Brooke was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 at the young age of 26. Her new husband, family, and surrounding community watched her go through chemo, lose her hair, and a double mastectomy. She is a now a breast cancer survivor, but her doctors told her pregnancy wasn’t in the cards. After all the chemicals and medicine saved her life, she wasn’t supposed to be able to make LIFE. Brooke is strength, a mighty force to be reckoned with, with all the passion in the world for her new title, M O M. Today she is #NED, which means No Evidence of Disease.
This is the birth story of George, the cancer survivor’s miracle baby.
Location: Kaiser Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro, Oregon
Doula: Doula Kendelle
Photographer: Myself, Meg – Meg Ross Photography
Shared with love and permission by the family.
Brooke started to have some contractions on September 23 and kept me in the loop as she went in to get checked. The feeling was picking up and she was sure she was in labor. I had her give me the doula’s phone number so that I could communicate with her instead and give B the space to labor freely without feeling like she needed to update.
After being there for several hours, much to her disappointment, they sent her home. The contractions did not stop and she stayed in a stage of early labor through the night and the next day. Again on September 24, she decided to head back to Labor and Delivery to be checked out, this time I talked to Doula Kendelle to get the who? what? where? on stage of labor.
You know Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony? I’m sure you do. The one that goes, “Dun dun dun duuuuuuuuuuun.” Well, that’s my louder-than-loud birth ringtone. I sit straight up in bed at 3:00am as Kendelle calls me in. The hospital is only 15 minutes away and I enter the room at 3:30am to Brooke and her support team riding some contraction waves.
Brooke in this moment is unaware of how ironic the name balance bar is. The “balance” of catching up with contractions can feel both like an avalanche or an uphill climb. You’re reaching and reaching and it’s exhausting and as soon as it’s over and you get a breath it is starting all over again.
Tim, you are new to birth, and your eyes are wide with worry because your wife is in pain, and you’re exhausted because you haven’t really slept in 3 days. But you hold her hands like you’re the only rock she can hold onto in her stormy ocean.
You know that L&D might be slow for the night if the same crew of nurses hang out in the room to cheer you on and show their support in little ways like staying on the floor with a flashlight to do a little look-e-loo at your cervix 🙌
Doula Kendelle – Helping you get a leg up in labor! 😂 Yes, I may have suggested that this be her new business tagline…
In all seriousness – Kendelle is the first Oregon birth doula I’ve had the awesome incredible opportunity to share birth space with, and I’d jump at the chance to do it again.
what made her beautiful
was not her appearance
or what she achieved,
but in her love
and in her courage,
and her audacity
no matter the darkness
Light ran wild
and that was the way
she came alive,
and it showed up
Watching all of these hands move in readied unison to greet this babe is the closest to magic that I’ll ever see.
Meeting you was like
listening to a song
for the first time
and knowing it
would be my
“Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it.” #mikemyers
Tim is already wrapped around little George’s finger. I can see in the pride on his face that he wants to be the best man he can for his son.
Brooke, do not be afraid of what is new. It will challenge you, but it will also prepare you for the depths you have been called to.
M O T H E R H O O D.
Words by one of my favorite obsession inspirations @morganharpernichols
Because of Brooke’s previous cancer treatments and double mastectomy, Brooke and Tim turned to other generous families who donated colostrum and milk so that George could still benefit from all that liquid gold. In this birth story, with the help of a syringe, Tim is the first one to feed his son 💙
George, it was so nice to greet you and welcome you earthside.
. . . and that was the story of the labor and birth of the cancer survivor’s miracle baby.
Looking to have your birth documented?
Meg is a published birth photographer and doula (in training) supporting families and birthing persons in the Portland metro area including Beaverton and Hillsboro.
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