If you were asked, “What are you passionate about, what makes your heart sing?”, what would you say? I posed this question on my Facebook page and some of the answers I got were: my kids, family, helping others, creating, travel, nature, making people feel loved and worthy, taking a walk and getting creative (ok, I *may have some artist friends on my FB list 😉 ).
For me, the answer to that question is easy; childbirth. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love babies…but beyond that, how much I admire women and the entire pregnancy and childbirth process. Raw, powerful, vulnerable, deep, transforming, emotional, painful, beautiful, scary, empowering, euphoric, miraculous, joyous…these are just some of the words I would use to describe the birth process. My second passion is quite obviously, photography. It only makes sense to me that I would combine the two and share your personal birth stories in a documented, emotional way. I have 3 children, each one with a different birth story, and what I would give now to have images from those stories. Why? Why birth photography? Because there is nothing else in this world like childbirth. That day you welcome your child Earth-side is every bit as emotional as any other major life changing moment. Remember your wedding day? Remember how important it was for you to have all of those moments documented? Because memories fade with time, especially birth memories. Because what I do is not just snapshots, it is emotionally connected art for you to treasure for a lifetime.
“I was in labor for 43 hours. Pushed for five hours. It was brutal and scary and prolonged, and if I was in a hospital, they would have definitely cut the baby out of me. I thank the goddesses that I was at home with patient midwives who knew how to go the distance. The memory of pain always recedes. The memory of triumph does not.” ~Ani Difranco
I am thrilled to be adding birth documentation to my photography repertoire. I was ecstatic when I received a message from Liz in reference this post and her and her wife’s desire to document their son’s birth.
What an honor it is for me to share this birth story with you all. This is a story about a perfect rainbow baby, born to two amazingly loving moms. I met Liz and Jessica just a week before their son was due. We spent almost two hours talking that day, and I could have spent all day with them listening to their story and soaking up all of their love for each other and for their soon-to-be born son. They told me about their path, about all that they had to endure to even get pregnant. During the many attempts to get pregnant, they experienced a pregnancy loss. Then finally after many tries to fertilize an egg, they finally decided on IVF, and after months of Liz preparing her body with shots and pills, she finally became pregnant again! They were ecstatic, but at 12 weeks, Liz learned that she had placenta previa and a subchorionic hemorrhage. The next two months was the scariest time for Liz and Jessica, not knowing if this pregnancy would also end in a loss. It didn’t, and baby grew perfectly to full term.
Liz had a beautiful birth plan, including a totally unmedicated, peaceful labor without intervention. If there is one thing I have learned about birth, it is to expect the unexpected. This baby boy not only grew to full term, but decided to keep on growing in mamas womb until close to 42 weeks. Midwives decided it was time for induction. Then Mother Nature decided to send the first big snow storm of the year. Worried that I wouldn’t make it to the birth, I opted to leave for the hospital just as the snow was starting to really get heavy. I was able to be there through the toughest of her labor through the birth, which I am convinced I would have missed if I waited to go any later. Fast forward through induction, a balloon foley, squats, & 45 hours hours later, a perfect baby boy was born to these amazing mamas. Liz was a rock star through the entire process and Jessica never left her side. When Hawkin was finally born, you could immediately see the sweet relief and immense love, and watch as all that hard labor was forgotten. It was absolutely beautiful to witness. ***Scroll all the way through and you can read these parents letter to their son and watch the slideshow of this gallery …I promise you won’t have dry eyes after this!!!***
Interested in documenting your own labor and delivery? Let’s start a conversation here!
We were asked to write you a letter. A letter you could read when you got older. Right now you are sitting in front me on your swing. Mommy is trying so hard to get you to tolerate it and you are only half believing she knows best. I look at you and there are so many things that I want you know. First and foremost, you are loved. You have more love than you could possibly ever imagine. Mommy and I went through a lot to bring you into this world. We hoped and cried and prayed. We crossed fingers, toes, arms, and anything else that was crossable. When the doctors told us that we were pregnant with you, we began the experience of 9 months of pure excitement and anxiety. We were blessed and told you to stay in and stay healthy. You listened to that so much that you stayed in 10 extra days; two of those days doctors were giving Mommy different meds to try to get you to come out. Finally, on November 21, 2016 at 8:34 in the morning, you were born. I have never seen Mommy as happy as when she first held you. Our first joke about you was when I looked at Mommy and said, “I’m not responsible enough to be a parent” and she looked at me and said, “I’m not patient enough to be a parent”. We laughed and decided that we would help each other out to make it work.
Our hope for you, Hawkin, is that you are better than us. That somehow, we can help you to be a man who makes people remember what a gentleman is. That you are kind and respectful to all. We want you to know that people will come and go in your life but you should enjoy them for as long as they are around. Family is the most important thing in life, but family isn’t always just blood. The very cliché line of “treat others as you want to be treated” is one you should follow. They might not always be kind to you but you are the one who has to look yourself in the mirror every night and be okay with yourself. Be strong and courageous. Try new things; see new places. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Be confident because we know that you will be that strong, confident, respectful, gentleman that we want you to be.
We love you Hawkin for all you are today and all that you will be tomorrow.
Mommy and Mama”
And stay tuned for their Postpartum Newborn Moments session… <3