Sweet Charlotte Ann.
I've had this post written. Erased. Written again. Edited. Erased. Written Again. I finally came to the conclusion that it was time for Charlotte Ann's birth story to be told (upon approval of her mommy and daddy) . On December 29th at 7:00, I received a text saying it was time. Baby girl Jacobson was on her way. The timing was perfect. Jeremy had off that week so I grabbed my gear while my own kiddos slept and was on my way to the hospital.
This was my first time in the delivery room (other than with my own babies) and let me tell you, it was just as exciting, just as nerve wracking but not quite as painful ;) I arrived to see Erik sitting next to Kerri as she labored. I unpacked my gear and started shooting this team, these parents, as they began the labor journey.
I had vivid flashbacks, recalling my owns births, and was sympathizing with Kerri. It was an incredible thing to witness and through each contraction, I prayed that baby girl would come quick. The incredible thing about any birth is that it is unique. Each woman's birth story is unique to her and the way God made women to handle labor astounds me.
At the same time, a husband's role as a supporter, encourager and coach through it all, is a real strength as well. It truly is hard watching someone go through such intense pain and not being able to do anything about it. Erik was amazing. He stood, he knelt, he held, he encouraged and he was THERE. The whole time. He was there for Kerri.
Around midnight Kerri went into the birthing room where there was a tub and, I can't speak for her, but it got quite intense. I saw a determined mother, not willing to give up and a devoted husband and father, ready to do whatever it took to lift up his wife. There were moments I was brought near to tears because I saw the intensity of their relationship. There was such trust and such reliance on one another. Erik pushed her when she didn't think she could last any longer and she clung to him when she needed him most.
Very early in the morning on December 30th, Kerri's labor stalled and she was moved to a bed. After 3 hours of pushing at around 4:20 in the morning Charlotte Ann was born. Immediately, I could tell that something was not quite right. I did not hear a cry. They moved her to the table and I began to back out of the room slowly. I shut the door behind me, took a deep breath, and prayed. I remember praying for a cry. 'Lord, let her scream.'
Over the loud speaker I heard 'code blue' being called and I knew it was getting more serious. I went to my knees outside the door as a chaotic blur of doctors and nurses rushed into the room. I prayed.
'Lord, give her a breath. Make her take a breath. Make her scream. Please, God.'
Erik came out of the room into the chaos in the hallway, clearly upset and not understanding what was going on. I gave him a hug and started praying under my breath. I stayed with him while they worked on Charlotte and Kerri. I prayed. Each minute that went past the shock of it all got worse. I couldn't believe this was happening. Erik left me and went back to the room and not seconds later I heard it.
I heard the wailing of a desperate father crying for the loss of his precious first born little girl. My eyes filled with tears, my hands began shaking and my heart just sank. Even now as I write this, I am crying just recalling those first moments. It was absolutely awful to hear. Such joy and anticipation was immediately crushed.
I sat in the hallway with some of the nurses and the counselor as Erik and Kerri held Charlotte in private. I could hear the crying on the other side of the door. Erik came out of the room and asked if I would take some photos of them holding Charlotte and I agreed.
I walked into the room and fell apart. I saw Kerri so tired and worn from labor holding this chubby cheeked, dark haired beautiful little girl. I went to her side and gave her a hug. I told her that she was incredible in labor (she truly was!) and that Charlotte was beautiful. Erik left the room to meet his family in the hall. Kerri turned to me and ask me if maybe Charlotte was just sleeping really hard. I started to sob and looked over at the nurse, who was also in tears. Erik returned and I took some photos of the three of them.
I left my home the night before with such excitement for them, knowing that they were soon becoming parents to a precious little girl. I was so excited for my first birth photography experience and first in-hospital newborn shoot. This whole experience was such a blur that ended with me bawling in the hospital parking lot trying to process it all. I left with such sorrow for our dear friends. Something so hopeful was replaced so quickly with so much grief. Throughout it all I heard this amazing couple mutter some amazing words of faith. In the midst of their intense sorrow I heard things such as, 'she isn't ours. We trust the Lord with her life.'
What intense trust.
In the days after I was contacted to photograph a few other births and I declined. I couldn't imagine witnessing something like that again and I even questioned why I had to witness it (how selfish of me).
4 months later, I know why I was there. I am thankful I was there. I was blessed, encouraged and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Someday, when Charlotte has a sibling on the way, I will be there to welcome him or her, if Erik and Kerri will have me.
I know there are many who have walked this journey before them and I am incredibly thankful for those that have lifted this sweet couple up in prayers in the days, weeks and months since Charlotte went to glory. Thank you. Please continue to pray for them as they journey on this road.
4/30/2015 09:19:00 am
Well written and done.
4/30/2015 11:04:22 am
This is so beautifully done, Alissa. How wonderful of this couple to let you share this and for you to write it so tenderly. That must have been very difficult. Thank God for their faith in Him, knowing this precious daughter is in heaven waiting to meet them some day. And thank God for you for using your artistic talents, a God-given gift, to bring this beautiful story to light.
4/30/2015 11:23:20 am
Thank you for sharing their story, although to see Erik's face is heartbreaking. I remember how wonderful they were with all the children, and with my children in Kodiak. I know they will be wonderful parents some day. Theirs is a faith that is truly inspirational. For those of us in distant places, it is humbling to see their experience through your eyes and words. Thank you.
4/30/2015 12:51:59 pm
I have known EJ forever and these pictures portray a most passionate side of this young man. I have seen anguish on his face before, but this is to the max and breaks my heart for both of them. beautiful words and pictures! Great job! Do Not give up on your profession, please..
4/30/2015 03:09:22 pm
Oh Alissa, from the very bottom of my heart I want to say thank you. Thank you for being there with them that night. Thank you for loving them the way you do. Your talent is is such a special gift from God and our family has been so blessed by it. Though these are some difficult pictures for a big sister to see, I'm so proud of my little brother and sister-in-law. You captured both of them perfectly. Thank you again.
Mom and Dad Jacobson
4/30/2015 05:34:16 pm
Michele said well our thank you . Erik and Kerri we love
4/30/2015 05:51:48 pm
How powerful. How beautiful. How sad. How tearful. How great the rejoicing will be one day. Thanks for sharing and caring. May God continue to carry both Erik and Kerri, because He is already carrying little Charlotte Ann.
5/1/2015 12:54:14 am
Thank you for telling this story of my nephew Erik, niece Kerri, and great niece Baby Charlotte. Your words were done so beautifully and I'm sure Erik and Kerri will treasure this forever.
Sue Falzone (Kerri's mom)
5/1/2015 01:44:41 am
Thank you for posting this. I can't even imagine the roller coaster of your emotions. I appreciate being able to see and read some of what went on that night because we were so far away in NJ. Getting the phone call from Kerri that Charlotte didn't make it ripped our world apart. The comfort we had and still have is knowing that Charlotte is with God. She is his little angel.
5/1/2015 04:37:21 am
You have done a beautiful job capturing the beginning of the journey they are now and will forever go through, that of being parents to an unseen and wholly felt child with God. Keep up the good work and talent for capturing life moments God has bestowed upon you. Any accounts of this deeply personal story and journey are deeply appreciated, especially in regards to the underlying message of faith and trusting our hearts to our Redeemer. Well done all of you, and as always live and hugs to Kerri and Erik.
5/2/2015 01:26:30 pm
This is the most touching thing I have ever read. Your courage to face this was great, and greater still the faith of Kerri and Erik who have placed this precious life in the Hands of the Master Creator, Almighty God, our amazing Savior. I cannot wait to see my grand niece with Jesus. I don't think I could do that.
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