Babies & BelliesPivotal Moments

surrogacy: 6 long years | jen mcken, photography

By May 18, 2012 17 Comments

At first I was going to apologize for including so many images in this post…….but then I thought NO! I want you to REALLY feel like you were there, feel the emotion and the excitement that I felt while being in that room but also….I want you to notice the parents faces as they welcome their new baby boy into their family after 6 LONG years of waiting. Because this is really what this all about….the journey of surrogacy. There was sorrow, there was happiness, tears of joy, pain, heartache and unmeasurable happiness among a million other emotions along the way. Every single day was worth it to bring my child into the world. Surrogacy is an amazing process for anyone who for whatever reason either cannot or chooses not to carry their own child. Reading this step-by-step guide to surrogacy will put anyone who is considering this process minds at ease. This day was 6 years in the making at failed attempts and miscarriages……and as I stood in that room and could hide behind my camera, I wiped away a few tears of my own.

In my very first post when I introduced that I was documenting this journey I reflected what it was like for me driving to the very first appointment to meet both of the families. I thought about it the whole way there…..trying to imagine what it might feel like. Thinking in my mind how my Mom had me when she was barely 16 and that (lets face it) I was an accident-or in other terms, an unplanned pregnancy, a surprise of sorts. THEN on the other end of the pregnancy spectrum, there are parents who are struggling to have their own surprises who have pain stakingly tried every avenue medically possible to have families of their own. I was given the rare opportunity to document the surrogacy journey…… puts a lot of things into perspective for me. How some people simply take for granted the fact that they can have children so easily and do so without any proper planning. There are couples in this world that would trade places with you in a heart beat! I can’t speak for them but I can tell you being born to a teenage Mom, I see things from a whole other prospective. On days like this, I wish I were a writer so that I could appropriately articulate what it was like to be there and experience this as a third-party. I don’t feel like any words could accurately describe what it was like……

I arrived at the hospital around 9:30 am. We were playing the “hurry up and wait game”….but after 6 and half hours of labor, baby Jack arrived at 5pm. Even though I was invited to be there in order document the days events, I still struggled a bit with the fine line between “documenting” and giving them their privacy. We had the conversation ahead of time but I certainly wanted to be respectful of both families while accurately photographing the day. Everyone was so wonderful including the nurses (Hi Susan!!). The energy was high and so were the nerves….but man oh man, was it exciting!

These images were taken right as I arrived. Surrogate Mom (Missy) and Birth Parents (Mom and Dad). And the waiting begins….

It was time to push…..and the nervousness in the room was at an all time high.

The two above images were taken the moment baby Jack were born. I could hardly see through the tears and I prayed that these came out clear. 6 long years they waited for this moment!

He had the quietest little cry!

Mom get’s to meet baby Jack!

Baby Jack’s little feet covered in ink from the birth certificate.

I love these two images. The top image is Mom comforting Missy. Missy was relieved that everything went smoothly, that baby was healthy and Mom and Dad finally had their family! The other images if the first time Mom gets to hold baby Jack. 🙂

This image melts my heart. Baby Jack meets surrogate Missy while in the arms of his Mom! This image makes my heart smile! THIS is what this was all about! WHAT a GIFT!

At this point, I just couldn’t control my emotions! Mom gives baby skin to skin contact…..Mommy and Son bonding time!

This image is during the first few moments of Little Man meeting his little brother for the first time! 🙂

Big brother!!

I have no words……

Miracles DO happen! Can you feel the love??

Interested in reading about the earlier stages of the surrogate story from Missy’s point of view, visit her blog here.

I just wanted to take a minute to sincerely thank both families involved….not only for inviting me into your lives and sharing such intimate moments but for having the trust in me! This experience has given me a first hand experience of selflessness!

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  • What a BEAUTIFUL capture. I plan on becomining a surrogate in a few years. I had a miscarriage in between my two oldest and remember feeling scared I couldn’t have another or what it must like to not have a child of your own. I know there are orphans and they need homes but having one of your own is something different.

  • Julie Christopher says:

    I follow you on facebook and I must say this birth story really touched me. You get a new emotion from every image. You did an exceptional job capturing these moments! I love your work! 🙂

  • Amanda K says:

    Absolutely AMAZING! What a gift and what a beautiful family!

  • oh Jen, marvelous job. <3 <3 <3 Many blessings to this new life, congratulations!

  • Anna says:

    Oh my goodness Jen….these are incredible….I definitely had to break out the tissue box. Im honestly just speechless at what you captured here. Such beautiful work.

  • Tina Hammer says:

    What an incredible gift Missy gave that family. I can only imagine the emotions that have ran through her throughout the whole thing, especially after delivering. Bless her for doing something that a lot of women would not be able to do.

  • BEAUTIFUL JEN!! what an amazing journey you have been able to capture. lucky for you to experience, and lucky for the families to have you there! job well done, my friend!

  • Emily says:

    I also follow you on facebook and these pictures still have me in tears. I have followed you since your refusal to photograph the highschool bullies. This is another time where you’ve gone above and beyond. The emotions you captured filled my heart with so much joy for the family and gratitude for the surrogate. What a blessing all around.

  • Bonnie says:

    Beautiful photos, Jen! I love seeing all of your photos! Truly inspiring.

  • Tabitha says:

    Jen, these are absolutely gorgeous photographs! Shiang-ling, should you choose to become a surrogate someday, I can promise you it will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Totally worth it!!

  • Amy Forsha says:

    This brings so much joy to my heart to see such an amazing wonderful gift Missy was able to provide to the family. I know the pain and the struggle that goes on for years after 2 miscarriages of my own and the struggle we have ahead of us to have another one despite my many health issues. So true that you do not realize how blessed you are to have children, until you go through journeys such as this and those that others are going through.

  • Karen F says:

    Wonderful capture!! Put me right there in the moment with them!!! Didn’t have the tears come till I seen the surrogate mother crying!!
    Blessed be to all!!
    (Came to see your post by a repost on facebook)

  • Patricia Ann Mahoney says:

    This is just incredible. What a beautiful story in pictures. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Jolyn Iboy says:

    Wow. What a great post. I love the feelings and emotions you can see on their faces. I got teary! Your pictures are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Marnie Elizabeth Bebej says:

    Congrats to the new parents and a pat on the back to the surrogate for giving 9 months of her life to help out another. That is truly a selfless gift.

  • […] Everyone has a story to tell and over the years of photographing people, I have learned that if you take the time to learn the story of what makes them “THEM”, that it’s so much easier to portray them in a photograph. I’ve heard LOTS of stories throughout the years- some heartbreaking, some of them are hilarious…..and every once in a while, you find a very inspirational one. This is where Missy comes in. If she looks familiar, it’s because you’ve seen her a time or two on my blog. She is the women in this surrogacy posts. If you haven’t seen it yet, go grab yourself a tissue. *you have been warned* ( […]

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