It would be no surprise that as a birth photographer, you’d be used to being a part of highly emotional moments in people’s lives.
But the birth of little Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge left one seasoned photographer an absolute mess — and the incredible images and the story behind them have since gone viral around the globe.
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“Being a part of this incredible journey has been one of the most magical experiences,” photographer Ariel Panowicz told Yahoo.
Uma Louise was born Monday morning at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha to proud dads Matthew Eledge and Elliot Dougherty, who are married.
She was conceived via in vitro fertilization, using Eledge’s sperm and eggs from Dougherty’s sister, Lea Yribe.
And it was Eledge’s 61-year-old mother, Cecile Reynek Eledge, who served as the gestational carrier and gave birth to Uma, helping her son and son-in-law become first-time parents.
The incredible moment was captured by Panowicz, who has followed the couple’s journey right from the start.
“From witnessing the moment Matt and Elliot met to photographing their wedding, maternity photos and then the birth of their baby girl, it’s been so amazing watching their love and family grow,” she told Yahoo.
“The strength and poise that [she] demonstrated at 61 years old while giving birth was truly a sight to see. She was so calm, (literally didn’t make a peep during birth), and had the energy of a true warrior.
“When Uma finally entered the world, the room was filled with such an immense amount of love, it truly felt like it vibrated off the walls. Almost everyone was in tears,” she added.
“The look that [Cecile] gave her son and son-in-law when they locked eyes with their baby girl for the first time was enough to drain every dang tear from your body.
“Each person involved in the creation of this little girl is filled with pure love, selflessness and acceptance for one another. This is what family is.”
Eledge revealed that there were others who had offered to carry and deliver the child for the couple.
“I had a lot of people in college say they would (carry and deliver a child), but when push comes to shove, that’s a huge commitment,” he told CNN. “More than anything, we feel lucky to have women selfless enough to do this.”
The couple decided to share the powerful images online and they have been blown away by the response.
“The power of the internet is truly wild,” Panowicz told Yahoo.
“It’s amazing to see how much love and support the world has shown this unique family. People really, truly have demonstrated so much acceptance for something that is so seemingly different than what society perpetuates as a ‘normal family.’
“I think it’s a beautiful reminder to all of us just how powerful love can be. Baby Uma will be surrounded and raised by an amazing family, starting with her two dads.”
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