PRICELESS MEMORIES: Capturing The First Moments Of Life

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All parents have pictures of the day their babies were born. But, more women are making sure the most important moments aren't missed.

Three month old twins Hayes and Emerson are pros at being photographed. Mom Jennifer Harned says, "These are pictures from when they were seconds, minutes old."

Their first professional pictures were taken in a Des Moines delivery room. Harned says, "I'm going to get emotional watching it. But, you know a lot of the shots my husband would never have been able to get."

Harned hired Andrea Oleson to be her birth photographer. Oleson says, "It's inviting a professional in to capture one of the most emotionally intense moments of your life."

Oleson started capturing the intense moments a year ago after experiencing her own baby's birth. She says, "I would have never thought about it until I got pregnant. I hired someone to come in and photograph our birth of our daughter, last December. The pictures, they just blew me away."

Oleson took pictures and sometimes video of 17 births this past year. She says she does two a month and is constantly on-call when a client is due. Oleson says, "It is a really challenging job to have. You have to be ready to get out of bed at 2 a.m., jump in the car and go and be there in 10 minutes, be able to work with really dark light or really bright light and be ready for pretty much anything."

Only a handful of birth photographers are in the metro. But, there is an International Association of Professional Birth Photographers, and it is growing. Oleson says, "There was just a contest for all of us in that group, and like last year there were 41 entries. This year there were 152."

Oleson says people pay birth photographers $2,000 in other parts of the country. For now, she charges $500 to $800, depending on if you want still and video photography.

Harned says the memories are priceless. She says, "It's moments we never would have. We get to relive them now all the time, and get to remember those moments when they were born."

Oleson says you may need special permission to have a birth photographer in the OR, if you have a C-Section, but she says she hasn’t had any problems.

Kelsey Williams is another metro mom who had a photographer at her birth. But, she just asked a friend with photography experience. She has some advice for moms-to-be. She says pick someone you'll be comfortable having in the delivery room. And, decide how much you want to show in pictures ahead of time.

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