Luca James Gantner- “Bringer of Light”
9lb. 1 oz. born February 5th, 2016
I wrote this blog post almost 8 months ago. I held off from publishing it for a lot of reasons, one of them being that this was my twins story to tell and not mine. I wanted to give her all the time she needed to write her birth story and share it in her beautiful words first. I also cannot put into the words how much birth photography wrecks me, and wanted to share the most raw moments it allows you to remember. So here is this beautiful glimpse of this supernatural day, a day the Lord showed himself to all of us in such a mighty way through the birth of baby Luca.
It has been 5 weeks since this supernatural day and baby Luca was born! I have still been trying to come up with the words to adequately describe what it was like to watch my twin birth her son into the world. To be be in front of these moments, to be infront of my twins eyes, and looking into them while she went on the hardest, yet the most supernatural battle of her life was something that I will never forget.
Not only was this the first birth I have ever witnessed, but it was also the first birth I have ever photographed. Honored is the best word to describe how I felt being her twin, holding her hand, holding her weight, cheering her on, watching her and Matt partner together with Jesus in the journey. Below is a glimpse of that journey. One that heaven met earth and the Lord took us all to that very “thin place” with Him. It is testimony that will forever give me chills to tell and to remember. A testimony of the Lords strength, a testimony of complete surrender and a testimony that changed my heart and my life forever.
I hope these photos encourage you with this friends. Whatever you are going through, whatever may come your way, accept it, own it, and lean into Jesus. God is bigger than the mountain in front of you, He is more powerful than your pain, He is stronger than your doubt, and His love casts out all fear. Surrender, completely surrender your pain to Jesus. He will carry you, He will sustain you, He will equip you to do what you were made to do. Whatever that may look like. And nothing will stop Him from wrting your story how it was meant to be written.
Tell fear to move, to simply get behind you. Because you are able, you are stronger than you think you are, and with God you are capable of truly overcoming the impossible. What is impossible to man, is always possible with God. And I had never seen that more clearly in my life than the journey I got to witness below. The Lord made 67 hours of natural labor possible. He was the hope when we felt hopeless, He was the help when I felt helpless, He was the encouragement when we would get discouraged, and He was the strength in the weakest moments.
Knowing Brookie wanted me to be there and living 7 and a half hours away was tough. The last month of her pregnancy I had never felt so anxious in my life. However throughout Brookies entire pregnancy I experienced so many sympathy symptoms. So many to the point where I thought I was pregnant quite a few times (haha). Crazy, I know. But I am here to tell you that that whole thing with identical twins is a REAL REAL thing. So with all that being said, I will tell you something even crazier. It was Tuesday night. We had just celebrated my moms birthday, Brookie had been texting us some things she was feeling, so I knew I better load my car and just be ready whenever I get the actual call. I went to bed that night, but not for long. My body woke me up at 1:45 a.m. pretty sick. I normally get really bad anxiety when I feel that sick, but this massive peace came over me, I didn’t even wake up Sam and I handled it like a champ haha. I was in the bathroom, and just thought, “This is my body letting me know Brookie is in Labor.” I texted her around 2:30 a.m. asking if she was okay and she wrote back “Things have started Cammy.” So weird, so amazing, so cool, and just in awe at this whole twin deal. I woke up Sammy to tell him, got dressed, headed over to my moms house, and my mom, my sister Lauren, our sweet little Levi, and I left at 4:00 a.m. for Nashville!
Brookie labored at home for the first 51 hours. Her and Matty truly set the atmosphere in their own home to be still and peaceful, and filled with the Lords presence. Candles were lite, their was not one second where worship music was not playing and it is where they set the tone for the rest of the journey. They had done so much research, really took the adivce from their education classes, her midwife and doula, and tried to labor in the comforts of their own home for as long as possible. They knew that this would help keep them calm, and centered, which would allow her to progress quicker. It was so amazing to watch these two trust the journey from the start, and so empowering to see Brookie “know her body,” trust it, listen to it, and give us the call on when she knew it was time to leave to head to Baby and Co. I will never forget Me, Brookie and Matty all sharing their bed for the first two nights as Matt and I would trade off rubbing her back and helping her breath through contractions.
Things started to really pick up early on Thursday night. And when I say “things picked up,” I dont mean contractions every 5-6 minutes and sweet conversation in between. Contractions were coming about every 3-4 min and Brookie started to not be able to talk, walking to the bathroom took me and Matty both helping her get there and it was very obvious that she was far along. At around 11:00 p.m Matt called Brookies doula, and said it was time. Getting Brookie dressed real warmly, and into the car was quite the process. But we all had this excitement flooding our bodies thinking “this is actually happening.”
We pulled into Baby and Co, and right when we parked the car the clock turned midnight. We had arrived right on baby Lucas due date!!!!! I remember having chills seeing 12:00 am on my phone and just knowing that God had orchestrated every tiny detail of all of this. 5% of women deliver on their actual due date. And I just remember giggling thinking Luca will be a due date baby.
