The title “Philadelphia Birth Photographer” is only mostly misleading because I definitely photographed this in Denver. But I live in Philadelphia now and I have to build my SEO in this market so there you have it people. Honesty wins.
I know Joni two ways. One way because she is an outstanding photographer, so I got to know her and her work through online groups over the past few years. The second way is through our dear mutual friend, Kera.
I texted Kera one day and said, “Would it be weird if I asked Joni if I could photograph her birth?”
She promptly responded: “Absolutely not. Do it.”
See, we were only three weeks apart in our due dates. And I honestly just really wanted to see one more birth before doing it myself. I felt like it would calm me. People thought I was crazy but I was absolutely, 100% right.
So Joni’s birth was actually only the second time we ever hung out. But that’s exactly what it felt like: hanging out. When I got there, the epidural had just been administered (and quickly), so she was feeling goooooood. I thought, “Yeah, that’s exactly how I want my birth to go.” (Thanks for the confirmation of that choice girl!)
We chatted about business, about where we used to live, how we all got to Denver, and what our plans were for the future. She made it look so easy that I was feeling better about giving birth with every minute that passed.
Even when it came time to push, she was cracking jokes in between! My jaw was on the floor with her breeziness.
Even though I missed a lot of the struggle (you know, Joni getting to 7 cm before she had the epidural), the birth was just as sweet as all the others I’ve seen. I still was impressed and amazed by women and our badass bodies. I still felt immense gratitude for doctors and nurses and hospitals. I still felt overwhelmed by the tidal wave of love and emotion that falls over a room when the baby breathes for the first time.
And I still cried and stood in awe of how life happens: it’s the most common thing ever (literally happens 250+ times each minute) yet it’s still the most extraordinary thing I have ever witnessed.
Wally-man, you’re so lucky. You have two kind, loving parents, and two amazing and strong sisters. You’ll learn how to enjoy life at your own pace and that you’ll have a soft place to land in your family any time you need it.
Joni + Cole, I can’t thank you enough for letting me be a part of this lil miracle. It was the best labor and delivery pre-game I could have ever asked for.
I have to talk about this for just a second because it’s so freaking cool.
The billboard outside Joni and Wally’s room in the photo below reads, “Wave hello to Juniper, our 400th heart transplant patient.” Juniper is Joni’s oldest daughter who is 5 years old now. And that’s her right on the billboard! She received a heart transplant when she was just a few months old and is a happy and thriving kid. Joni might add “spirited” to this list of adjectives, in the most loving way. This was the first time they saw the new billboard. You can read more of that story on Joni’s Instagram account @theborrowedheart. They are wonderful and inspiring and so worth the Insta-stalk.