Every now and then we meet a family that touches our hearts more than we could ever imagine. This beautiful family was one of them for us and many others who have been following their remarkable story. Carla and Mariely not only trusted us with their maternity session, which was amazing (see our linked post about their Ultimate Modern Family below!), but also for both of their births and their respective newborn sessions!!
Carla and Mariely are both nurses so they're no stranger to hospitals but it's a completely different experience being on the other side and putting your faith in others to take care of you and your loved ones and they were definitely put to the test during Mariely's birth! On Friday July 21st her water broke before she experienced any contractions, she actually had to wait for the contractions to start! We normally go up to the hospital when mamas are about 6cm dilated so her water breaking first completely threw us! We waited anxiously for updates from Carla and slept with one eye open in case we needed to rush to the hospital that night.
By Saturday afternoon she was still only at 6cm so we headed up to see her. Mariely was as calm as ever, we were actually shocked by how serene she was! Hours passed and Matteo still hadn't "dropped". We became uneasy knowing that it would only be a matter of time before the doctors advised she undergo a c-section. By 7:30pm poor Carla had been up for about 40 hrs straight, Juny was wrought with worry and we were told to go home and get some rest. We knew in our hearts this would unfortunately not be a birth we would be able to capture. Carla texted us around midnight on Saturday to let us know they were prepping her for the c-section, they were finally going to meet their little guy Matteo!
We originally planned to go up to the hospital the following day to do what we call a "Fresh 48 session" so that they would still have some memories of their time in the hospital however after delivery Mariely and Matteo both suffered some setbacks. As if going through 30 hours of labor and the resulting c-section wasn't hard enough on her already with having lupus, she also had uterine atony which can be life threatening if not treated swiftly. Matteo was jaundiced and struggling to latch on due to reflux issues and her milk not coming in yet. It was a rough first week for the girls as they attempted to adapt to their new way of life. Before they could even settle in Mariely found herself back at the hospital on Friday with high blood pressure, edema, congestive heart failure and fluid in her lung! We feared that the stress of it all might send Carla into early labor but thankfully that didn't happen and Mariely was discharged a few days later. :)
2 weeks later the family came in for Matteo's newborn session. Both Carla and Mariely looked gorgeous, you wouldn't believe they had such a rough couple weeks by looking at them! Between the two moms and dads there were so many more combinations of parent poses than we're used to doing for our usual newborn sessions but we're so glad that we did! You could see the love radiating from them, not only for their son but also for each other. Juny had such a glimmer in his eyes when looking as his baby boy, you can already tell what an incredible father he's going to be! Since we did their maternity session at the beach they wanted to incorporate some beachy elements into their session which we loved. Due to Matteo's reflux issues he was still having a hard time eating which is essential to getting babies settled into poses but we patiently waited and managed to get the BIGGEST smile we've ever gotten from a baby before!! (you can see those images in our post here!)
Carla's birth was a completely different experience, she started having contractions on August 18th but was only 3cm dilated. A few days later her contractions started coming every few minutes so they headed up to the hospital. We joined them when she was 6cm since she seemed to be progressing pretty well. When we entered the room we found Carla standing next to the bed rocking back and forth and leaning over the bed in pain with Mariely and Alex by her side. You could see the strain on her face as she pushed through each contraction. Her parents were seated on the couch and Juny was in the armchair with Matteo sleeping peacefully on his chest. We quietly set up our gear and got to work documenting some details of the room.
Carla had chosen to have a completely natural birth so the hours of constant contractions rolled through every inch of her body and exhausted her. Each time someone touched her it almost intensified her pain so we watched from afar while also watching the clock; hoping that we would be able to photograph Marla's birth as we knew how much Carla wanted that. She walked the room, sat on a yoga ball and went back and forth to the bed just trying to find some temporary relief. After a few hours she started feeling the urge to push so the nurses and doctor prepped for delivery and we prepared to meet her baby girl. Carla was extraordinary! Each time she felt as though she couldn't go on she mustered up the strength to push again. The nurses gave her an oxygen mask and put a large mirror at the end of the bed to help her see the progress she was making.
Tears of joy were in everyone's eyes as Marla made her entrance into the world! She was absolutely beautiful with a head of hair and lips that looked like she was wearing lipstick already! We thought it was so funny that Marla weighed the same amount as Matteo yet he was almost an exact month older than her (one day off)! She was also born on the birthday of her paternal grandmother who was able to see her birth thanks to FaceTime!! The nurses laid Marla on Carla's chest so they could have some skin to skin contact which has a multitude of benefits to both baby and mom such as helping with milk production as well as bonding. We spent some time photographing some intimate moments between the family before leaving them to get some rest and enjoy their new love. Their lives were already upside down from Matteo's birth just a month prior and now the girls began their new journey with both of their adorable babies!
We had Marla's newborn session 11 days later, we were beyond excited to see them all again! We incorporated some beach themed images into her session to match her big brothers as well as some other colors and textures for a cohesive look. Marla and Matteo behaved as some twins do, when one was awake the other was sleeping and vice versa! Whenever we have fussy babies it's important to be flexible and work with them instead of against them to ensure you're able to get the shot. Carla was exclusively breastfeeding so she was constantly on standby trying to get her what we call "milk drunk" LOL. Carla had told us prior to her session that Marla sleeps all day but she must have jinxed us because somehow after all our attempts she managed to stay awake pretty much for the duration of their session! After pooping and peeing on her daddy she finally succumbed toward the end of her session and we were able to get a few portraits of the adorable babies together.
It was an honor and a privilege to photograph so many precious memories for this family. We feel so close to them and are thankful they allowed us to share their story. We can't wait to see Matteo and Marla grow up in such a loving environment and we're already talking about taking them to the beach for their first birthday photos!! We hope their love story has touched your hearts like it has ours and we're so grateful to the community for the outpouring of love and support you've shown them! #loveisloveislove