When Hayley jokingly sent me the text, "You should fly to Virginia for two weeks around my due date and take photos of my birth!" I surprised her with an enthusiastic, "YES!" I've never photographed a birth before and was as excited as I was nervous. I was scheduled to arrive September 23rd and depart October 6th. Hayley's due date was September 30th. With fingers crossed we hoped my trip from Colorado was timed correctly. Several days passed by with Hayley and I taking walks, preparing meals, painting nails, cuddling/watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood with her 2 year old North, and eating varieties of cookies with milk. After the second day in Virginia it began to rain. And rain, and rain, and rain. No more walks could be had outside so we resorted to the mall. Luke her husband entertained North while Hayley and I made our rounds power-walking through TJ Maxx and catching wary glances. Walking alone wasn't cutting it so we spent each day finding new ways to get the baby moving. Clarity sage oils, pregnancy tea, warm baths, foot rubs, more cookies. Her due date came and went. Then, the morning of October 1st she started experiencing contractions. When they increased to 10 minutes apart we decided to pack up and head to the hospital. We arrived around 11:30 with Hayley's contractions only picking up slightly. She was hooked up to several monitors to check that all was stabilized and the baby was doing well. At 12:30 they chose to go ahead and break her water and we began walking once more. 20 minutes went by as her contractions increased in strength. Luke was so sweet, holding her hand as she walked, pulling her hair back and soothing her as she gripped the railings during the height of her contractions. Around 1:20 pm Hayley had retreated to her room and yelled for the nurse that she had to start pushing. And push she did. For 10, maybe 15 minutes at the most. It was unreal how fast she gave birth to that little girl. Even the nurses were surprised. Luke gave us all a laugh saying "I'm pretty sure the women in her family are professional breeders." Afton Noel was placed in Hayley's arms and her and Luke couldn't stop smiling. Per their request I won't be revealing photos of the labor and birth to the public yet but enjoy the photos I took of Hayley before labor, and Afton after birth.
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Hayley has been one of my best friends since High School. We met on a mission trip to Germany and returned the next year as room mates for the whole summer. She's someone who will tell you what needs to change straight up and will hold you to your word. The moment I caught wind of this tall man named Luke I couldn't wait to meet him. Unfortunately that didn't happen until the week of the wedding because Hayley and I live across the country from one another. After meeting him I'm able to say that Luke matches her perfectly and takes extremely good care of my best friend. Their actual wedding day photos were taken by another photographer more local to the area but Hayley had asked me to take several photos of them together, prior to the wedding. We wrapped a bandana around Luke's eyes while Hayley prepared for their first look. We were fairly close to the highway at a turnout to a field that has a view of the blue ridge mountains. A few people honked as they passed and Luke took it upon himself to begin blindly waving and saying hello to those driving by. He gave us all a laugh and the photoshoot began.