Just an hour after this birth my own labor started...
Birth is one of the rare things in life that you can't schedule, you have no control over when it starts and how long it lasts. It's both exciting and anxiety-producing. That's why the life of being on call as a birth photographer can be so challenging!
THIS is what I was doing just hours before my own labor started. These are my last photos of being pregnant.
Four of the women in this room were pregnant - talk about powerful female hormones! I think that was a big reason as to what triggered the start of my labor, because hormones are powerful and this second labor was a full month earlier than my labor with my first son.
Fast Forward Two Weeks Later...
Two weeks after my baby was born, another of my mama's labor started. Thankfully she was so gracious and willing to let me bring my new baby to her birth. I was thankful it was a home birth so that I would feel comfortable tending to his needs while I also tended to her needs and documented her journey through labor.
When I arrived at the home my baby was making lots of grunting and cooing sounds and I worried that it would disrupt her concentration but between contractions she said how lovely it was to hear that little voice and have a reminder of the end result of all this hard work she was doing.
For me this birth was something special...not only was it my first birth after delivering my own baby, but it was the birth of a dear friend, and a birth where I got to step in as doula many times, including the moment when the baby was born! When you hire me as your photographer I consider myself a part of your birth team, and while documenting your experience is my priority, I often find myself helping in many ways that go beyond using my camera. When this dad had to use the bathroom (as happens over the course of many hours!), the mama had an intense contraction and needed someone for grounding. I was nursing at the moment but quickly moved to the pool so that she could grab my available hand. It was clear that she needed another hand to grab onto so I offered the only appendage I had available - my knee. When the dad got out of the bathroom he grabbed this photo on his iphone. It's so fun for me to have pictures of myself in action at births!
This birth was also unique because the mama needed an extra set of hands to press on her hips during the final contractions as she pushed her baby out. I've often stepped in for a moment or two at a birth to apply pressure or relieve a partner or doula, but never while the baby is being born! I tried to grab my camera to turn on the video function and have it running at the same time but she said "I don't even care about photos right now! I need you on my hips!" So that is where I stayed until baby came out and then I quickly grabbed my camera and photographed the first moments afterward.