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The Day Our Lives Changed Forever Monday, November 21, 2011

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There are a handful of moments in your life so profound it's almost as if you can feel you life changing in an instant.

The day you moved out of your childhood home, the day you graduated from college, the day you got married. You can probably think back to each one of those days and one distinct moment, one still frame in your mind, stands out in your memory. The moment that, to you, defines the day and shaped your life. They are the moments after which you knew, now everything will be different. As photographers, we tend to be the ones observing these moments. Acting as almost gatekeepers of time, we are there to preserve it, to freeze it in time. We are the ones that actually catch that still frame for you, so that you can stare at it each time you want to go back and feel that life-changing moment all over again.

But there are times when we can't be the gatekeepers. Times when the moment is ours to live, when we capture the frame in our minds instead of with our cameras.

It was a Sunday, normally a day we set aside just to relax and spend time together just the two of us. Rob returned from his morning run to a slightly frantic me, concerned that my water broke. A call to the doctor confirmed that we should make our way over to the hospital and suddenly our lazy Sunday was something else entirely. Even on the ride over to the hospital, we had no idea just how different things would be in a mere twelve hours.

A long labor turned into a c-section and to say we were overwhelmed by the emotion of it all is an understatement. Rob had his camera by his side all day, but never got much of chance to use it since we had both made the conscious decision that these were moments we wanted to live fully, not peeking out from behind the lens. So when they wheeled me down the hall for the c-section, Rob gave quick instructions to the anesthesiologist on how to use his camera and we put our faith in him that he would be able to capture the moment for us, while we lived it.

It was a nerve-wracking few moments as the surgery began, I was holding onto Rob's hand as tightly as I could trying to comprehend what was about to happen. Then we heard it, the single most beautiful sound I had ever heard in my life. Reverberating off the walls of the operating room and shaking me out of my fear, there it was: our son's cry. The moment I heard it I looked up at Rob as he gripped my hand tighter. When I saw the tears in his eyes, I could no longer hold back my own. We brought our heads together and let the big fat tears roll down our cheeks. It was a moment we will never forget for as long as we live.

And we won't have to, since the anesthesiologist happened to capture the exact moment for us. The minute Malachy had been brought into this world - lifted up, covered in gunk, with his eyes open and his arms spread out. Looking at the picture brought the very same tears to my eyes and it probably will every single time I look at it. I can almost feel Rob's hand holding mine again, feel his head resting on mine as we hear Malachy's newborn cry. That image is like a portal right back to that very moment. And every time I see it I can feel my life change all over again.

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