Nicole Berkley, of Aubrey, Texas, has always loved dinosaurs. And when she learned she was pregnant with her fifth child, the expecting mom wanted to stray from the usual “cute, generic” baby announcements.
With that, one word came to Berkley’s mind: dinosaurs!
“My family, we’re all pretty big Jurassic World fans … We wanted to do something that was fun and fit with our personalities. So, I came up with the idea to do dinosaur costumes with our pregnancy announcement.”
Excited, Berkley ordered four child-size T-rex costumes on Amazon and two for adults. Although her family loves dinosaurs, Berkley says they took a bit of convincing before agreeing to participate in the unique shoot.
“I wanted it to be funny and so true to our personalities. But everybody in my family thought I was crazy — my husband included,” Berkley, 28, tells PEOPLE. “They were like, ‘We’re gonna get in costumes? It’s not Halloween.’ My kids thought I was nuts.”
Still, Berkley’s husband, 26-year-old Daniel, and their four children were “troopers.” she says. The family met with Susan Garrett (of Susan Garrett Photography) on Sept. 21 and headed to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano on a rainy Texas day where they put on the costumes and posed with a sonogram of the new baby.
“People walking by were stopping and taking pictures and videos of us. It was a spectacle,” Berkley recalls. “The kids braved it and it was phenomenal. It was amazing and it turned out to be one of the funnest sessions ever. We had so much fun in these costumes.”
In the photos, the Berkleys are shown in their orange T-rex costumes, with the children’s faces poking out of the middle. Berkley and Daniel held the sonogram on a toy dinosaur egg.
She says it was fun watching her kids — Myleigh, 10, Montana, 6, Lane, 5, and 4-year-old Hannah — run around in the costumes.
Berkley recalls laughing at the photos with her family as soon as Garrett sent the finished product. The expecting mother couldn’t help but to share the photos on Facebook. The post quickly amassed hundreds of “likes” and shares.
“I was getting a lot of comments and a lot of shares from people I didn’t know so I, kind of, had an idea it was going a bit viral locally,” she tells PEOPLE. “But I never expected for it to become a national thing! I’m a little overwhelmed with how much positive feedback I’ve gotten.”
Berkley says the happy shoot provided a source of joy after she suffered a miscarriage in February. After the loss, Berkley learned in July that she is pregnant, and says she immediately put her dinosaur plan into motion.
“I was more scared than I was excited at first because once you suffer a miscarriage it’s kind of hard to get excited another pregnancy until you know everything is okay,” Berkley tells PEOPLE.
“Once I saw the ultrasound and we heard the baby’s heartbeat and the doctor said, ‘This is really happening,’ then I got really excited. We’ve always wanted to have a big family so this is really a blessing for us.”