Child ʟᴏss is something that no parent should ever have to experience. Unfortunately, it’s quite common – between 10 and 20 percent of all pregnancies end in ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇ, according to the Mayo Clinic, and that just accounts for those women who knew they were pregnant before ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀʏɪɴɢ.
For that reason, having a child after an earlier ʟᴏss takes on an entirely different level of poignancy. That’s the experience one couple, Hunter and Hope Madden, had when they recently celebrated the birth of their daughter after prolonged ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ struggles and several ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇs. The Maddens’ birth photos are making waves on the internet for the sheer depth of their emotional intensity – just try not to tear up while looking at these beautiful portraits.
According to TODAY, baby Evelyn was born on March 11 and is the couple’s “rainbow baby,” a child born to a couple after the ʟᴏss of a pregnancy. In the Madden family’s case, the new parents (who had undergone several rounds of ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛs in their attempts to ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇɪᴠᴇ) previously suffered two early-term ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇs and one later-term ʟᴏss when a sonogram of their son, Owen, revealed that he had no heartbeat.
Hunter Madden spoke about the anxiety the couple had experienced leading up to Evelyn’s birth, with every doctor’s visit rife with “fear and cautious optimism” about the pregnancy making it to term. Hope echoed his thoughts: “We were very much prepared for the worst […] And I think my entire pregnancy was that way. We just kept waiting for the floor to fall out from underneath us every second.”
The joy and relief of finally meeting their baby girl, born alive and healthy, is palpable in all of the images of Evelyn’s birth, captured by Austin, Texas-based birth photographer Leilani Rogers. One portrait, of Hunter holding his baby girl to his bare chest and breaking down in tears, is particularly stirring. In the photo, Hunter’s tribute tattoo for his son – a tree with an anchor at the bottom – is visible as he holds his baby close.
“I will never forget catching her as she was being born and the immediate, unconditional love I felt for her. That’s what you’re seeing in those pictures, my love for Hope and our daughter,” Hunter told TODAY. “I could not believe I was allowed to hold something so perfect and I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving for finally getting to be a father.”