The following is a note that our amazing photographer posted to Facebook to help share April’s story.
Jenny (our photographer) was such a gift to us in this moment of tragedy. She came into our lives as an incredibly kind and selfless stranger, and she’ll forever remain in a special place in our hearts.
I have a feeling we’ll be headed out to see her again for any future family photographs! Jenny’s gift is going to last us a lifetime and bring so much peace and love to our home. We are forever grateful.
April Rey // The girl who changed my life
There are things you will experience in life where words will fall short of explaining or describing the impact it had on your life.
Rewind to a few weeks ago. There was a post in a local photography group I am in looking for a particular and touching request.
The other photographer was no longer able to provide her time to do photographs for a family near and dear to her heart. She was moving, and was trying to fill her spot for them because she cared for them very deeply.
The family was going to be induced on 8/8, and their daughter, April Rey would enter the world. They wanted her birth captured, and their time with her following the birth.
She was asking if anyone local was a volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) and if they could be available to help out with this request.
I was not affiliated with NILMDTS, and had only shot one birth, but I was interested in being able to capture this special time for the family, and let her know I would love to speak with them about it.
I was put in contact with The Villegas family, and I felt connected to them on such a deep level, I knew that I would do anything in my power to be there for them.
It was unknown how long they would have April Rey with them following her delivery, so they wanted every second captured that they could.
We talked here and there for a few weeks. Went back and forth about how this would all transpire and tried to plan the very best we could.
With any birth, and baby, they have their own plan, and schedule and we are working on their time.
Now to present time, it was down to the final days and hours leading up to the birth. I had managed to arrange for the girls to be cared for, and if I had to leave work, I carried my camera around with me to ensure at the drop of a hat I could be wherever I needed to be as fast as could be.
She was to be induced on August 8th in the morning. The hospital was a bit busy and backed it up to the evening. She was induced at 6 pm.
At 10:04 pm, I was talking with Katrina and her husband. I said I would be getting settled in for the night, or I could come over; whatever they wanted me to do.
Joe told me “Settle in. Get some rest. No one expects anything to happen in the next several hours at least. It looks like tomorrow is pretty certain. Thank you.” She was only 1 cm when they checked her around 9 pm.
At 11:24 pm, I had just dozed off about 30 minutes prior. My phone started ringing. I jolted out of bed.
I had set alarms for each 3 hours, to wake up and check my texts for updates from Joe and the nursing staff. But it wasn’t my alarm. It was my ringtone for a call..from a number I didn’t recognize.
“Hi Jenny. This is….” — I didn’t even catch her name because I was in such shock..
“Katrina gave birth to April, so they wanted me to tell you to come to the hospital”
I threw on clothes, and ran out the door. This was it, April was here. I was walking into the hospital room by 11:50 and there she was.
They were introducing me to the most sweet, and perfectly created April Rey. She was so bundled up, and just perfect.
I studied every feature of her, and captured them all.
By the time I got to meet her, she had already gained her wings. She is perfect in every way.
The moment I met her, and her family, I knew instantly my life would absolutely never be the same.
These are the stories that often go untold. I will spread her story, and how April has changed me and my life in so many ways.
Katrina, Joe, Caroline, and all of their family, thank you for allowing me to capture such a beautiful, and difficult moment for your family. You all will have a piece of my heart forever.
One of my favorite memories from the day, was when Katrina and Joe read to April…
“just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair.
That’s me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.”