When nothing goes as planned – Nicole’s story

The hardest part was my husband not being there and wondering during each contraction how would he help me. How would he be acting, would he be freaking out? nervous? calm?

When Nicole hired me as her doula and birth photographer, she had no idea just how important the support and photos would be for her and her family. Neither did I.

This pregnancy did not come easy. Nicole had already been blessed with two children from a previous relationship, but she knew their family was not yet complete. After years of trying, Nicole and her husband, Talon, finally consulted with a fertility specialist who determined that IVF would be the only way for them to conceive. The financial hurdle was HUGE, and their insurance wouldn’t cover the procedure. But they wanted this baby so bad. They figured out a way to pay for the treatment, and they were blessed to conceive after the first try. They were thrilled.

Photo courtesy of Nicole

I remember meeting with Nicole the first time on a snowy Nebraska morning at Meadowlark, one of my favorite local coffee shops. She told me all about how she loves being pregnant, and how she’s most excited to have me there to photograph the birth. She had never had a birth photographer before, and since this is likely her last baby, she wanted to remember everything.

While she thought having a doula would be a nice bonus, she told me that she mainly just wanted me to help keep her husband calm. He was the nervous one, and she felt completely confident. After all, this was her third baby. But it was Talon’s first.

Photo courtesy of Nicole

As she described Talon, I became more and more excited to meet him. He sounded like one of those simple, home-town boys with a giant heart and an even bigger sense of humor. She told me how he just loves to tell other people that he didn’t get her pregnant, “the doctor did.” (and how much she wishes he would have a filter sometimes). Being someone who appreciates people with a great sense of humor and no filter, I figured him and I would get along great.

But on April 26, 2021… everything changed.

That afternoon, Talon took his motorcycle out for a ride, like he had many times before. But this time he didn’t come home. The family had an event to go to that evening, and Talon was late. He was never late – his family was the most important thing in his life, and he was always there.

While getting ready at home, partly pissed and partly worried, Nicole received the call that every mom and wife dreads – Talon was in a serious motorcycle accident. He was hit by a teenage driver who didn’t look before turning left in front of him. Talon attempted to swerve, but ended up colliding with the vehicle at roughly 50 mph. He was rushed to the hospital. They didn’t know if he would survive.

In an instant, Nicole’s dream of sharing the birth of their miracle baby with her husband was gone. He wouldn’t be there.

He might never even meet his baby.

On the morning of June 7th, Nicole’s water broke. She says “I washed my hair, packed a bag, did my makeup, then stopped at the gas station and grabbed myself some breakfast and gas, and drove myself to the hospital. On my way there my attorney called regarding my husbands accident and I took care of that. Then checked myself in and waited for my sister and doula to come. The weather was perfect, not too hot right away in the morning, sunny and truly a beautiful day.”

When I got to the hospital, Nicole was calm as a cucumber, rocking on the birth ball and sharing her story with the nurses.

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Her labor was slow to start, but when the rest of her water was released after a cervical check, things went from zero to 100 almost instantly. She was in the thick of it, with her sister and myself there to support her.

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“The hardest part was my husband not being there and wondering during each contraction how would he help me. How would he be acting, would he be freaking out? nervous? calm? The most challenging was wanting a natural birth but not being in the right mindset from wanting my husband by my side and not being able to go through with it.”

At one point during a particularly difficult contraction, Nicole cried out “I just want my husband!” We all wished he could be there.

But she was strong. She was determined. And she was surrounded by the most amazing team of women cheering her on. (And being able to witness that first hand? Damn…that’s what I live for.)

Phoebe finally made her entrance into the world surrounded by her momma, her auntie and a room full of empowering women. It was truly a magical moment.

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Phoebe had the most beautiful blonde and curly hair. Nicole smiled through tears as she said “She has light hair. Talon was right. And he’s never right. So I’ll give him this one”

Talon was still in the hospital on the day Phoebe was born. Miraculously alive, but with a long road ahead of him. Nicole included him in the experience in the best way she could. She called him to check in as the day went on. And once Phoebe arrived, she made sure he got the news first. “I called his nurse and she woke him up for me, He doesn’t remember, but I wanted him to be the first to know she was here.”

Watch the full birth story here:

When Talon finally got to meet Phoebe for the first time in his hospital room, he said “we did it!”

Photo courtesy of Nicole

Talon only recently came home, but still has a long road ahead of him. Due to complications from his injuries, he has brain damage that has caused loss of vision and cognitive deficits. He is no longer able to work, and requires a high level of ongoing care. Nicole is currently working full time, as well as caring for Talon and their three children.

Photo courtesy of Nicole

Nicole is an incredible mother and wife, and I am so inspired by her strength. While she’s a complete rockstar, she’s also human and can use all the extra support she can get.

If you feel inspired to help Nicole and her family, please contribute to their Go-Fund Me account here. And please share her story to inspire others.