(NEW YORK) — Nevaeh Atkins was going to be born soon enough. She just wanted a helping hand, evidently.
And she got one from her doctor, as seen in a photo snapped on Oct. 9 by her father just before her birth via C-section.
In the photo, Nevaeh grips Dr. Allan Sawyer’s hand even before emerging from her mother’s womb.
“I just thought right away that it was a beautiful, amazing photo that I had never seen before,” Nevaeh’s mother, Alicia Atkins, told ABC News. “I knew it was special right away.”
“When my doctor broke my water, the doctor told my husband, ‘Hey, she’s holding my finger,’” Alicia said. ”He had my camera, and so they were able to capture the moment of her holding his hand.”
The Phoenix-area mom of three first saw the photo on Oct. 10, but she had her assessment of its specialness affirmed after she posted it Dec. 26 on the Facebook page of her Glendale, Ariz., photography company, A Classic Pin-Up, and drew the attention of ABC News affiliate KNXV-TV and other local media.
The picture is only emerging now because Alicia kept it under wraps for weeks after the birth as she enlarged it to give as a gift to Dr. Sawyer. She wanted him to see it first, and wanted him to see it big.
“I’ve never captured that picture before,” Sawyer told KNXV. “It’s really rare.”
“We actually weren’t going to put a copy of the photo in our house because we didn’t know the reaction of people, whether it was too graphic or not,” Alicia told ABC News.
But after all the coverage the picture attracted, she said, she and her husband changed their minds. Now, Nevaeh (or “heaven” spelled backward) will grow up with it.
“We decided to put the photo in her room,” Alicia said, “so that she’ll always know how special it was.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio