After hearing the exciting news of a new baby coming into the family my next question was, "Can I photograph the birth!?". While David was up for it from the very beginning, Jeannette was a bit reluctant to the idea. Even down to the day of the birth she tried hiding from me and my camera, but where was she gonna run to?
Arialeny came about a week early. Mom started having contractions the night before, but my brother David didn't let us know until the morning of. Needless to say, my sister's squeaky high-pitched voice was yelping with excitement on the phone as I tried to orient myself and my thoughts. "Hello?... Who is this?... Are you Okay?... Am I okay?... Who's pregnant?.... Oh, like now now?... Ok, give me 10 minutes." And just like that we were on the long drive to witness the new addition. I was so scared I'd miss the parts I like to document so I asked my sister to drop me off at the door.
I was happy to see Jeannette was still herself, crunching away at her ice chips. While the actual birth is the climax of the event, I don't mind the waiting. It's exciting for me to sit, observe, and see people's connections, especially those of Mom + Dad. While most of the family waited in the lobby of the hospital, I had a front row seat at the action -- well, really backrow seat, but I was still close. You can't see the shades of purple my brother's hand was turning to because of the black + white slideshow, but she was mercilessly transmitting her pain onto him. With some much determined pushing baby Arialeny was born.
These moments always remind me of how small I am, and what beautiful, emotional, and complex beings we all are. After Jeannette gave birth to my new baby niece, I stuck around for a bit. I like to take it all in and watch the room settle down. Being the youngest one of my Brady bunch, I don't know what it feels like to have a newborn take over the family dynamics. I was interested to see how Arialeny's now older brother would react to her. At first, he seemed to feel a bit betrayed, and even shed what I would describe as a mournful tear. The interesting part was how although he kept his distance, he watched and followed her wherever she went. Looking back at these pictures, I found his little round head to be in the foreground of many of them. Naturally, with time and without pressure he came around.
David + Jeannette, thank you for allowing me to be part of this vulnerable, intense, and powerful moment in your lives. Jeannette, I have nothing but admiration for you girl!
I've always heard that a mother's brain unwillingly blocks some of the memories from laboring, so here's all the good, the beautiful, buttery, and nitty gritty.