As a former labor and delivery nurse, I have seen my fair share of moms coming in hot off the elevator about to deliver a baby. But none of them can quite compare to Jes Hogan, 31, a new mom who recently made it to the hospital just in the nick of time.
Hogan delivered her sixth baby, a son named Maxwell, right in the hallway of a Kansas emergency room last summer. And in a series of incredible photos captured by Tammy Karin of Little Leapling Photography that are now going viral, we’re all able to join along for the excitement-filled ride.
Maxwell’s birth story, which was later shared on Karin’s website, explains exactly how Hogan came to deliver in the hospital hallway — and just how many coincidences there were along the way. According to the birth story, Hogan had gone into the hospital for some contractions early in the day on July 19, 2017. After it appeared her labor had stalled, she and her husband Travis, 32, headed home to try to get things moving again. Finally turning into bed around 2 AM, Hogan was awoken about an hour later by what she described as a “strange, long contraction.”
She immediately woke Travis, and as she asked him to help her out of bed, her water broke. By the time she had made it to the bathroom, Hogan realized that she had a very real chance of giving birth at home. And as her contractions hit harder and harder, Travis sprang into action, helping his wife into a pair of underwear and sweatpants, waking his mother up to care for their other kids, loading up the bags, and pulling the car to the front door.
“His level of preparedness and the calm he had is something I’m still in awe of,” Hogan wrote in her birth story post. As she climbed into the passenger side of the car on all fours, she continued to labor while texting Karin, the couple’s birth photographer, that they were on their way to the hospital. Once they got there, Travis sprinted into the ER for help while Hogan tried to maneuver her way out of the car. It was at that moment that she saw someone running across the parking lot and much to her relief, realized it was Karin.
“I was so glad she was there and felt so much more at ease knowing I wasn’t alone in the parking area,” Hogan tells Babble.
Karin was able to help the mom-to-be into the hospital, but as the pair made their way through the doors, the baby couldn’t wait any longer — Hogan began to give birth, and as Travis stepped in to take over, Karin switched modes, firing up her camera to do the job she was hired to do. She was able to capture the incredible moment that Travis alone delivered his son’s head and then was assisted as Linda, a relief ER nurse who just so happened to also be an OB nurse at another hospital, came around the corner to complete the delivery.
“The pictures adequately prove that the nurses had no time to move her,” Karin notes. “They were calm, gentle, thorough, and did an amazing job of allowing mom and baby immediate bonding time before moving them.”
Karin shared the incredible photos both on her website and photography Facebook page and explains that although she’s not surprised her photos have received attention, she did not expect quite the reaction they have received.
“This was an exciting and absolutely beautiful birth to capture,” she describes. “The thing I love most about birth photography is that I get to capture moms at their absolute strongest and most beautiful and I get to capture dads when they are most in love. This birth was a perfect example of that!”
Both Hogan and Karin hope that all of the photos of Max’s birth help spread awareness about how birth is something beautiful that deserves to be celebrated.
“I know my story is nothing special,” says Hogan. “Women do this every day and don’t get any fanfare. I hope that it will inspire people to view birth as an empowering moment instead of something to be feared. I also hope that it will maybe encourage them to photo document their birth because these are the moments that make you into the person you are as a mother. I will cherish these images for the rest of my life.”
To add to the impressiveness of this birth story, the Hogans are a military family and although Travis is now deployed, his wife tells Babble that everyone in their family is healthy and happy, and that her husband was excited to play such an important role in the birth of his son.
“He later told [me], ‘It wasn’t as gross as I thought it would be,’” Hogan says. “He is easily the most supportive person in the world even when he is deployed.”