits then several years passed before we would meet again.
The Atchison’s oldest daughter, Jessica, called me to book a session with her son, Owen, a couple of years back. I remember meeting Jessica on the day Jeremy was born. I remember photographing her holding her brother and saying goodbye. I stood in the corner of the room with my camera covering my face and I wept as I documented such a tender moment. On March 11th of this year the phone call that came in from Mrs. Atchison was much different, her voice was full of excitement as she prepared to welcome her second grandchild, Ethan, into the world. Jessica was in labor and it was my privilege to walk back through those same hospital doors and photograph this family once again for a birth experience that was sure to bring a lot of happy tears and smiles to their faces. It’s such a honor to get to experience my clients most cherished moments in life, whether it be a trial or a blessing, I am reminded of how beautiful life really is!
Now it’s time for you to share in those happy moments with us. Justin, Jessica and Owen welcomed little Ethan to their family on March 11th!
To the Atchison and Dayoc family, Thank you for opening up your heart and your lives and letting me in. Thank you for letting me tell your story. Thank you for being you. Your sweet little family has a very special place in my heart!
On Day 2 we had a few firsts: Mommy changed you for the first time. You made the cutest face when I set you on the bed for your first official photo session, this made your Mom and I laugh so hard. You laid with your Daddy on the couch for a while, he cuddled you and smiled so big. You met some of our friends. You skyped with Uncle Seth, Aunt Dana and Gavin. You had your first official family photo taken in the hospital bed.
On Day 3 you were cleared to go home around lunch time. Your Mom and Dad dressed you in the same outfit your Meme and I wore home from the hospital. Your great-great grandmother made it just for Meme. Nono had to go home to work, but he’ll be back very soon to see you. When you got home, Milo was excited to meet you, he licked your feet. Gigi got the house ready for you and started dinner while Meme and Papa helped load and unload the car to get you settled. I took photos of your nursery. Mommy, Daddy, Milo and you rested on the couch. Life was off to a great start and everyone was happy to have you home!
She is here! Genevieve Hope Holloman arrived on Monday, April 23rd at 10:02am. Our hearts grew larger than her tiny 7 pounds 3 ounces and she infused our life with even more joy. Watching your niece come into the world is an amazing experience. I was able to be in the OR to document the day, the entire experience was nothing short of amazing.
Watching your best friend and your younger brother become parents in the same day… life just does not get better than that. Watching Amanda and Brent with her has been so much fun. Seeing them create their own little family is so great. They are already so full of love for her and I know they are going to be the best parents a girl could ask for!
With all of the many births I’ve documented yours and Gavin’s brought the biggest change to my life and the best feeling to my soul. Tears streamed down my face when I heard you cry and first laid eyes on you, then again when your Dad held you for the first time, once more when he placed you on your Mom’s chest. I still find myself staring at you ,or thinking about you, and suddenly realize I’m crying once more. You could not be more perfect!
I remember so many of the conversations and moments on the first day you were born. Your dad was so excited to see you. He didn’t leave your side when you arrived. You held his finger in your hands and you grasped so tightly. You responded to his voice when he bent over your bassinets to tell you hello. He held you so tightly and stared at you for hours on end. One of my favorite moments was when he set down to rock you amidst the chaos of a recovery room and it was like you and him were the only ones in the whole world for that moment.
Your Mom said, “Wow. She’s awesome” the second she saw you, followed by big crocodile tears. When she holds you she makes gentle strokes with the back of her finger across your soft sweet skin and the tears flow so easily, “happy tears” she says, “these are happy tears” as she soaks in your sweet little, innocent face and all 20 inches of you. She holds you tight and stares at you like she can’t believe you are finally here, safe, sound and perfect. She stated the other day that she would rather wait to eat than make you wait to eat. Already considering you before herself. The first time she said the word “daughter” once again those happy tears ran down her cheek because you are hers and she is yours.
