Heaven’s angel twin || Delivery Pictures

I’ve photographed the delivery of babies before. But this delivery was unlike any I’ve documented before.

Everything was a bustle as the days were winding down for our move from Norman, Oklahoma to Mulllica Hill, New Jersey.

I’ve photographed the delivery of babies before. But this delivery was unlike any I’ve documented before.

Everything was a bustle as the days were winding down for our move from Norman, OK to Mulllica Hill, NJ.

An email came through that was in my newborn category! Sweet.

Maybe I’d have time to squeeze them in—all the other newborn inquiries that had come lately were for later in the year and I’d passed them on to my photographer friends.

But as I read the notes, I realized this was something different. Very different. This was actually a delivery request… for twins! But wait… one twin had already passed. I messaged the contact to find out more. The C-section would be on Friday, the last Friday my husband could work from home. And I’d photographed 2 angels before, one at 23 weeks, and one at 28 weeks. None this far along. I asked in a photography group I was part of, and got some helpful advice. As I talked to my husband that evening on the couch, I knew I had to do it. And it had to be a gift.

As the time approached, I had so many questions… how would the family deal with the loss? Was this sudden? What was the mom thinking/feeling/experiencing in all of this?

All my correspondence was through the sister in law, so I got the best information I could. I had my dear assistant Crystal on call to come in if needed—could we do a newborn session type experience right there in the hospital? To get a few images of the twins together? How special that would be. Would they let us pose them together?

I arrived at the hospital with 1% phone battery since I had taken the truck (without the phone charger!), but luckily found Jessica before I ran out of phone battery. We joined the family up in the waiting area. It was wonderful to meet everyone, who were in good spirits. I met the sweet young momma Shelby, and the daddy, and their 4 year old daughter. His parents and sister were there to support as well.

Delivery of Angel TwinAs we visited they shared their medical journey with me leading up to this point. Earlier on (21 weeks?) they had shared a placenta, and hurried to Dallas to have surgery. The placenta was successfully separated but one was discovered to have heart problems.

Through all of the medical miracles they knew that baby was measuring quite small, and if he were to survive birth he would likely have medical complications. Unfortunately he hadn’t made it.

As I listened to these people, I was struck how strong they were as they shared their story, like trees that had grown down and deep in drought. They were telling me their struggles with smiles on their faces.

Delivery of Angel TwinAs the minutes ticked on, I was happy to have the time to get to know this tight-knit family. We were eventually ushered into a room, and prepped for delivery.

Delivery of Angel TwinIt was my first time photographing in an operating room.

First time in an operating room at all.

The other deliveries I’ve photographed were either after the c-section or a vaginal delivery. But we had permission for both me and dad to be present.

Now, I won’t even watch tv shows of operations; I had to look away watching house.

But with my camera as my trusty shield, I documented the whole process. I had to look away at the sight of blood briefly a few times, but back to business once the babies began to emerge. From then on I was focused.

I had a thrill to see that babe emerge into the light of the operating table, Braxton’s fingers spread and welcomed into the world. What an incredible moment to be born.

Delivery of Angel TwinAfter presented to momma, off to the warming table he went.

Brenton came out next, sweet and soft, with soft wavy hair and perfect body. He got his own crib.

After Dad checked to make sure his sweet lady was okay, he then turned his attention to his babes. He came over to Brenton, above his crib. His soft body lay on his side.Delivery of Angel Twin

The nurse put a blanket around, and handed him to dad. In that moment, all of the cordial laughing in the waiting room peeled away, and here was a father who held his second-born son, never to see him laugh or smile or cry or jump. All of the medical explanations fade away, and it becomes tragically paralyzing.

Even with the bonnet and mask on, I could tell dad was crying, holding this precious little body whose soul had already become an angel. He looked up and I saw the pain and sadness he had done well to hide in the waiting room.

I really wish that shot had been in a little more in focus. So many emotions I saw in his eyes.

Shaking his head, Dad moved toward Braxton’s crib. It was a flurry of movements, sharp contrast to the babe he held in his arms. For a moment all three connected as dad reached to touch Braxton.

I texted a picture of the back of my camera to those in the waiting room, but it took a while to send.

I had photographed 2 angels before.

But this time was different.

There was an emotional tug of war inside me, trying to decide how to tell their story. There was the joy of mom and dad holding their new babe, with brother still on the other side of the room. Or dad holding Brenton while Braxton had his first moments that I could be shooting too.Delivery of Angel Twin

And I can’t even imagine what mom was experiencing. To go through delivery alone, with the emotional rollercoaster of the loss of a twin… her arms would not be empty for months and years as my other photographed angel mothers had experienced. But that doesn’t mean it’s easier.

Once we had a few pictures of babes together on the warming table, they placed both babies in mom’s other arm for a quick family picture. Then they wisked Braxton to the NICU, and mom got to hold Brenton as they wheeled her back to her room.

Family was invited back in, and each got to see his sweet perfect fingers.

I hope big sister will someday understand what a beautiful brother Brenton she had, as she sees Braxton grow and learn.

I am so grateful for the hospital staff who let us have the fullest experience possible for this sweet family. There was a sweet funeral in the days following. While I wasn’t able to participate, I feel so grateful to have been a part of photographing something so special and tender.

These tiny souls are real, they are human beings, and I am so grateful their lives are celebrated.

Delivery of Angel Twin

Delivery of Angel TwinDelivery of Angel Twin

Delivery of Angel Twin

I am forever grateful to be able to document these pictures for this dear family. I will forever remember these sweet boys.

Hugs and love to all, Amber

More about Amber

Born in Denver, CO and raised in Upstate New York, I have traveled the world and now happily live near Mullica Hill, NJ in South Jersey with my 3 boys and baby girl on 4 acres of woods. I've enjoyed shooting since 2001, officially becoming a business in 2006. Although photography brings me much joy, I try to find ways to craft and create in other mediums too!

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