A Just Born Story | St. Vincent's Riverside | Jacksonville Birth Photographer


Photography & Story by Dallas Arthur Photography
Birth Place:  St. Vincent's Riverside
City: Jacksonville, Florida


When I first met this special family, I was a mess. Emotionally and literally. Our home had flooded 6 feet during hurricane Irma, and we were in the midst of dragging everything out of the muck and into the backyard to inventory for insurance. As I was bagging all of our clothes and bedding into garbage bags, the thought crossed my mind...if only there was some way to get all of this fabric into the wash today...we might be able to save it. But I knew that there was no way to get all of the clothing of a family of three, as well as all of our bedding, cleaned on our own before the sewage and mold set in and ruined them.

Then I remembered my tribe.

A task this big wasn't something that our family could handle on our own, but I knew that there was an army of incredible moms who could step in and help. So, I wrote a Facebook post to the Memmies.

What's a Memmy?

Well, a Memmy is a woman who has made a connection with Emily Wannenburg of 4th Trimester Fitness...AKA "the original Memmy." Her little community of like-minded, strong, empowered women have supported one another for years. I explained our situation, and gave a time and address where anyone who wanted to help could come grab a garbage bag of clothes to clean. And I don't think I could have anticipated the response that I got.

Car after car after car came around the corner to grab a bag. Women that I had never met before drove across town, hauled trash bags of sewage-soaked laundry into their cars, and hugged me tight. And let me tell ya, after a long, gross day of work...I did not smell huggable. And yet Memmy after Memmy pulled me in and gave me words of encouragement, and then drove off to save our clothes.

Allison was one of those Memmies! She had her sweet daughter in the back seat and was pregnant with her second baby, and, like everyone else in Florida, had dealt with all of the unpleasant effects of this awful hurricane, but she didn't let that slow her down from reaching out and helping us. I will always remember her kindness!

So when we arranged to celebrate her growing family with a Just Born session this week, I was so excited to see them again!

This little hospital room at St. Vincent's Riverside in Jacksonville was buzzing with excitement when I walked in. Cheery nurses were tending to Allison and her parents were entertaining their four year old. There was so much love in the air!

I love Just Born sessions because they are such a sweet mix of real life moments and simple poses. Zooming in for the tiny details and stepping back to set the scene.

Even though it was a dreary, rainy day outside, the window lent us some soft and gorgeous light.

This big sister was the cutest thing! She was the ultimate baby whisperer. She calmed her little sister down faster than anyone else in the room. She was tender and gentle, and so confident in her interactions with the baby. (Apparently she took a new baby class for siblings at St. Vincent's! So cool that they offer something like that!)

I just had to get a shot of her sweet little sparkly toes!

Allison had such a calm, gentle peace about her as she held and talked to her new baby. This little girl is so unbelievably loved!

We were joking about the not-so-photogenic view outside of their window. Their room overlooked a big air conditioning unit and some industrial-looking vents. But when I crouched down low to get this shot, I saw the rest of the hospital buildings behind them and it looked so much better. But who could pay attention to the background with this magical moment happening! I recently read some words of wisdom from a fellow birth photographer: wait until baby and mom lock eyes. You have to be patient, but it will happen, and it will be amazing. I'm so glad I took that advice!

There's nothing I love better in a Just Born session than siblings! They bring so much fun and silliness to the pictures! This big sister realized that she could stretch the baby's hospital hat and get it to fit her!

Yet another reason that I love Just Born sessions! Grandparents! These two were so attentive to everyone's needs and are just ga-ga over their newest granddaughter.

My heart just about melted when I came across this image. I love it because of the connection they have with one another. Dad protectively watching over his three girls, mama patiently tending to her oldest daughter, and big sister curiously concerned about the new baby. Pure magic.

And of course, in the middle of it all, the star of the show, sweet baby girl. She was a little fussy because she just kept filling up her diaper (I think she's a record holding pooper!), but once she was clean and cozy, she was an absolute doll. She was so alert! She moved her arms in this slow little interpretive dance, like she had something important and magnificent to tell us.

Welcome to the world, sweet girl! Your big sister will show you the way! 

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