Your parents are both so attentive to your every need. Neither of them complain about your endless diaper changes, late night feedings, or their lack of sleep. They are so happy! I heard them talking yesterday about how much fun it would be to watch you grow up, to see what you decided to do, what you like, to hear you talk. I know they don’t want these sweet days to pass by quickly but it’s nice to hear them dreaming of their life with you in it and making big plans for you.
You get held quite a bit. One of my favorite photos from your first day is of your grandparents gathering around to see you for the first time. Your grandparents were so excited they squealed when I headed out to the waiting room to announce your arrival. No one can seem to get enough of you. You are a blessed child Genevieve. Your Papa says he’ll have to see you every day for the first 100 days of your life, it’s his personal goal. Your Nono almost had his heart ripped out when he had to leave you on day 3 to head home, he requests photos daily, we oblige! Your Meme is giddy with excitement, she loves to unwrap you and see your tiny little hands and toes. Your Gigi hasn’t wiped that smile off her face since the moment you arrived, she loves to hold you and always makes sure you stay warm in your swaddle.
On day 2 you met Seth, Dana and Gavin through FaceTime on your Daddy’s iPad. This was one of my favorite moments (photos coming soon). Gavin said you were, “so sweet”, then he sang you a song, Hush Little Baby was his choice. He asked, “How do babies come out?” to which the answer was, “magic”. He quickly figured out he could see you sooner if we put you on a plane and asked if we could. Your Aunt Ashley met you tonight over Skype and she grinned like a cheshire cat the entire time, giggling at your sweet little noises and your little expressions. Aunt Heather can’t wait to meet you too!
You have been born into a family that has all of the love and support you will ever need. Your mom told you on the first day that, “you don’t have to be the best or the smartest but you’ll be the most loved.” It’s true, we accept you as you are and we love you unconditionally. You are life, C’est la Vie!
Here is a little peek at your first day of life. I hope that one day you will look at these and feel the love in these photos that we felt for you on this day. I love you baby girl!
Love, Your Aunt Millie
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:13-14
As a photographer, I have the privilege of being a part of some of the most moving and emotional experiences of people’s lives. One of those occasions is when I document a birth. The families I’ve experienced such a momentous joy with have a special bond with me. I’m considered a part of their family, an honorary Aunt if you will.
Reverse for a minute because I’m a little late with this post. You’ve already met Tilley-Gray once so rewind and let’s go back to day one. I’ll leave the details of the birth story to Gray. He did an excellent job making a heart felt post to introduce this little bundle! You can read more about Tilley-Gray’s birthday from their point of view on Lindsey’s blog.
However, I did make notes throughout the day on some sweet moments I watched unfold and comments that made their way to my ears. You’ll find these comments tucked into the bottom of this post.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ll be welcoming my own niece into the world in a few short months, or maybe it’s the emotion of experiencing something so magical and miraculous as a birth, I just know I’ve spent the entire time I’ve been creating this post with tears streaming down my face. Life is beautiful, life is wonderful, life is it’s own little miracle. In the moments when we feel the worst, might we remember such a joyous occasion!
Lindsey has a blog titled “FiFi Cheek“. It’s a nickname she’s had since college, so you can imagine how unbelievably perfect it felt when they watched the labor and delivery nurse write her name on their board…
Five things I heard:
“Babies are just babies, until they are yours” -Lindsey’s Dad said this when he first saw Tilley-Gray.
“This is the first baby I’ve ever held” -Uncle Baxter, when Gray was gently placing her into his open arms.
“Have you ever seen so many boys crazy over a little girl?” -The Boys kept swooning over her when they came in, she is going to be one spoiled little girl.
“Are you breathing okay?” -Gray would say this while he was holding her. It was so sweet to see him instantly protect and watch over her.
“There are 3 of us now!” -Gray announced to Lindsey with the biggest and sweetest smile. That smile never left, it still hasn’t.
Two things I know:
Moments and days like this remind you of how good life really is.
Sweet cheeks was prophetic. They are the sweetest cheeks I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Love you guys!