When I first met Kaitlynn, we were in 10th & 11th grade in High School, playing on a club volleyball team where we would carpool to tournaments together, once the season was over, we went on with our lives.. Never expecting to cross paths again nearly 10 years later. Her best friend reached out when I first started my photography business and asked about doing a best friends maternity session with her, Kaitlynn and both of their husbands. These two had been best friends for as long as they could remember, were married a month apart, neighbors & at the time, had due dates just 1 day apart! I shared their preview and the world of Facebook loved them, making it a viral post at 48k likes and more shares than I can remember! The night of that post, 4 years ago, we made a group iMessage that we have yet to miss a day chatting in. These two have become two of my closest friends throughout the years.

I’ll never forget when Kaitlynn nonchalantly told Jacea & I over coffee one morning that we would be in the delivery room for her next baby, I was over the moon excited- but she wasn’t even pregnant yet! When she found out she was pregnant, we immediately began talking about how amazing this delivery would be & I’m here to tell you- it was every bit as incredible as we had imagined.

Kaitlynn & Zack arrived to the hospital around 5am for her induction, Jace & I had agreed to go grab coffee and head up closer to 9. Her water was broke at 7:45am and she was dilated to 3cm. I was packing up my camera gear when Jace texts the group announcing she was skipping coffee because she was sure the baby would be here within an hour- we laughed about this later, haha! I arrived to the hospital around 9, Kaitlynn was uncomfortable but not so much that she felt she needed the epidural yet. She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes so the nurses were coming in frequently and checking her blood sugar to make sure she was under 100, they ended up hanging insulin to keep her numbers down. Hers kept coming back at 101, of course!

At 10:15am, the doctors came in to give her the epidural, Jace & I went to grab something to eat at this time- telling Zack to be sure to text us if things started to get crazy. At 10:36am, Zack text us that she was at a 7! Jace & I quickly threw our food away & made our way to the 4th floor. There Kaitlynn is, asking for her phone, smiling & laughing- not even knowing she is having contractions. It’s amazing how different things were once the epidural was in place! From tears to smiles, it was great! We chatted and hung out for an hour or so, taking guesses on if baby would be a boy or girl- Zack was certain it was a boy, us girls just KNEW it was going to be a girl. Around noon, she started feeling a little more pain. By 1245, she was almost fully dilated- this girl knows how to have a baby &  wasn’t wasting any time! The nurses came in close to 1 and joked that they weren’t going to check her sugar at 1:15 because we’d be having a baby.. Sure enough, right around 1:10 Kaitlynn was pushing.

I feel like if we would have blinked, we would have missed everything- at 1:30pm, just 20 minutes after she started pushing, Oliver made his entrance- Kaitlynn announcing before anyone else could even see – “IT’S A BOY!!”

Baby boy didn’t have a name yet & wouldn’t for almost a full day because we were sure he was a girl, of course. Now that he is here, I can’t imagine any baby besides Oliver being added into the Panak family, he is absolute perfection, giving me little smirks from day one. I love this little family, the friendship I’ve gained and their 3 little babes that call me “Aunt Chelsea” more than words can explain. I can never thank Kaitlynn & Zack enough for allowing me to be apart of one of the most important days of their lives, for allowing me to capture it & for allowing me to share it with all of you.

Oliver Austin Panak’s Birth & Fresh 48