On September 25th, 2014, I watched Asher take his first breath pressed against his mother's skin.
On March 5, 2015, I witnessed the birth of Paxton.
Luke, on June 21, 2015.
Then Finley, on July 12, 2015.
Stacey, on the 11th of October,
and Penelope, on the 20th of December the same year.
Izabel started off 2016- I watched as she was welcomed into her Mama's tender and loving arms on January 7th.
Followed by Ethney, the first baby at home, on June 28th.
July 28th, brought Hazel,
and Jackson on August the 3rd.
On September 28th, 2016, there was Arbor-
and Elliot stared into the depths of his Mama on October the 25th.
Charlie was welcomed on the 23rd of November,
And Giovanni rounded out 2016, at home, on the 11th of December.
I started this photography journey a wanderer. A dabbler.
Attempting to find my place in a sea of specialties.
I went on photographing families, children, bellies. Life. But something was missing.
I remember thinking about birth photographers Sarah Shambaugh and Lindsey Scholz's work and feeling a pang in my gut. Like "DAMN. That's mind blowing." But never having the guts to try it on for size.
When Drew's sister told us she was expecting, a rainbow baby so desired, so loved already- I mentioned the desire to photograph her birth. They live in Michigan, we live in Ohio, but I threw out the idea. Just "to see" maybe "add it to the list of work experience". She wasn't planning on hiring a photographer, we just so happened to be going in town near the due date. If it happened, it happened.
And we crossed our fingers.
Our trip date was already set for my husband's birthday- September the 25th.
At 9am on the 25th of September, Amy entered the hospital doors-preparing to birth a baby . We were in town. I was at the hospital. It was happening, and on my husband's birthday, nonetheless. It felt like---something far more than coincidence.
And then--she labored.
For once in my life--I felt like I couldn't stop clicking the shutter.
I couldn't miss even a second. Every piece of every moment was part of the story. Personal. Crucial. The layout of the room. The stork painting on the wall. The t-shirt her husband, Zac wore, and the way her hands clasped around a styrofoam cup of ice water. She looked so beautiful and yet- so vulnerable-and yet-so amazingly strong. I was in awe. High. Shaken.
And then-- Asher was born.
I sobbed. I sobbed so intensely that I couldn't see my camera. The tears were hot on my cheeks and I was attempting with all my might to gain some ounce of control and yet I could not. The second my breathing was slowed, I looked at this woman, this sweet child, and lost it all over again.
That moment- that day?
Changed my entire life.
I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life.
I wanted to tell stories of Birth.
The Welcoming of Sweet Children.
Tales of the strength of Women.
The MIRACLE that is New Life.
I wanted to be the one that held a hand, that put hair in a top bun, that photographed your journey to Motherhood at it's peak. Conquering pregnancy's mighty summit. Becoming all at once a delicate and warring goddess of life-bringing force. That's what I wanted. That's what I want.
Since that September day, I've photographed 13 more birth stories.
Pax, Finley, Luke, Penny, Izy, Stacey Caroline, Ethney, Hazel, Jackson, Arbor Jane, Eliiot, Charlie, and Giovanni.
I've serviced Columbus, Lancaster, Reynoldsburg, Pickerington, Chillicothe, Ohio and Rochester Hills, Michigan.
And I've fallen deeply in love with my work.
I've continued to dabble, to wander.
But with the end of 2016 came the end of three pieces of what Milk & Hannah Photo was:
This year and beyond, I am focusing on the true passion and drive behind my business.
Bellies. Babies. Birth. Motherhood. Life.
I'm focusing on telling authentic stories.
With the exception of my milk baths, I no longer offer any posed photography session. Everything is photo-journalistic and documentary based. Your story, exactly as it is.
I'm cutting out vows.
I am no longer accepting wedding or engagement clients. The 2017 weddings on my books are my last. I am honored and excited to be ending my season of wedding photography with such wonderful people.
I knew what I wanted to do 2 years ago, but I was afraid.
Afraid to fail, afraid of regret, afraid of change...
It took me awhile, but I listened to the calling on my life. I stopped doubting and starting trusting. There is a journey set for every single one of us. A journey far greater than we can imagine if we have the gull to work hard, the ambition to keep moving, and the guts to fail and then get up to fly.
I am honored that you're here with me. That you're reading this.
I'm thankful that you're along for the ride as 2017 shapes into what I've wanted since that stork-painting-styrofoam-cup-of-ice wonderful, life-changing, breath-taking day of photographing my first birth.
Ready for all the babies, all the bellies, all the Mama's, and all the births--