The Birth of Baby Price || A Memphis Surrogacy Story
Many of you may know their story. The story of two women and their families brought together by, some might say luck, I say God.
This is a story that will bring you to your knees. At least it did to me.
In the beginning, when Shelby & Preston decided to start their family they were over the moon excited! They would welcome Macallen to this world in September of 2012, just a few weeks prior to my own due date with my son. Having known Shelby and her family for a long time, and having photographed her and Preston’s wedding, as well as both of her sister’s weddings, I was overjoyed for them to start on this journey.
Because several of our mutual friends were getting pregnant and several were due in the Fall of 2012, with boys nonetheless, we decided a Mommy group would be a fun idea. We were all due within just a few weeks of each other, so what better way to journey Mommyhood than with other new Moms by your side.
Little did we know, Macallen had different plans for his arrival date. He was born at 27 weeks and spent 64 long days in the NICU. As Shelby finally brought Macallen home the other girls and I were just having our babies. Over the next year, we spent several mornings and afternoons playing with our littles, and this is when I truly learned and saw with my own two eyes how strong of a woman Shelby is.
As time passed, Shelby & Preston were ready to grow their family and began trying for baby #2! Unfortunately, this wasn’t as easy as they had hoped. After many grueling months of trying, testing, and experimenting with new things, it was determined that having another of their own was not going to be a possibility. At least not in the typical way.
I didn’t talk to Shelby much about this when it was all unfolding. I just didn’t feel that I had the right words or knew what to say. I did, however, follow her journey through family and friends and posts on social media. One post, in particular, would change their lives forever.
Shelby announced that she and Preston would be soon looking for a surrogate in hopes of adding to their little family.
A real life superwoman.
Casey and Shelby were not friends on Facebook nor had they ever met. They did, however, have mutual friends. And as a result, Casey became aware of Shelby & Preston’s situation and desire for a surrogate. Come to find out, Casey had always felt a strong calling to be a surrogate. She and her husband had gracefully brought 4 strong, healthy, and adorable boys into this world, and Casey had thought about the women who had not experienced this joy of motherhood and children. I am sure that there are so many details, meetings, conversations, hugs, cries, and occurrences that I know nothing about. But what I did know shortly after all this is that Casey was to be Shelby’s surrogate or GC ( gestational carrier to be exact. )
I also knew, immediately, that I wanted to document this journey for them. Their story, their strength, their love– well, it moved me, and I just had to be a part of it all. After all, I knew both women, I knew both of their families, and how could I not offer to be there to give them something that I hope will be irreplaceable –
The memory of this journey EXACTLY as it unfolded and became more than just a gift from one woman to another.
I wanted to be there the moment it became LIFE.
And here we are, just an ordinary Thursday in June. Although there was NOTHING ordinary happening in this room.
It was not ordinary love.
It was the gut wrenching, tear jerking, ugly crying, praising God, falling to your knees, kind of love.
These raw moments get me to the core. It’s like every time I see them I am seeing them for the first time. And it’s go time. This, you guys!!! Birth photography is magical all on it’s own. It’s watching life happen. But this, this is just something spectacular. As I edited these photos I kept thinking to myself “How does she do it? Could I do it? Could give up 9 months of my life to be pregnant for another woman. Could I go through the painful child birth for someone else? Could I do all that and then let go? The answer is I don’t think I could. Being 100% honest with myself I don’t think I could.
Casey could. And she did. And I told her that day that there is a special place in Heaven for you, and you will walk this Earth with a little halo over your head in my eyes. You amaze me!!!
This is one of my very favorites. It’s the perfect image of the two women that brought this little angel into the world. I love that she is looking right into her Mamma’s eyes all while being held by the woman that carried her for 9 months. I talked to Casey again while I was finishing this gallery, and I asked her, “How did you do it? Wasn’t it hard?” Of course it was hard but her response brought me to tears.
She said to me “It was a greater gift to me, I promise. It taught me a lot about myself and everyone around me. I’m so blessed.” Then she said “It’s hard to explain or understand, but I just knew she was never mine. She just feels like my close friend. Who I love -love enough to let her go.”
This isn’t the last time you will see these two or hear about their story. Because the story isn’t close to being over.
God is so much bigger than we know or can see.
Not long after Casey became pregnant with Baby Price the impossible happened. Shelby & Preston learned that they were pregnant! That’s right!
Baby Porter will be here this Fall. These two babes that once were just a dream will now be just 15 weeks apart. GOD. IS. GOOD.