Welcome Avery | Chattanooga Birth Photographer

Avery’s birth story is one of my favorites.  Avery’s momma contacted me when she was juuuuuust barely pregnant; she wanted me to work with them to do a session to announce their pregnancy and then again to announce the gender of their much-anticipated first baby.  We later did a maternity session and began talking about his birth.

Jen knew she was going to have a planned Cesarian delivery for medical reasons so we talked about how that goes.   Thankfully, I am able to document birth stories from the operating room as well.  It is a privilege I take very seriously and am VERY grateful to have.  I had her on my calendar for their son’s scheduled birthday and was looking forward to it as I do all the births I witness.

Then, one Saturday morning I got the call.  “Jen’s water broke,” my husband said with raised eyebrows, “Does that mean anything to you?”

“It means you’re taking the kids to the library; I have to go!”

I arrived at the hospital just as Jen and Brandon were as well, and so, their story began…


The morning was full of emotions – excitement and trepidation and nerves.  Although they had been steadily and enthusiastically working toward this day for 36 weeks of pregnancy (and for quite some time before, too!) both Momma and Dad thought they would have another few weeks to prepare themselves for the moment.  It’s remarkable to watch the realization set in for new parents that they are only hours – sometimes minutes – away from meeting their child.



Jen and Brandon were wonderful – they were so enthusiastic about meeting Avery and their natural emotions of nervousness and worry were so tempered by that excitement that everyone around them was infected by their joy.



Avery’s Birth Story takes place at Erlanger’s Baroness campus in downtown Chattanooga and throughout the whole day, I was just utterly blown away by the entire staff.  From their nurses in L&D to their CRNA and Dr. Patel in the operating room and their lactation consultant and all of their postpartum and neonatal nurses… everyone was just beyond amazing.  They were competent and confident and compassionate and concerned and every single person did absolutely everything they could to ensure Jen, Brandon and Avery were not just taken care of, but that Avery and his mommy got as much bonding time as they wanted and needed with as little interruption as was medically possible.   I’ve worked with staff that was nice and accommodating, but certainly I have never stood in awe of a group of professionals as much as I did at Avery’s birth.  (My apologies for the tangent; credit where due though!)



Like most mothers, Jen wept tears of joy when she heard Avery’s first cries, laughing and crying and you could see that she was instantly head-over-heels in love with her son.


For the few moments that Avery was with nurses getting checked out, Brandon was by his side soothing him, comforting him and taking in the beautiful sight of his child.  The nurses quickly returned Avery to Jen for kisses and snuggles and the family of three got to bond just minutes after he was born.


There was still some routine care that needed to happen and Jen’s face when the nurses came to take Avery away again speaks volumes of her profound love for her babe.  I came across this image and couldn’t hold my own tears back – if she could have gotten off the table to be with him, she would have.  This mama loves her son with a fierceness that moves me.


Reunited for the rest of the procedure, Avery and Jen settled into a peace and contentment in the midst of the sterile operating room that was just remarkable; for these three, there was nothing else but one another.


Brandon was able to give his sweet son a bath right in Momma’s postpartum room while she looked on and rested.


Though everyone was tired after a long and exciting day, everything was right in the world for Avery and his sweet parents.



Congratulations Avery! You found yourself in the arms of a very special Mommy and Daddy!  Thank you for including me in your beautiful journey!


Your Chattanooga Birth Photographer

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Melody Hood