Lex J. Lee entered my life a little earlier than expected. In fact, the Saturday he was born, my wife and I had plans to get things ready for the baby and had dinner reservations for Sunday.
Labor kicked in, and off we went to the hospital. I frantically installed a baby car seat while my wife packed a few items for her hospital bag. I also grabbed some of my camera gear, because I had planned to document the birth of my son. I wondered if I could stay calm and shoot in what is supposed to be an emotion-laden moment.
Once we got to the hospital, we were told the baby was coming that day. After that, it was a whole bunch of waiting until go time. I guess every case is different, but for the most part, I think there is a whole lot of waiting for most people. Luckily, there were plenty of college football games to watch on tv.
12 hours later, the little guy was fist-pumping and out of the womb. I wanted to document the birth of a child, but at some point, the delivering doctor and nurse made me be a more active participant in the process. Did I miss some shots, yes. Do I regret it, no.
Labor was a fascinating process, albeit a bloody one. I will spare you the gory details, but it was a pretty interesting and amazing experience. To think that I witnessed not just the birth of my child but in some sense the way every single person throughout the entire course of human history (minus C-section babies) enters the world was mind-boggling.
When I saw my son for the first time, I didn't know what to think. I looked at him. He cried. I snapped some pictures. He opened one of his eyes. I took some more pictures. I wasn't sure exactly what to think or do. My mind was racing with thoughts that refused to be organized. So I just started counting his fingers and toes. I guess I thought that was what I was supposed to do. Once I got to ten toes and fingers, I was stuck again. I realized what was happening and decided right then and there to cast off all preconceived notions of what a parent is supposed to do and what I've been brainwashed to believe the birth of a child is supposed to be like. I was going to experience this my way. And for me, a big part of that is photography.
Because I went into the delivery room knowing that I wanted to shoot this in black and white, I constantly scanned my surroundings for compositions with contrast. Oddly enough, when I think back to the birth of my child, black and white images play back in my head.
But since we live in a color world, I had to take a few images to reflect that as well.
Welcome to the world, Lex. You will grow up to know the sound of a camera's shutter like the beat of your own heart. For that I apologize in advance, but should you be interested in photography(during the downtime of your training for the NFL), Daddy has a DSLR waiting for you.
Hopes? Expectations? Fears? I suppose there is a lot of nervous energy swirling around, but more than anything, I just hope my son grows up healthy and I don't mess this kid up too much.