As told from behind the lens, Tamara Shope, communications coordinator for Lovelace Health System, shares her experience documenting the “Real Labor of Love” reality series.
At 5:10 p.m. on April 29, I watched a baby enter this world, take his first breaths, shiver at the cold, and feel his mother’s touch for the first time. I watched his father beam at him, touch his tiny fingers and clip his umbilical cord. I listened to his grandmothers encourage and soothe his mom as she powered through her agony. I saw his mother, Kayla, hold him against her trembling skin, whisper to him and realize she was in love. I was a bystander to life’s most wondrous moments.
As a storyteller of sort for Lovelace, I have followed three young women – Kayla, DeAnna and Courtney – through their pregnancies. They are the stars of Lovelace’s “Real Labor of Love” reality series, and it has been my job to capture important and special moments on camera. I’ve gotten to know them – all so different and so lovely – and watch their bodies and lives adjust to make room for their little ones. I have been the proverbial fly on the wall, but so rarely are we flies witness to the miraculous and magical.
Walking alongside Kayla and Anthony as they worked to bring their son to the world was a privilege. I had never before been present for a baby’s birth. I do not have children of my own – and, actually, I cannot. I suppose that in a way, it made this magical moment even sweeter. It was all new to me, and it made me appreciate the sacrifice every mother makes for her children. Her body is in agony, she is tired and frustrated. She is eager to meet her baby, see his hair color and who he most resembles. On this last mile of the marathon, they can sense the nearness of the finish line, but it is never close enough. It made me appreciate my mom, who ushered two babies into the world and helped them navigate its waters, both marvelous and miserable.
Every moment of this experience was sweet. It is an honor to have been present, to observe and then to share Kayla’s story. And there is so much more story to come. We will check in on Kayla and little Kael through his first few months, and we still have two more pregnancy and birthing stories to share.
It’s a good day at work when you’ve witnessed a miracle. And it is remarkable thing to know that there are more tiny wonders on their way.