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Chapel Dolenc

Last summer I headed to Chaska to photograph Mr. Archer Dolenc for his 6 month birthday. I was in the middle of shooting and Shelly, Archer's mom was holding something out for me to look at. It took way too long for it to register, but once it did, I realized that Shelly was showing me a positive pregnancy test. I did my best not to cry so many happy tears, but for Shelly, like so many women, trying to have a baby caused a lot of heartache the first time around. When I found out that this sweet family had another baby on the way, it brought nothing but joy to my heart. A little while later, I received an email from Shelly asking if I had ever thought of photographing a birth. The answer was YES. I had thought about it and I REALLY wanted to photograph Dolenc Baby #2 entering the world. After all, I was one of the first people to find out that another baby was on the way ;)

A few months came and went as Shelly and I emailed back and forth, talked via text, and did Archer's one year photos. It wasn't until after Christmas that the excitement really started to kick in. Shelly had a few signs of labor, and I swear I bugged her at least once a day with, "how's it going?!", "how are you feeling!?" On January 8th, 2017, I was working another job when I got a few messages from Shelly that she was having pretty steady contractions and that they would probably head in soon. My heart started to race with excitement as I hopped in my car for the hospital. I expected Shelly and her husband, Mark, to be in the thick of it, but Shelly was a lot calmer than I was during labor :)

I went into this experience thinking that I would just be a fly on the wall and watch everything unfold. While I tried to do that, Shelly and Mark were too inviting. Before I knew it, we were having conversations like we were sitting down for coffee. Mark and I even had a contest to see who would write the banner out once baby came. I tried telling them that it was a bad idea to have me do it...but I guess they needed proof first. Although Mark won, the doctor ended up sitting down after Chapel was born to take on her second job of the night as calligrapher.

The day our daughter, Letty, was born, it was such an adrenaline rush. It was the best day of our lives, and also among the happiest. I didn't cry. I think I was too excited to see her, as well as relieved to be done with the laboring process. When Chapel Dolenc was born, I was shaking and I was sobbing. I watched as she came into the world like a bolt of lighting. I watched as her daddy sobbed happy tears and searched to see if they had been blessed with a girl or boy. I watched as a look of relief swept across Shelly's face, and I watched her grab that baby girl with the most tender hands in the world. I wish, I really wish that I had the right words to explain this experience to you guys. Hopefully these images help relay some of the emotions of that night.

The biggest thank you in the world to Shelly and Mark for sharing their experience with me. This is the best thing I've ever done as a photographer. Love you all <3

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