Marion couple celebrates miracle pregnancy in spite of obstacles

Christa and Bronson Shipman, both serving on the front lines of the pandemic, dreamed of having a baby for a while before they were able to conceive. But they almost didn’t get to have their maternity photoshoot. Photo by Karrie Rathbone


Christa and Bronson Shipman had been trying for a while to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and they finally discovered last fall that their dream had come true. They were even more delighted to find out that they would be having a girl named Dayton when Christa gives birth in June.

However, like most couples expecting babies, some of their joy has been dampened by the outbreak of COVID-19.

Not only will Christa have to be in the delivery room alone when she gives birth, her maternity photoshoot and her shower have been canceled.

“We’ve literally felt so alone right now. My entire family, except my mom, is in Johnson county. Now they can’t see me or celebrate with us. I’ve waited 11 years to have a baby shower because I never got one with Clayton (her son from a previous relationship) and now I got Dayton’s taken from me,” said Christa. “I’ve also waited for a maternity photoshoot and now I can’t have one with Dayton.”

On top of it all, Bronson is in the military and Christa is a nurse so they are both on the front lines dealing with the virus which causes them to feel even more isolated.

“It feels like it’s just him and I alone in this. Which is okay because it’s our baby, not anybody else’s. But people don’t even want to be around us because we still have to go to Fort Riley and to these hospitals. I still have to go to the hospitals here and encounter very sick patients with who knows what. So it feels like we’re treated like the plague,” said Christa.

Thanks to a project called the #frontstepsproject that a few local photographers were doing, Christa was able to get the photoshoot she had been dreaming of. The global wide project consists of photographers staying at a safe social distance and taking pictures of families and roommates on their porches, front steps or lawns.

Hillsboro photographer Karrie Rathbone decided to do the maternity photos that the Shipmans deserved.

“It was such an honor to do this for them,” said Rathbone.

Not only are they expecting their first baby together, but Bronson will be leaving in October for a one-year deployment.

“I told Bronson, all I want is ONE picture of us while I’m pregnant before he deploys,” said Christa. “She was so nice and I appreciate the pictures so much. I’m literally in tears. This pandemic has taken a lot from us in regards to this baby, but thank goodness we got to have this moment. I can’t wait to see how they turned out!”