© 2010 . All rights reserved.

Apollo {a miracle baby}

On Friday Simon and I headed up to Bellingham to visit Renee and her crew and to photograph this gorgeous little guy.  He was one tough customer though! And he made me really work for these photos. In the 3 hours that it took Renee and I to get him to sleep he pooped and peed on pretty much every blanket in the house.  We finally got him settled and I was able to shoot these.

Apollo is truly a little miracle. I was planning on photographing Apollo’s planned home birth (if I could make it to Bellingham in time) but the circumstances rapidly changed when Renee’s water spontaneously broke and Apollo’s umbilical cord prolapsed. If you don’t know a prolapsed umbilical cord is an extremely rare obstetric emergency where the baby’s umbilical cord descends alongside of or in front of the baby.  In this condition the weight of the baby compresses the umbilical cord cutting off blood flow and oxygen to the baby’s brain.  This likelihood of this happening is, as I said before, extremely rare, only 0.14 to 0.62 % of all births. It is more likely to happen in a situation where the bag of waters spontaneously ruptures like in Renee’s case. I was curious if there were statistics about it occurring more frequently in or out of the hospital since it is more likely to occur with the spontaneous rapture of membranes (water breaking) and this happens to pregnant women in a large verity of locations no matter what type of birth they are planning. (In fact with Simon my water broke at home before I went to the birth center to have him). I couldn’t find any hard statistics on the location, probably because it is such an extremely rare situation. When it happens it is literally a race against the clock – an unborn baby can only survive minuets without oxygen, or a decreased oxygen flow.  If you are pregnant your birth class instructor probably went over what to do if a cord prolapse occurs and you not with your OB or midwife.  I can still remember our birth class instructor Liz demonstrating “the position”. In short you should get on your hands and knees with your bum as high in the air as possible and your head as low as possible. This should hopefully move the weight of the descending baby off the umbilical cord. You can also have someone physically hold the weight of the baby off the cord with his or her hand. Call 911 immediately. Renee and her husband Chuck knew just what to do and did it and the doctors say that is why Apollo is alive today.  The frustrating part is that when the paramedics arrived at Renee’s home they didn’t know what a prolapsed cord was and Renee and Chuck wasted several minuets trying to explain to them the urgency of the situation. You would think that this would be something that would be covered in paramedic training but apparently not. When Renee arrived at the hospital the staff there completely understood the gravity of the situation and it only took them 5 minuets to perform a crash C-section. Both Renee and Apollo are fine and if you want to read his amazing birth story in it’s entirety you can do so on her blog.

In this country we have a lovely pastime of telling pregnant women horrific birth stories scaring the crap out of them before they even start into labor. That is not what I am trying to do here.  This condition is extremely rare and the odds that you would encounter it in your lifetime are slim. I am only sharing details about Apollo’s birth because I believe it’s important to know what to do in an emergency. Because Renee and Chuck knew what to do Apollo is alive today.

I would have loved to have the beautiful immediate postpartum birth photos of Renee holding Apollo as I envisioned them but given the circumstances I am perfectly happy to have these photos of him!

My Portfolio | Contact Me | Follow Me @emilyWbrown

Portfolio | Contact Me | Book a Session
connect with us on social media
Follow Me on Facebook   . Follow Me on Twitter  . Follow Me on Pinterest    . Follow Me on flickr


  1. oh. my. word. I agree, these photos of a beautiful happy baby are great! I am going to hop over to her blog and read the full story!

  2. oh. my. word. I agree, these photos of a beautiful HEALTHY baby are great! I am going to hop over to her blog and read the full story!

  3. I think it is extremely important to be aware, it’s just smart to educate yourself. It’s also wonderful to hear success stories too because I think it really helps when you do start to get a little anxious. Beautiful pictures and truly, a miracle story that has a happy ending.

  4. These are amazing images! Your work is beautiful!

  5. Chanda

    I am shocked to hear that the paramedics didn’t know about a prolapsed cord. I just talked to my neighbor who is a firefighter about this very same thing and he knows what it is and how grave the situation is. I also am glad you mention it because I know of someone who had this happen and she didn’t get to the hospital in time and her son now has some disabilities related to the lack of oxygen. I think having knowledge is a tool rather than something to be afraid of.