Like all new parents, Hope and Hunter Madden were filled with emotion at the birth of their child. But after a long struggle with infertility and three painful miscarriages, their daughter Evelyn was nothing short of a miracle.
As award-winning photographer Leilani Rogers captured the family’s first moments together on camera, it’s easy to see why Evelyn and other newborns are called “rainbow babies.” Like the colors after the storm, they’re the joy of life that appears after a couple has gone through struggles and loss, like the Maddens.
“This is a story about a mom and a dad who went through loss and persistence to get their baby,” Rogers wrote in an Instagram post, sharing the pictures of her birth session with the Maddens. “All the birth stories I capture are precious to me, but it makes it that much more special to tell a story of triumph, like this one.”
This touching photograph of Hunter was taken just 20 minutes after Evelyn was born. The tattoo on his chest is in memory of Owen, their unborn child who was found to have no heartbeat late in Hope’s previous pregnancy.
“You can see the relief and joy so clearly in these photos,” Rogers says. “It is particularly special to document a dad’s raw and genuine reaction. We often forget that birth is not just about mom and baby; it is about family.”
Dad, of course, agreed. “I will never forget catching her as she was being born and the immediate, unconditional love I felt for her,” he told ScaryMommy. “That’s what you’re seeing in those pictures, my love for Hope and our daughter.”
“I could not believe that I was allowed to hold something so perfect and I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving, for finally getting to be a father,” he went on. “It is something I have always dreamed of being and I can honestly say that it is the most amazing thing I have ever done.”
Rogers is known as one of the best birth and newborn photographers in the Austin area. She’s been working with families during this intimate time for over six years.
“I loved every minute I spent with them,” she said of her time with the Maddens. “To be in the presence of such a supportive partner and strong woman (her labor lasted 40 hours!) was such an honor.”
With such a long history of loss and struggle, though, even the birth itself was not without its concerns. “We were very much prepared for the worst,” Hope said in an interview. “And I think my entire pregnancy kind of felt that way. We kept just waiting for the floor to fall out from underneath us every second.”
The floor held its ground this time, and the Maddens are now all healthy and happy, enjoying their time together at home.
“I have loved getting to know the Madden family,” Rogers said, baby Evelyn included. “They worked long and hard to get her here.”