Danica Donnelly: Colorado Springs Birth Photographer
An expert in maternity, birth and newborn photography.

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Photographing pregnancies, births, newborns, families and the postpartum period in the Colorado Springs area, Danica seeks to help your children feel safe, loved and connected in your family. She blogs about pregnancy, preparing for your birth, postpartum care, simplicity parenting, minimalism parenting, peaceful parenting, and how to have happy children.

Finley's home birth story born in the water

denver home birth water birth

The day before Finley was born I went on an adventure with my 3 year old to find plants for our garden. We found the perfect blueberry plant and two beautiful yellow azaleas. The plan was to plant them in the morning.

That night as my husband and I sang songs, read books and kissed Emy goodnight I felt my heart skip with a mix of excitement and sadness that this may be our last goodnight just the three of us. I woke at 1:30a.m. to my water leaking. Mild contractions followed until 6:05a.m. when I texted our midwife. I forgot we were told, “Call, don’t text.” Oops.

I called my mom and asked her to come and watch Emy, then got up to shower and eat which ended up taking much longer than expected. Who knew taking breaks for contractions could cause me to take a 2 hour shower instead of a 15 minute shower?! At 7a.m. Josh called our midwife Aly. Aly said let’s see how the hour goes but if you need me sooner call again. Josh called back 20 minutes later and Aly arrived at 8:10a.m.


The first thing Aly said when she arrived was let’s get this tub filled. We had had the tub in our room for the past couple weeks waiting for this day. As Aly and Josh buzzed around I sat on our yoga ball gently bouncing through contractions growing in intensity. Today is the day I thought. Today we will meet our long awaited love, our rainbow baby.

While filling the tub we realized there were consequences for my lengthy shower…no hot water. Oops again.  Every burner on the stove was turned on. Pots, crock pots, electric kettles were heated and one by one dumped into the tub. Emy woke from bed and I remember hearing her little feet running down the hallway. Josh says that the look on her face as she rounded the corner in our hallway was precious, she knew today was the day.

I had purchased some toys for the birth day and she knew she could only play with them on that day. I heard her ask Gigi (my mom) if she could do the “sponge thingys” and I couldn’t help but smile.

Josh brought Emy into our room to say good morning to me. It was so sweet to give her hugs and kisses and tell her, her brother or sister was coming today. The contractions started coming on top of each other and Aly encouraged me to try to go to the bathroom.  I got in the tub and the contractions quickly grew to a point where I was not sure how long I could sustain. I thought back to my first-born and how this just seemed to be so much more intense.

I remember feeling a little hand on my hand and when a contraction passed, I raised my head to see Emy sweetly touching my hand. I lifted my other hand from the water to touch hers and say thank you to which she responded; “Now my hand is wet.” I smiled and said,”Oh, sorry. “ ☺ I was so thankful she was there. I wanted her to know she was just as much a part of this as my husband and I.

When I heard one of the midwives say, reach down and touch your baby I thought, wait, what, already?! I knew the contractions were feeling very intense and on top of each other but I didn’t realize I was pushing! The midwives then encouraged me to push and I felt a mix of thankfulness that the pain could soon pass and disbelief that it was happening so quickly. As I pushed I was also feeling like someone was tugging on me. It was hard to push and feel the tug at the same time.

I was being asked to pretend I was taking the biggest poop of my life and as I tried I felt my lack of strength creeping in. I was not sure I had the strength anymore to push as hard as I was wanted to. I then thought, you’ve got this. You push and all this will be over, you will see your love’s face and hold their sweet little body, you will find out if it’s a boy or girl. Shortly after Finley was raised up into my arms and I just couldn’t believe it. We had a baby!

After nine months, the aches and pains, the kicks and shrinking wardrobe all of those things maybe I had not allowed to fully sink in. We were having a baby and I would be able to hold and kiss them and love them as long as I am on this earth. The moment Finley was placed in my arms it sank in.

Someone called out boy. Whoa! We have a son! We don’t know what his name will be yet! We had a girl name but hadn’t landed on a boy name. I held Finley in the tub imagining life with a boy, how would it be different than a girl?

The placenta came shortly after and we transitioned to our bed. I was just in awe of this little person who had moments before been inside my body and now was fully formed moving and breathing in my arms. Incredible. It was so fun to see the excitement in Emy’s eyes when she saw the baby. “My baby!” she would say.

Josh was given scissors to cut the cord and he lifted up Finley’s leg to make sure he was only cutting what was necessary. “This isn’t a boy.” He said. “What?!” I said. “This is a girl!” he replied. Everyone in the room was just as surprised as us. We didn’t bother to check after someone called out boy. What a sweet surprise. We were so excited either way but Emy was rooting for a sister.

The rest of the day was a blissful blur of weight checks and nursing and watching Emy like a comedy act run around excitedly bringing all her favorites to her sister to comfort her when she cried. Our bed was filled with Emy’s stuffed animals, blankets, pillow and “sponge thingys” ☺.  I found one little lightning bolt sponge on my lap and we had a good laugh at its appropriate placement considering how that area felt earlier that day.

As Josh and I enjoyed skin to skin with Finley, Emy wanted in too and unzipped her pajamas, climbed into our bed and assumed the position for holding her sister.

It was so precious to watch Emy readily welcome this new life into our home. We all snuggled and a deep sense of satisfaction and love settled in my soul. Finley is here.