Laura Fifield, a birth photographer based in Spokane, Washington, has seen her fair share of stunning first encounters, mothers and babies meeting, after nine long months, for the very first time. When photographing a rainbow baby, though, capturing that first moment of contact means something even more — simultaneous heartbreak for the child that was lost and indelible appreciation for the child that came after.
So when Fifield set up to photograph the birth of Lila and Tim’s third child, Audrey Joy, after learning that the couple had lost their last baby to a tubal pregnancy in December 2015, she knew what was at stake.
During that tubal pregnancy, Lila very nearly lost her own life in the process — her right fallopian tube ruptured and she was rushed to the hospital for an emergency ligation surgery. While her right tube was compromised, Lila was, thankfully, able to conceive again. “This experience brought my husband and I closer to each other and to God,” Lila wrote on Fifield’s website. “I gained an amazing appreciation of the delicacy of both pregnancy and my own life.”
Fifield began to shoot, continuing through labor, delivery and Audrey Joy’s first hours. But one particular, poignant photo — one in which Audrey rests on her mother’s chest just moments after delivery — strikes a chord:
A single tear slides down Lila’s cheek, her face contorted in a mixture of relief, grief and unbridled joy as she holds her baby girl. Powerful and moving in the most visceral of ways, the photo perfectly captures the emotions associated with bringing a rainbow baby into the world.
“In a way, documenting the rainbow baby birth of Audrey Joy was like watching life come full circle,” Fifield said. “Lila’s due date with Audrey was almost exactly one year from the date of her loss. Seeing the storm end with new life is a beautiful reminder of just how precious children are.”
Today, days after the birth, Lila and Tim know that they’ve been given the best gift of all: “Our fearfully and wonderfully made 11-day old rainbow baby Audrey Joy,” Lila wrote.