The birth of a child is a momentous and emotional occasion all on its own, but for some families, extenuating circumstances make a childbirth story tug on your heartstrings a little more. Whether it’s a rainbow baby’s miraculous birth or a parent fighting cancer, all of these stories are completely heartwarming in one way or another.
Thanks to the birth photographers who captured the precious moments and the parents’ stories being shared, we were able to round up some of the sweetest births we could find. Scroll through to read them all and share in the joyous occasions with the families.
The C-section birth for this blended family
For Charné and her husband, this pregnancy was a gift — after experiencing loss, Lily would be the first child for the couple and would be joining their beautiful blended family. Photographer Marysol Blomerus wanted to be sure to capture everything so Charné wouldn’t feel like she missed out on anything while she was in recovery.
The mom who took her own birth photos
Mom and photographer Lauren Chenault opted against having someone take photos while she was in labor and instead did all the work herself like a total badass. In the throes of labor, Chenault balanced her camera on her belly and snapped as many photos as she could of Kai Arthur’s birth.
The army dad who made it to the hospital just in time
Army Sergeant Zach Shryock and his wife knew that Zach would likely miss the birth of his first child due to a deployment in Afghanistan that was set to return him home to Atlanta a month after Brittany’s due date. However, Zack was able to return home early and made it just in time to see his daughter be born.
The extraspecial rainbow baby birth
Liam was a rainbow baby, and his birth was an extraspecial moment for his mom and dad, Erikah and Luke. Eighteen months before Liam was born, Erikah gave birth to a stillborn baby girl named Ailene and shared that baby Liam was “proof that there is life after loss.”
Jillian Harris’s superrelatable birth story
Former Bachelorette star Jillian Harris’s birth of her son, Leo, was stressful, unpredictable, and emotional. After having a false alarm with her labor, Jillian called the real deal “textbook” until her contractions worsened and she nearly had to have a C-section. While it didn’t come down to that, it did take an hour of pushing before baby Leo showed up.
The stunning home water birth
Mom Jynessa welcomed her fourth child, daughter Scout, in a small pool in her home, just how she wanted. After going into labor earlier than she expected, this mom was able to have a natural delivery surrounded by her family and her birthing team.
The mom who breastfed during delivery
Mom Amiah was in labor in a pool with her second child, a daughter, when her 2-year-old son simply got into the water with her and latched on to breastfeed. Amiah’s birth photographer, Melissa Benzel, said, “She put all of her aches and pains aside in order to be their mom. What an incredible example of what parenting should be all about!”
The mom who gave birth in a car
Before pregnant mom of two Paula D’Amore found herself delivering her baby in the back seat of the family jeep, she had been laboring at home until it got to the point where she knew it was time to go to the hospital. They pulled up outside the hospital but didn’t actually make it inside for the birth. The doula helped Paula while she was still in the car, the dad, Joe, held the baby’s head as she crowned, Paula kept pushing, and the nursing staff that ran out of the hospital all knew exactly what to do.
The mom who experienced infertility for years
After five years of infertility, Lauren and Jake adopted their eldest child, only to find out months later that they were finally pregnant. As with the rest of their story, the delivery quickly took an unexpected route as a routine epidural didn’t take, and Lauren was forced to have a natural birth, which she did like a champ.
The dad fighting brain cancer in the ICU
Just three weeks before his fiancé, Jessica Li, was due to give birth to their first child, Cagney Wenk was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. When Jessica went into labor with baby Levon, Cagney was moved from the ICU — complete with all of his medical equipment and nurses — to the labor and delivery ward in order to be an active part of his child’s birth.
The baby born into his dad’s waiting hands
Birth photographer Jaydene Freund of Cradled Creations captured this sweet moment of baby Theodore being born into his dad’s hands. The photo is included in a full video of baby Theodore’s birth story, an unmedicated and natural birth that elicited deep emotions from Mom, Dad, and loved ones in the delivery room.
The mom who was battling breast cancer
After being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer halfway through her pregnancy, this mom had to endure chemo and then a mastectomy before miraculously giving birth to a baby boy. Photographer Kate Murray captured the moment this strong mom not only held her son for the first time but miraculously nursed him on her remaining breast.
The miracle baby born after a devastating loss
Almost a year to the day after losing baby Lily 34 minutes after her birth, Kristen Ward welcomed a healthy baby in the same hospital, with the same doctor and much of the same medical staff. Unlike with Lily, where Kristen had a difficult time pushing, baby Harper — all 8 pounds and 6 ounces of her — came out in just one push, to the delight of her new family, especially older brother Cooper.