I had a unique opportunity to shoot the labor and birth for a wonderful local doula and her husband who were supported by an amazing midwife and a fantastic doula. Being surrounded by people who know, love, work in the birth profession and truly respect the birth process was incredible.
I arrived at the birth after nightfall and Mom was focused and determined. Her contractions were coming regularly but she was peaceful and strong and let them work their magic. Did I mention she was very determined? She was VERY determined! And 4 cm dilated.
Mom and Dad took a few walks out in the dark, hot and humid night. When they came back the second time, we could tell things had progressed. Contractions were very close together. We all sat around chatting, pausing for each contraction, picking up where we left off when the contraction subsided.
For awhile the doula acted as human back support. Watching these two work together was really beautiful.
It was getting late and Mom & Dad were tired. The doula and I left to pick up some food for everyone so the family and midwife could try to grab some sleep while they still could. We tried to stay away a bit to give everyone a chance to sleep. I think we both prepared for the possibility that this might be a long night.
We never did get to eat that food! When we got back, we were met at the door by the midwife who announced that Mom’s water just broke! We met her in the tub where she was clearly in transition. There wasn’t a plan to have her baby in the bathroom but the beauty of homebirth is that things are allowed to change quickly and a baby can be born where ever the baby needs to be born. Sometimes this changes by the minute! It keeps me on my toes
No one wants to be in labor for days but quick births have their own challenges! The intensity was out of this world but Mom was absolutely beautiful and amazing. Around the time she started feeling pushy, she moved to the toilet where it became quickly clear she would stay for the birth.
This Mama let her body do it’s thing with such incredible strength. She didn’t even need to push. She just endured while her body and baby finished the job.
Baby Eden was born peacefully and gently into her parents arms, just 3.5 hours after we arrived! She didn’t fuss or cry. She just stared happily at her parents and took it all in.
Look at these tiny fists holding onto her Mama so tight!
Meeting Daddy on the outside.
The moments after a birth are so crazy. There’s a lot of “stuff” to do – the placenta has to be birthed, tears need to be repaired, Mom needs to be fed and watered and showered, baby needs to nurse, bonding needs to happen. Then about an hour or two later, as in this picture, a calm falls over the family. Mom and Dad turn to each other and smile and embrace and celebrate as if to say “Wow. Look what we just did!” It truly is the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.
Baby Eden was the perfect patient for her newborn exam. It was preformed on her parents’ bed while they relaxed and looked on.
Baby Eden, you crack me up!
8lb 8oz! 20.5 inches!
Sweet dreams and Happy Birth Day, Eden!
As a photographer, I love how each birth offers me new ways to reach and grow technically. This was, by far, my most challenging birth in that way. The space, angle and lighting challenges were far and away from anything I’ve experienced before. But it was one of my most special births for so many reasons. Being asked to be part of this special birth team was really a huge honor. There was a point during transition when I listened to the midwife empower Mom through her fears and I teared up at the beauty and truth in her words. It was beautiful to see two doulas and friends work together so closely – I have several pictures were the doula was making the same face as Mom, unbeknownst to them both! I know I’ve said it before but I have to say it again: I love my job!
Thank you to the family for allowing me to attend and create lasting memories of this most special day in Eden’s life!