The Remmen Family
Newborn Documentary Life Session
Lehigh Valley, PA
Juliana Laury Photography | Chester County, Lehigh Valley, and Montgomery County Wedding Photographer
Today I have a little story to tell you about a very special family, and how I was able to document a very special chapter in their lives.
Last fall my husband took me to meet a fellow coworker, who I learned had recently moved his life and his family from the other side of the country so that he could attend a 27 month long anesthesia program, the same that my husband was enrolled in. He was tall and funny, and his wife was the kind natural beauty who never needed makeup and always wore a smile on her face. They had a 2 year old son, Ivan, who had about as much energy as most 2 year old boys have, the equivalent of around 20 Energizer bunnies or so. They were pregnant with their second, the due date fell only about 6 months into the program, so naturally I did what my mother raised me to do- about a week before the due date I loaded them up with mac and cheese and lasagna and baked beans, packed a bag and checked my phone every hour when I thought she would go into labor so that I could watch their son. It was Feburary. It was cold. And we waited. And waited. And being a wedding photographer I spent two Saturdays crossing my fingers that labor would hold off until the morning, but of course I jinxed it. It was one of our last snow storms and I was about to change camera bags in between the bride getting ready and the ceremony getting set up, and for some reason I instinctively checked my phone. I saw one image pop up on my screen and I couldn’t help but start crying, right there in front of the bride.
They named her Claire. I woke up bright and early the next day, I just couldn’t wait to hold her tiny body. Brianne told me all about her made-for-a-movie labor which consisted of lots of gripping the edges of the car and almost-run stop signs and maybe 3 pushes for a total of a 15 minute lapse between the door and delivery.
I photographed everything I could, her tiny fingers, the hospital band on her ankle, her brother climbing the windowsill and making a balloon out of the latex gloves. I shot the moment Ivan held his baby sister for the first time, watched him process what his parents were telling him, documented his slight confusion. I couldn’t get enough, I was back just a few days later, this time at their home, shooting the chaos that is raising a toddler with a newborn in a tiny apartment with Nels in school. You know, real life.
Last week I was fortunate enough to return to that home to hand deliver a large linen box filled with prints. I played a slideshow on their T.V. and Ivan cuddled in my lap as the music and images cycled through, revealing the story of Claire’s first days in this world. It was amazing to have my arms wrapped around his little body as his mom cried and his dad smiled broadly at the screen, my hours with this family were paid in the most amazing hugs as the screen went black. Claire is already bigger, her hair is coming in a little thicker along the sides and she just started smiling, which is pure magic in itself. The night before I had found myself in a hospital for a completely different reason, my friend’s mom was dying of cancer. 24 hours before I had my arms wrapped around a 2 year old’s squirming body I had my arms around one of my closest friends, a girl I lived in Italy with for 3 months, as she watched her mother take her last labored breaths. The deafening silence, the text she sent me the next morning to tell me it was all over, her mother was finally at rest. Life is so fragile, and the cycle of life and death is always around us. It’s just a reminder to live for today, to hug the ones you love a little longer, to play in the sun and eat two scoops of ice cream instead of one, to leave the dishes in the sink and cuddle on the couch until you fall asleep. Life is short no matter how long you live. Make it count.