Ollie's First Three Hundred and Sixty Five (ish) Days

One thing I’m 100% sure of as a mother is that time seems to simultaneously stand still and fly by. There is so much truth it the phrase “the longest shortest time.” Watching my own children grow and change has been one of the most beautiful, rewarding, and challenging things for me. When my son, now 5, was an infant, I would cry every single night. I didn’t want the day to be over, I didn’t want him to change. And yet the days did pass, and he did change. The years go by, they change so much, so fast.

When Laina reached out about setting up a series of sessions over the course of the first year of her (not-quite-yet-born) son’s life, I basically said “YES!” before she could even finish asking. What better way to preserve all of the different milestones, smiles, laughter, snuggles…

And that’s just what we did.

I met Ollie in the mother-baby unit when he was 9 hours old. We kept the session short, but I was able to capture some of his first ever eye contact with Laina and Matt, his father. Four months later, and for each consecutive session, I met Laina and Ollie at their home. Laina would spend a few minutes telling me about what was special to them at that moment, from wrestling on the bed, to looking for doggies out the window, to nursing quietly in a patch of warm sun. My goal for each session was to capture the real, genuine interactions that she shared with her son. I just showed up and let them love, play, be.

After our final session together, I asked Laina about the first year of Ollie’s life, and she said: “Watching Ollie grow in his first year of life blew away my expectations. I knew I would love him, but I didn’t realize that I had never experienced this type of love. A love that is so raw, so new and yet so terrifying at the same time. I wanted to soak it all in and spend every second with him. I was so mesmerized by his milestones  and fascinated by watching him experience everything for the first time.  These photos will be a physical reminder I can look at of the most wonderful year of my life. A time where sleepless night makes my memory kinda foggy. A time that i will treasure more than anything I have ever experienced in my life. I never really knew my life was missing something and then I had Ollie. Now, even a hour without him and I cant stop thinking about how complete he makes me feel.”

Sam, Patrick, and Baby Wallace / at Home

Sam and Patrick are the kinds of people you become friends with the moment you meet. I quickly recognized that Sam and I were kindred spirits, and I felt so excited for her to enter into motherhood. So when I got the message that Wallace had been born, my heart felt like it was going to burst.

Two weeks later, they invited me into their home to capture some quiet, intimate moments. They’d come into the daily habit of reading ten pages aloud to Wallace from of a book they’d been gifted about parenthood, which was such a joy to document for them. During our time together, they were both so tender and gentle with Wallace. It was as though I could feel their love for him radiating in the quiet moments they all shared together. And there was so, so much love.

Later, when I asked Sam what has surprised her most about becoming a mother, she said: “Becoming a mama has been a uniquely empowering experience - from pregnancy to labor & delivery, and now having a little human in our home to care for and adore. It’s been amazing to discover and learn to trust both natural and biological instincts that have always been within, but are now present everyday to guide me in nurturing and loving our little boy. Who knew so many skills you didn’t realize you had come up when you are taking care of new life!?”