Katie Gaeta Photography | St. Louis Lifestyle Family Photographer | Re-Birth and Birth Celebration

St. Louis Lifestyle Family Photographer | Re-Birth and Birth Celebration

April 10, 2018  •  1 Comment

This past fall I did a “re-birth” session with Jess, Kevin, Noah and Amelia.  We decided upon a photography session that would truly honor and pay tribute to the place where Jess and Kevin’s daughter, Amelia, was born as well as where Jess flat lined after her cesearean birth.  So we met up at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis to start Jess and Amelia’s celebration of life and re-birth session. 

Katie Gaeta Photography Lifestyle Mercy Hospital Re-BirthMother and Daughter bent down smiling at each other

Katie Gaeta Photography Lifestyle Mercy Hospital Re-BirthTwo photo collage. Exterior of Mercy Hospital St. Louis and Maternity Wellness Center This was so special to me because I got to spend time with a family whose lives were forever changed upon the birth of their daughter.  The recovery room after a cesarean can be a calm place with some minor checks from the staff to make sure you’re doing ok.  Being a birth photographer, I’ve spent time with many families who have had cesarean births and have been present in the recovery room immediately following the birth.  It can be a quiet time and it’s a time where you think you’ll be able to soak in your brand-new baby, to nurse or give your baby a bottle for the first time, to look into your husband’s eyes and say “We did it!  We brought another child in to this World!”  Jess and Kevin were robbed of that when things went South in the recovery room and Jess had to immediately be brought back in for surgery.  She was diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomyapthy.

Katie Gaeta Photography Lifestyle Mercy Hospital Love Connection Man and woman embracing hug face to face

Thankfully, the staff worked hard and fast to get Jess stabilized after she flat-lined for minutes at a time, multiple times.  They literally saved her life that day.  Jess’ case is a rare one.  It’s certainly not an outcome you expect upon delivering your second child.  But that was Jess and Kevin’s reality.  You can see why they wanted to honor Mercy Hospital – the place where Kevin almost lost his wife and their kids almost lost their mom.  They certainly will never take for granted the staff who saved Jess’ life.  That place deserves to be honored.

Katie Gaeta St. Louis Photographer Lifestyle Mercy Hospital Re-BirthBlack and white of man and woman close up heads touching

Katie Gaeta St. Louis Photographer Family Lifestyle Mercy Hospital Courtyard Re-BirthMother and Father holding hands face to face with children playing background on a sunny day in Mercy Hospital's courtyard

Here they are one full year later celebrating both Jess’s life and Amelia’s first birthday as well as celebrating the family they are able to be.  Kevin endured so much during that time as well between his wife being hospitalized and having a newborn and toddler to take care of.  It was amazing to see his strength and love for his family flourish despite the cards he was dealt. 

Katie Gaeta St. Louis Family Photographer Lifestyle OutdoorsFather and son looking serious holding hands black and white photo

Katie Gaeta St. Louis Family Photographer On Location LifestyleTwo photo collage of Mom Dad Toddler and one year old baby with parents holding kids

Katie Gaeta St. Louis Documentary Photographer On Location Forest ParkBlack and white photo Family of four Mom and Dad dancing with toddler and one year old Amelia has zero recollection of the events that occurred with her mama and never will know beyond the accounts retold by those who know her mama’s story.  She is a spunky go getter who marches to the beat of her own drum.  She and Noah move about without a care in the world.  They love each other and are simply living their lives like kids are supposed to. 

Katie Gaeta One year birth celebration Mercy Hospital Birthday St. Louis, MOTwo photo collage one year old baby girl plays in mulch and wipes dirt off hands Katie Gaeta Family Lifestyle Photographer Mercy Hospital Courtyard St. Louis, MOMother holding one year old baby in her lap looking down embracing child Katie Gaeta Family and Children Lifestyle Photographer Mercy Hospital St. LouisTwo Photo Collage Toddler Playing in fountain and one year old baby looking down with focus on lashes

We had decided that this session would not be complete without a visit to Barnes where Jess spent weeks of her life recovering and getting her heart back to health.  When a person experiences such trauma to the heart and body like Jess did, the outlook on recovery can look grim and there are a lot of unknowns.  But Jess is a fighter and she fought with all her might to get back to life as they knew it prior to her diagnosis.

Katie Gaeta Family Lifestyle Photography Forest Park St. Louis MOWoman holding heart looking down over shoulder celebrates new life

Katie Gaeta St. Louis Family Lifestyle Photographer Forest ParkFour photo collage close up black and white photos of mom with toddler children and dad with one year old baby St. Louis Family Lifestyle Photographer Mercy Hospital St. LouisMom and Dad holding hands facing each other

The most beautiful thing is that despite the events that transpired over a year ago, here they are…a normal family, living their lives with two crazy kids who may want to eat dirt, play with sticks, and occasionally love each other a little too hard.  And that’s really the best part of this story.  It created a new perspective on life for Jess who essentially experienced a re-birth and for Kevin who watched it unfold before his eyes.  Jess and Kevin are still able to live a normal everyday life – albeit one that has much more meaning to them these days.  Jess and Kevin have proved that they can continue with life and they don’t focus on what could have been.  After all, when you have a first-hand encounter with new life, and death, and life again, you embrace your family, you help deliver hope to others through awareness and you celebrate every single day a little more. 

St. Louis, MO Lifestyle Family PhotographerHusband and wife over the shoulder hug with cross bracelets in foreground

Katie Gaeta Forest Park Family Lifestyle PhotographerMom and two children with toddler hugging mom's leg Mercy Hospital Courtyard St. Louis, MO Lifestyle Family PhotographyMom Dad toddler and one year old baby walking hand in hand


Jess and Kevin, thank you again for trusting me with your most cherished memories of your family and their milestones!  I’m so thankful for you, for the staff at Mercy that saved your life, and the staff at Barnes who helped bring you to a full recovery. Forest Park St. Louis, MO Family PhotographerMom Dad Toddler and one year old baby sitting on stone steps with sunset St. Louis MO Family Lifestyle Photographer Katie Gaeta Photography Forest Park Mother and Father Husband and Wife embrace in side hug blue skies



Meredith Westin(non-registered)
Ohhhh my goodness! What a gorgeous way to honor this family and celebrate this mama's life. Also, seeing a little sliver of St. Louis through your photos makes me want to visit again!
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