When Jackie Kunzelman, a medical student from Arizona, planned her maternity photo shoot, she knew she was cutting it close to her due date. Not only did she have a busy schedule, but her must-have maternity photo dress was delayed.
Her original plan was to do an “atmospheric maternity photos” in the desert near her home. Her new baby had other plans.
According to Business Insider, when her hands and feet became swollen in week 36, her doctor recommended she get to the hospital. Kunzelman was diagnosed with preeclampsia, and her doctor recommended inducing labor – ideally delaying the delivery until the 37th week of pregnancy.
“[My OB] wanted the baby to be considered term,” Kunzelman told Business Insider. Kunzelman was given steroid shots to help her son’s lungs develop and was closely monitored for a few days before an induction was scheduled for midnight on October 11.
The new mom said she felt “overwhelmed and scared” as the delivery drew closer. “I wrote on my Instagram story that I hoped everything would be OK,” she said. And then, as if right on cue, her mom texted to tell her that her dress – THE dress – had arrived.
Her mom – who, along with Kunzelman’s sister, Lexi Pratt, is a professional photographer – suggested they do the photo shoot at the hospital. Kunzelman’s squad came to the rescue, with family members doing her hair and nails and helping her into that worth-the-wait dress. Her husband, Nic, helped with lighting.
“We trooped past the nurse’s station with all this gear,” Pratt told Business Insider. “We thought that it would be better to ask forgiveness than permission.”
Clad in an ethereal pink dress and practically glowing, Kunzelman took photos in the bathroom and on the hospital bed – all in just 10 minutes.
“I had an IV on my arm that we somehow taped under the fabric,” she said. “Looking back, I’ve got no clue how we did it.”
Kunzelman’s sister shared a video of the maternity photo shoot on TikTok, which went viral and has more than 1.3 million likes.
“Some of the comments on TikTok were from pregnant women who said they’d like to do the same thing,” Kunzelman told Insider. “Given the circumstance, I wouldn’t recommend it — but it was pretty cool.”
Cool is a bit of an understatement. As Kunzelman’s sister wrote on TikTok, “textbook definition of ‘iconic’” is more like it.