Recently my friend's daughter, Scarlett, announced she was going to have a baby. She very graciously agreed, when I asked if I could document some of her journey. Little did we know just how dramatic that would be for both her and her baby Frida
My process started with some casual photographs made near her home in Cornwall, when she held her baby shower about a month before her due date. It was held in a huge greenhouse out in the countryside.
The party was a big success with friends and family coming from all over the country to wish her luck
During that weekend we made some relaxed family pictures around the cottage.
Mum to be, Scarlett with her mum and her two sisters
..and then we made Frida's first pictures, albeit while she was still in the womb..
A month later the day arrived, but Frida's birth was not to be an easy one (don't worry, there's no pictures of that!) Scarlett was rushed to hospital with severe bleeding and an emergency cesarean under general anaesthetic was performed. During the operation both mother and daughter lost almost half of their blood and the situation became critical for both of them, but they made it.
The next few days were just as dramatic. As Scarlett lay trying to recover from a major operation, Frida was on life support. Frida suffered major organ failures and had to be resuscitated several times. Then they discovered a perforated intestine and she had to be rushed to another hospital over 100 miles away in Bristol, for an emergency operation Scarlett, wearing nothing more than her pyjamas, clutching her bottle of morphine, followed her there, driven by her mother.
The operation was a complete success but still on life support, Frida's condition was still very grave. Scarlett remained remarkably calm, focussed and positive. She stayed by Frida's side as long as possible each day, reading her pages from Winnie the Pooh.
Then, slowly, and with some rather good doctoring and nursing, Frida's condition started to improve. Thanks to a wonderful local charity, Scarlett and her mother discovered they could stay in a 12 bed house right next to the baby unit, which they did for several weeks.
Scarlett about to get her first good sleep in many days in a room provided by Cots for Tots
Over the next days and weeks Frida started to spend more time out of her incubator bonding with her mother.
Now, several months later, Frida is a beautiful, healthy baby and is developing into a real character.
Even I, an unrelated friend of the family, feel very lucky to know Frida and to have witnessed some of her tremendous struggle for life. Frida's story is of course, much greater than this glimpse and includes the support of many exceptional health professionals, friends and family, not least, my friend Sarah, Scarlett's mother, who stayed with them throughout - 24/7. But I can only talk about my experience and the lasting effect it has had on me.
As a single, childless man who hangs this sign in his kitchen, (soon to be amended to include the words 'except Frida') it took me somewhat by surprise, just how moving I found the simple experience of making Frida smile for the first time was, (whilst pulling the most undignified of faces and babbling infantile noises at her). It filled me with a joy that took several days to subside. I'm just starting to understand why people have these things.
Shooting in Bristol baby unit
Frida, quite rightly, questioning the photographer's baby holding technique and unruly facial hair.
a recent picture of
...and now at 6 months old
Cots for Tots charity http://www.cotsfortots.org.uk Photographer Neil Buchan Grant http://buchangrant.com firstname.lastname@example.org #journalism #birth #pregnancy #healthcare #baby #bonding #childbirth ....more pages of recent pics sent from Cornwall.....>>>
...and this video More pics this way>>>>>>>>
...and now, Frida at One Year Old