I want to blog this little guy’s birth pictures before he turns one, and that’s happening very soon. Births are hard for me to blog. There’s so much I want to write, and I can’t find the words. There are memories and details I want to preserve, but I don’t want to turn it into my story. It’s the family’s story. So I will share a some things that feel important to me, and I hope you will click here to read the birth story that Oliver’s mama posted on her blog.
At every birth, I notice and appreciate that things work out the way they’re meant to. I knew from this mom’s first e-mail that I wanted to photograph her baby’s birth. On what turned out to be the day of Oliver’s birth, I had an extended family photo shoot scheduled two hours away from the birth location. I also had an event booked for the following day. I had a great back up photographer set for both shoots, but I was still feeling nervous. I wanted to be there for all of my clients, and even though Oliver’s mom was just over 38 weeks, I was feeling uneasy. That morning, because there was rain in the forecast, the extended family client and I decided to reschedule. And that evening when I was headed to the birth in the pouring rain, I felt so grateful for the way things had worked out. I was also thankful that Oliver came in time for me to photograph the other event the following day. Being on call for up to a month can be stressful, and this birth is my reminder to trust time.
I also have learned from photographing births to trust my intuition about when I need to arrive. For this birth, mom’s water had broken, but labor seemed to be progressing slowly. When I arrived, she was still in what appeared to be early labor. But my intuition said I needed to be there. Had I waited for a call later that night, I wouldn’t have made it, because baby came so suddenly (see picture of midwife putting her gloves on while running to the birth pool). That moment happened about 1 minute after the lights were turned on. Very cool, since I had been saying affirmations about lighting during my drive there. 🙂
So here is the story of this Oliver’s birth, in pictures, and I hope you will read more about his mom’s experience on her blog. I have shared this excerpt from her post with several people, because I think it’s really important for anyone considering hiring a birth photographer.
“I love the rise of sharing peaceful birth stories, stunning pictures, and strong birth videos. It is often recommended that as you prepare for a natural birth, you surround yourself with these as inspiration. It is powerful to see over and over again that birth is normal and women are strong. At the same time, it can be easy to set yourself up with expectations of how birth should look. There is no right or wrong way to birth. After my first natural birth, I apologized to everyone in the room repeatedly immediately following the birth. I felt like I had done it wrong. I had felt like I was failing. Transition hit, and I wanted to die. It was hard to shake that feeling. I didn’t have some beautiful ecstatic grin on my face as I met my baby. I was in shock. The same thing happened this time even with an entirely different set of circumstances. I love birth stories and birth photography as a way to chronicle our unique journeys, show the beauty of all birth in its raw power, and to own our stories and experiences, but I am also reminded of the danger of comparison and the contrast of other people’s highlight reels with our real life. I know my experience speaks to my personal gremlins of not good enough, but I also know I’m not the only one so I wanted to share all of my story, the birth in all its chaos and beauty and my honest processing of it.”
The midwife here is Jessica Lawlor. When you think “I want a midwife for my pregnancy and delivery,” you are probably imagining a personality and demeanor like hers. This was my second birth with her and she is amazing. If I have a homebirth someday, she will be on my short list of possible midwives. And that list will be so hard to choose from! Midwives are such cool people.
If you haven’t seen it already, check out the pictures from when I went back to see this family. I get to see them again next month, and hopefully it won’t take me 11 months to blog those pictures. 😉