I met Lauren and Matt through the NotWedding in Atlanta, and it turned out we had lots of mutual friends so I knew I'd like them. Matt and Lauren are super creative, owning their own custom letterpress company, Studio Four Three, in addition to Lauren being a photographer, too! Matt designed Woods' birth announcement (picture above) including the family crest from his namesake. When I met up with them for a NotWedding event, Lauren was pregnant and she asked me to take photos of their baby boy once he was born. I had to tell her that I'm not really a baby photographer and make sure she would still want me to do it. I have friends who specialize in baby photography, and I can appreciate all the work and knowledge that goes into getting those images (i.e. how do they get the newborn to put both hands under their chin while the baby stays asleep?). My particular style is much more geared toward story telling, so any family pictures I take usually are in the context of an event or doing something. Lauren assured me she did want me to take them, and I'm so glad I did.
Judah Woods Robinson was born on April 1st. Lauren had a healthy and normal pregnancy, so it was a huge surprise to find out when Woods was born that he had some health problems and a chromosomal abnormality. Lauren and Matt had to leave their precious baby son at the hospital for 28 days and drive back and forth between their home and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. It was heartbreaking to read their updates on how they just wanted to take their son home to be with them. Woods had to undergo surgery for some stomach issues, and he was having seizures which are now under control with medication. He has been on a feeding tube but is making progress feeding on his own. I walked into Lauren and Matt's home last week to take their pictures and just hugged Lauren. I watched Matt hold his precious son and play music to help him sleep from an iPhone in his shirt pocket. I saw the way they looked at Woods, and how they told me he was a gift and the most special baby.
Matt and Lauren were given lots of different scenarios about Woods' health, but when I saw him he was doing well and strong. He is around 5 weeks old and can already roll over (a huge feat for an infant!). Lauren and Matt are believing in God's goodness towards them and their baby. They are fighting for him in every way. Lauren told me how hard the past weeks have been and how long the days have felt in the hospital. Lauren and Matt value life so much, and this little life the most. They dote on him, the post pictures of him on Facebook with all his expressions, and have given themselves to him to be the parents he needs every hour. Lauren, you are a beautiful mom, and your fierce love for your child is amazing. Matt, you are a loving dad who I've seen dream big dreams for your little boy and fight for him. I hope you had a great mother's day, Lauren. You are exactly what this precious boy needs.
Thanks you guys for inviting me into your home to document the new life in your world. Children are a gift from God, but they are a weighty gift. Being a mom requires you to sacrifice your body, your heart, your time, your nights and perfectly demonstrates the principal of death being at work in us but life at work in you (2 Corinthians 4:12). Lauren you are a beautiful mother who is making all of those sacrifices to be a mom, and Matt besides the carrying the baby and body part your sacrificial love is just as evident. And baby Woods is the benefactor of all these sacrifices, and I'm sure ironically he is the one blessing all those who come in contact with him and his story. I was so thankful to hold him and photograph him because it reminded me how sacred life is, how deep a mother and father's love can go, and how we need to love and encourage each other through trying times. Truly baby Woods is stronger than oak.