Child loss 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 miscarriage, according to the Mayo Clinic, and that just accounts for those women who knew they were pregnant before miscarrying.
For that reason, having a child after an earlier loss 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 fertility struggles and several miscarriages. 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 loss of a pregnancy. In the Madden family’s case, the new parents (who had undergone several rounds of fertility treatments in their attempts to conceive) previously suffered two early-term miscarriages and one later-term loss 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 slowly 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.
Read Hunter’s memory of holding his daughter for the first time on Redbook.