By now, I’m pretty sure that most, if not all of you know just how much I love photographing all things baby! I have recently added birth photography to my specialty services and I am absolutely loving it! For those of you who didn’t know that birth photography was a thing; you’re not alone! A couple of years ago, when a client mentioned it to me as something I should check into, I almost gasped. Not only had I never experienced birth myself, I had never even thought that someone would want to have photos of such an intimate and vulnerable time. Boy was I wrong! There’s some amazing mothers out there who know exactly what a sacred experience birth is, and they want every moment of it captured.
My first birth was about 2 years ago-and then a few months after that I photographed my first home birth. These two very different experiences helped me to see that not only would I not faint while capturing a new life brought into this world; but that I would soon come to absolutely love being a part of the process! I recently partnered with a local birthing center and was so blessed to be able to be a part of this most recent birth. Mom has quite a beautiful story about her first birth experience and why she chose to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) in the most natural way. I’ll share my experience of that day, but first I want to share mom’s experience in her own words…
“When I pictured birth for the first time, I envisioned a quiet space with just Mitch and I as we brought a new soul into this world. He would be my only support, and I would use all of the breathing exercises, meditations, and positions that I had read about. Of course, this romantic vision of birth didn’t happen. My son had flipped head down, and the hospital we were at, like most hospitals, gasped at the idea of a breech birth. A cesarean became our only option for a safe and healthy baby and mama. While I was absolutely in love with this beautiful new human, I was heartbroken at the loss of my process.
As I began my journey with my second son, I still had an attachment to this natural birth. I longed for the process, for the ability to try, and to show that I, and my body, could do it. The vision changed quite a bit along the way. VBAC’s tend to come with a few more precautions, and contingencies. My main goal was to stay out of the hospital, but instead I managed to find so much more than I ever could have expected.
I found this collective of women supporting women, this village of women who truly love and care for others. I felt so supported, nurtured, and connected. I have been searching for the words to describe the feelings of this magical day, and they are still floating around me most days, but for now I can say that I am overflowing with gratitude and love for all of these women!”
Erika was an absolute rock star in the birthing room, as I’m sure she is in life as well! At one point, she threw her hand up in acknowledgment of being just that! Her 2-year old would come in to comfort and encourage her every so often, and dad was there with her the entire time. But the connection that I was enamored with was that between mom and her doula; Jasmine. I was able to capture a few of those intense moments-but if any of you are wondering why you would want a doula for your birth, you need to experience it for yourself. She was absolutely 100% there for mom-who took full advantage of that. I can’t even begin to fathom the pain that a mother experiences during natural child birth, but that pain seemed to be minimized by the concentrated efforts of this birth crew.
I was impressed by the entire birth experience that was provided during the 5 hours that I was included in. When I arrived, mom was in great hands and went from using the ball, the bed, the ground, the bathtub, then eventually back to the bed where she remained the rest of the process. And though she was at a birthing center in the care of a licensed midwife and several other qualified technicians, she seemed to have every comfort of home. The room was dark, and music was playing in the background. Shoes were removed before entering the room, and voices were muffled to give her the most calm experience she could have and concentrate on her main task: bringing life into the world. Complete and utter joy was seen on the faces of mom and dad when they welcomed their brand new baby boy into the world!
Words can’t describe the beauty experienced in witnessing the entire process from labor pains to the actual moment you hear that first cry; but my hope is that photos will help to better express that. When I delivered the photos of the birth to mom, she said that it brought her back to that day-and the emotions and tears welled up all over again. That is why I love what I do so much. I get to meet amazing people who allow me in to their personal moments in life in order to preserve those memories forever. It may not have been in God’s plan to give me children of my own, but I am so blessed to be able to be a part of so many new little lives in so many different ways! Thank you to each and every one of you who welcome me into your birthing rooms, homes, families, special events, and lives. You make my heart full.