It’s been a very exciting week in the Hello Baby! world of Oleta Lane Films.
Back in the spring, I reached out and asked for a couple volunteers who were 1) pregnant and 2) interested in me filming their birth and documenting a bit of their pregnancy journey. I was really overwhelmed by the responses I received from women who were interested in this, but Sarah was one of the first people to contact me.
She and her husband Ben are from New Zealand. When she told me that it was like, DING, instant connection. My husband and I went to New Zealand on our honeymoon and absolutely fell head over heels in love with the country. I’m a big believer in everything happens for a reason and “signs”, and this felt like a sign to me. I was so excited at the prospect of filming them! So, Sarah and I met for coffee and donuts, which is the first time I met their four-year-old son, Cooper.
Over sprinkles and espresso, we chatted about her pregnancy journey so far. While that is not my story to tell, I can say that this baby was very much anticipated and already so very much loved. I’m a huge people person, and I felt like Sarah and I clicked right off the bat (which is good, when we’re thinking about filming a birth, right?).
As the next months unfolded, I filmed their gender reveal party at their favorite brewery, Sarah’s beautiful baby shower, and even was able to do their maternity photos for them on a sunny day in West Seattle. Sarah had a c-section scheduled for August 9th, so mid-July I texted her and asked her if we could squeeze in one more filming session at her house – just a casual one of her and Cooper, maybe even sneak in a mini-interview with Cooper about the new baby.
On a blisteringly warm evening on August 1st, I showed up at Sarah’s home, camera ready! Cooper showed me his batman shirt and we asked him all kinds of questions in his mini-interview about what he was excited to show the baby and what he was excited to teach the baby how to do (a front flip on the trampoline, if you’re curious). Sarah and I chatted about delivery details as it was just over a week away and I wanted to make sure I knew where I needed to be!
Sarah’s mum was flying in from New Zealand only hours later that evening, and as I was packing up my camera gear, Sarah told me how when she was pregnant with Cooper, her mum arrived from New Zealand and it was as though Sarah’s body finally relaxed. And then she went into labor with Cooper. It was all a whirlwind and I told her, none of that (jokes, of course)!
SO YOU CAN IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when the following morning at 7:00am, I finally pull my phone off the charger and see that I have THREE missed calls and a text from Sarah! I don’t even open the text, I just *instantly* turn into the Tasmanian Devil and whirlwind through my house, screeching at my husband, “MY BAG! MY BAG! MY BAG!” My sleepy-eyed bewildered husband *also* turned into a Tasmanian Devil as he ran up and down the hallway trying to aid me in my effort to get out the door. It went something like this:
Me: “MY CAMERA?!?!?!?!?”
Him: “YOUR CAMERA!?”
Me: “IT’S NOT IN MY BAG!”
Him: “WHY ISN’T IT IN YOUR BAG!”
Me: “I TOOK IT OUT AFTER OUR SESSION (my filming with Sarah) LAST NIGHT!”
Him: “WHERE IS IT NOW!!!!!!!!!”
Me: “I DON’T KN- THE OFFICE! IT’S IN THE OFFICE!!!!!!!!”
As I struggled to put clothes on (the same ones I’d been wearing the previous night, Sarah probably thinks I never change now), find a hat, brush my teeth, text my boss that I wouldn’t be in today, etc. my husband gets my camera, grabs my batteries, shoves them into my bag and I’m out the door.
As I’m five minutes into my drive to the hospital, I get a text from Ben saying that they’re prepping for surgery. I knew I wasn’t going to make it in time to get into the OR, but as this was unexpected and not the scheduled c-section that was planned, I knew I wasn’t going to get in regardless. My best bet was to just get to the hospital as quickly as I could and get to the room before Sarah and baby were brought in.
After several u-turns, some choice morning words, and about twenty-five minutes, I wandered into the underground labyrinth that is Valley Medical. I had instructions to call Sarah’s phone, as her mum had it, to find out the room number. I finally find what appears to be a lobby where I get one bar of reception and get a hold of Leslie, Sarah’s mum. She tells me the room number. Once I finally figure out where the birth center is, I proceed through the doors in search of this room number. The only problem is, the room number she gave me is not listed on any signs.
I stomp through the corridors, phone in one hand, camera in the other, purse over my shoulder, backpack on my back, maddening caffeine-less eyes searching for this room that doesn’t exist. And the best part about this is literally no one stopped me. I must have walked by two dozen nurses and no one even gave a second glance to the rogue wandering birth videographer.
Eventually I got a text from Leslie that had the correct room number. Oops! I still got to the room with plenty of time to chat with Leslie. That’s when I found out that, sure enough, only hours after mum had arrived at the airport, Sarah began having contractions. Baby was just waiting for Nana to arrive, just like big brother did almost five years ago.
At around half-past eight in the morning, Sarah was wheeled into the room, closely followed by the newest member of the Oliver family: Smith Thomas. Even at two weeks early he was eight pounds, seven ounces with a full head of fair hair. Swoon.
I am so honored and so happy and so thrilled that Sarah and Ben let me be a part of their journey to Smith’s arrival. Sarah and Smith are happy and healthy, Cooper is thrilled to be a big brother, and Ben is tired (napping on the hospital room’s floor).
Stay tuned for Smith’s newborn session and our first Hello Baby! highlight video!