10-Year-Old Catches Newborn Baby Sister In Viral Birth Photos

Paulina Splechta has been documenting childbirth at home as a photographer for over 4 years. She had the opportunity to capture a very special moment for the Cook family in Boca Raton, Florida in 2019.

When Catherine Cook prepared to deliver her third child, she invited her 10-year-old daughter, Kayla, to be present at the birth and catch the baby. The older sister enthusiastically concurred, setting off an emotional moment that Splechta captured on camera.

Splechta said: “In the first moments when Kayla caught her baby sister ― while the midwife, Laurie Gibbons, was making sure the baby was handed safely from big sister Kayla’s hands to mom’s hands ― everyone’s hearts were very full.”

She added:  “It was the sweetest moment that took my breath away, seeing such pure love between sisters meeting for the first time.”

“I think this birth resonated with so many people because it is rare to see a child at a birth, especially actively participating in catching the baby,” Splechta said, adding that Kayla’s unguarded emotional response was incredibly moving.

“Her reaction was so profound ― a wide scale of emotions, and I believe it was very touching for people to see such authenticity and vulnerability.”

The photographer noted that Kayla was “extremely delighted” about capturing her baby sister and that she was never forced to take part in the experience. The 10-year-old left the room for one minute when heavy labor began since the mother wanted an unmedicated birth.

“Being a very empathetic young girl, Kayla became concerned with how her mom was doing,” Splechta explained.

The photographer observed that as Kayla acquired a mild attack of the flu and worried about whether she would be able to catch the baby, her father offered to help her. The 10-year-old got a boost of confidence from this plan.

“Just as baby Everly’s head started crowning, and it was time to catch her baby sister, Kayla looked several times back and forth between her baby sister’s head and her mom’s powerful face ― at times with an inquisitive expression almost as if to ensure her mom was OK and other times in total amazement, as if she was thinking what a strong woman her mom was,” Splechta recalled.

She added: “Ultimately, her various expressions turned into huge smiles and finally after her sister was on mom’s chest, she let out a cry of joyful relief.”

Due to the unplanned cesarean section that prevented Splechta from having her daughter present for the delivery of her previous kid, this birth experience was particularly moving for her.

“Ever since that experience, it was my hope to one day capture a birth story for a family who wanted their older child present at the birth of a new baby coming into their lives,” she said.

“I wanted to contribute to showing that birth is not something to be feared and hidden behind closed doors, but that birth is a beautiful celebration of meeting a new life and that it can be a family-centered experience.”

The photographer added, “Although I didn’t get to see my firstborn meeting her baby sister at my second birth, I put all of my passion into my work because I want to give other moms the gift of having these unrepeatable memories to cherish forever.”

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