Brookies midwife got her all settled into her birth suite. It was truly one of the most peaceful places I had ever walked into. The lights were dim, soft worship music was playing, the room smelled like lavdender as essentail oils were getting diffused into the room, and the team around her was everyone she had prayed and hoped to be there. Brookies amazing midwife checked to see where Brookie was at. You guys, she was at 7! We all started crying, celebrating, hugging, and just rejoicing as she had made it so far, and did so much of the work at home. And we knew or we “thought” we would be meeting baby Luca in a couple of hours. Little did we know he would not be coming for another 16 hours, but we did know that God was here. He was invited to flood this place, He was ever present, He was so faithful to carry her this far, and he would continue to carry her no matter how far away we were to the finish line.
1:00 am below.
Oh, the grace in her face. This picture below is one of my favorites because it really describes how she went about things no matter how hard they were going to get. She stayed focused, and calm, and their was truly a supernatural peace that came over her. She was listening to one of her closest friends Stephanie who she had invited into the room to just be a prayer warrior, read scripture over her.
Also, Brookies doula Alexia, is truly one of the most gifted women at what she does (I already told her I am flying her to Charlotte when I have a baby one day). We honestly could have not done it without her. She was an absolute angel, never left Brookies side, and coached her through every step along side of Matty. Her voice was like a lullaby and the encouragement she would give Brookie was unlike anything I had heard. I remember her saying to Brookie during really hard contractions, “Brookie this one is almost over and you wont ever have to do this one ever again.” She really made Brookie take one step at a time, one moment at a time, one contraction at a time, and allowed her to not start getting ahead of herself or worried about what was next.
Gathered around Brookie praying, and reading scripture to her.
3:30 am- What an honor it was to never leave her side. It is hard to believe we once share the same womb and were birthed into this life together. And as her twin I got to be there for her as she was birthing what had been in her womb.
7:30 am- The sun was starting to rise while we all were in deep prayer to God that the “new” would come soon for our Brookie.
Joy is always on the other side of your suffering.
11:00- Brookie was in the pit of transition. She was at 9 cm, below. The hardest part. I remember my older sister telling me that it will be very obvious when she is getting close to pushing. There will be a shift in her eyes, a shift in the way she is acting. And that shift had come. It was extremely hard to watch my twin in this much pain. But it was hands down the most empowering thing to see her never lose heart. She wept, but never let her wheeping overtake her strength. She had moments where she was scared, but never let being scared allow her to second guess what she was capable of doing. She experienced a constant contraction (all in her back because she had back labor from start to finish…yikes) for quite some time. In between her low breaths and groans, she would say “Thank you Jesus,” She would whisper His name when she would get the breath to do so. It was a powerful place to be.
And our beautiful Lauren below. The best big sister in the entire world. So many moments I had chills running through my body watching her coach Brookie, cry with her, pray with her, fight for her, and understand what she was going through. Her midwife said “Watching you three was like a form of art.” I still cry remembering when she told me that. Our sisterhood is truly my favorite gift.
In complete surrender. She always kept her palms up as a outward expression of surrendering the pain, letting go of control, and letting Jesus invade to do all the work. It still gives me chills to remember seeing this.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”- 2 Corinthians 12:9
My heart literally felt like it was outside of my chest. Thats the best way to describe it. I wept proud tears, happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, hopeful tears, tired tears, and joyful tears with her till the very end. I never let my tears make a scene, because I wanted to stay strong for her. I just remember the sleeves of my jacket being soaking up from catching them quickly so she wouldn’t see and I would pull it together fast.
Looking into the eyes of my warrior. I love you Brookie.
Worshiping to Lucas song. Palms up, surrendering to the pain.
1:30- Brookies midwife made the suggestion to listen to an “upbeat” worship song while she was on her last leg of pushing. I was filled with so much joy that we were surrounded by Jesus lovers. We played the song “I surrender” And that streamed through her most painful moments. Oh the energy, the presence in that room, I can still feel how tangible He was. Thank you Lord.
My sweet sister. She was so spent. With such a long labor she hadnt slept for 3 nights. This below was her wall of exhaustion. But with her team, and the Lord, she pushed through.
Brookie wanted to deliver in the tub. But for how hard she was pushing in there, she wasn’t progressing. Had we known He was a 9lb baby coming out of my twins tiny tiny frame, it would have all made since then. It was so hard when she knew she had to get up feeling an enormous amount of pressure down there being so close to crowning. But she did. She moved to the squatting seat as her midwife encouraged her to squat. From there on out, the cheering got louder, I could see her son making his way closer and closer to being in her arms.
Our amazing and passionate Lu. I remember this being the moment Lauren got right in front of Brookies face and kept saying “That burn is your son Brookie, that burn means you are almost done. Come on sweet girl.”
The moment that there was a shift in her eyes, covered in determination. That moment, she told fear it had no room, and she was going to finish strong. I better stop typing before I cry again thinking about it…
“Brookie, reach down and grab your son.” Thank you Jesus! Baby Luca, you are our miracle.
LOVE ALWAYS WINS.