Aly and Travis are some of our closest friends: Travis was the best man at our wedding and Aly has been a close confidant and friend. We have seen many ups and downs together. A couple years ago, we walked with them as they journeyed through a devastating miscarriage. Our hearts ached for them as they walked through this loss. Months later they became pregnant with their precious rainbow baby; what joy this baby brought with him! Aly asked if I would be her doula and birth photographer and of course I was honored. Travis and Aly now live in Manhattan, Kansas so we went and stayed with them for a couple weeks as they waited and prepared for the birth of their second son, Ryker. It was an amazing blessing to spend so much time with them. Our sons spent every waking moment together and they played like brothers. We had beautiful conversations with one another and grew even deeper in love and affection for each other.
Aly and I spent each day trying a new labor-inducing technique; Aly became a close friend with the birthing ball. Ryker was facing posterior, meaning his face was pointing outward towards Aly's belly. When babies are in this position it can make labor take longer to come on and when it does it can be especially intense. So we spent our time working to get baby to flip into the anterior position. Aly's bag of waters broke at 5am on the morning of June 27th, Ryker's due date! Aly labored at home for a few hours, but since they live a half hour from the hospital we decided to go in, in case things progressed quickly. When we got to the hospital Aly was 5cm dilated. Aly spent about 8 hours at the hospital working though position after position, in and out of the tub. Her contractions were intense and she was stuck in transition at 8cm for most of that time. Eventually Aly was getting really exhausted and she was worried she wouldn't have the strength to push. She decided to get an epidural to help her rest and allow her muscles relax a bit to hopefully finish out her dilation. It worked! Within the hour she was complete and after pushing for 20min her sweet son Ryker was laid on her chest. He was born surrounded by love and joy. Immediately he just made sense in their family; it was hard to imagine the Gilbert family without Ryker. Soon after the birth the older brother, Flynn, came to meet his little brother. He was sweet with him and gentle with his mama.
It is always an honor to be invited in to capture and assist in the birth of a little one. It is particularly special when I get to be apart of the birth of a family I love so much. Gilbert family, I am so very excited for you guys. You have a lot of love and creativity and I cannot wait to see how God uses it to continue bless humanity and his kingdom.