I'm Andrea, a certified professional photographer, & I️ help families celebrate the births of their children
Portrait of Andrea Hartstein, Certified Professional photographer
Hi! I'm Andrea.
"It was a starry, starry night one warm early Monday in August...."
That's how my mom always started the story when she'd tell me about the day I was born. They stopped at the ATM before going to the hospital because they thought they'd need money to pay for the birth before they could have me. I believe my dad dropped my mom off before finding a place to park. Her laboring at Butterworth Hospital was pretty quick - maybe two and a half hours? I remember her telling me that she was nervous he wouldn't get back from parking the car in time. And once I was born, my big sister met me. And she said, "that's MY baby". This is where the story usually ended because my sister would chime in and say something like, "well, I don't feel that way anymore!!"
I have one picture from the day I was born.
It's just of me. It's not of my mom and dad, who had me. It's not with any of the nurses or the Dr who delivered me. It's not with my adoring, big sister. It's not with my grandparents who came to visit me in the hospital. It's just of me.
I have to imagine the rest.
It took us four years to conceive our daughter, Abigail. Oh, how I wanted her. I've prayed for her since I was in my late teens. Not necessarily to HAVE her, but I prayed for her future. I prayed that she would be healthy and strong. I prayed that she would make wise choices. I prayed that she would know love and that she would know how cherished she would be.
Once we finally found out we were pregnant with Abigail - I cherished every moment of it! Because, really, who knows if she might be the only baby I ever have? My labor story is that I was induced two days early, to expel the fear of pre-eclampsia. I labored for 30+ hours. I only made it to 4cm. The anesthesiologist who administered my epidural visited my room 5 times, which was 3 times more than how often he'd ever visited one patient before. They tried a spinal. Nothing worked. When they decided we were going in for a C-section, I distinctly remember the Dr pricking my leg and asking me if I could feel anything. Um... yes! I could feel everything. The last thing I remember is hearing the anesthesiologist say they were going to be knocking me out. So when my daughter was born at 1:37 in the morning on the first hot day of the year of 2010 in April, I was unconscious and my husband wasn't allowed in the room.
Our first picture of her was taken by a nurse in the hallway. Thankfully I had my camera with me at the hospital and I snapped away while in my hospital bed recovering -- I got pictures of her with her daddy and with most everyone who came to visit. While I'm glad I caught those moments in the hospital, I feel something sad when I think about the day she was born. I have no memory of her first breaths. I have no pictures to show me what it was like when we ceased to be one and finally became two. There are no pictures of us holding our baby together for the first time because I was always on that side of the camera.
And really, that's where it all began for me. That's when I️ started to dream about birth photography.
- Andrea Hartstein, Certified Professional Photographer
Professional Photographers of America
International Association of Birth Photographers
Photographers of Northern Indiana
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation
Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) with Professional Photographers of America
Serving Michiana, US
I currently use a room at the Heritage Meeting House in Mishawaka while I'm waiting for my home studio to be ready