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Home Birth {Seattle Birth Photographer}






I loved photographing this birth for many reasons. It’s so difficult to be just an observer, and though I strive to photograph the birth as though I wasn’t even in the room I still get pulled in. Before a birth I meet with my client’s to discuss their wishes and get to know them. (I don’t want to be a complete stranger showing up one of life’s most intimate and raw experiences.) This meeting and the subsequent emails usually leads to friendship and before long I know all about their previous birth stories and all of their hopes and dreams for the birth that I will photograph. So I can’t help but cheer on the moms while they work hard to birth their babies. With Jessica it was no different. Jessica is actually a former client of mine who is now also a professional photographer. I know that she really values photography as an art form and that having the birth of her second child documented in photographs was really important to her.  But even more than that, I knew that the birth of Jessica’s oldest child did not go as she had hoped. She ended up with a healthy baby girl but also a lot of interventions that she didn’t want and it made her feel like she had failed. I had no doubt in my mind that Jessica would be able to birth her second baby at home naturally as she had planed but I so wanted it to go perfectly for her so that she would have a sense of redemption over all that happened during the birth of her daughter.

If you have scene the movie The Business of Being Born there is a seen where one of the OBs being interviewed states in so many words that the process of birth is unimportant that it’s the outcome that is important – a healthy baby and a healthy mom. And while he is correct that a healthy baby and a healthy mom are always the most important end result he is dead wrong about the process. The process matters – immensely. Physically the birth process is extremely important for the long term health of the mother and the baby, emotionally and psychologically the birth process will affect a woman for the rest of her life.

And so Jessica prepared for a better birth, for herself and for her son, and for her daughter who watched her demonstrate how truly strong and amazing women are. She surrounded herself with women who believed in her, who knew she would be able to do it, And she did it!

If you have ever taken a birth class or read a book on labor and delivery you will find that most recommend that you have an “early labor project.” An early labor project is some sort of activity or task that will keep your mind off the fact that you are starting to have regular contractions and that you will soon be holding your little one. It keeps your mind preoccupied so that it can stay out of the way and let your body do the real work. Jessica, choose baking bread as her early labor project, not just any old loaf of bread but one of those crunchy crust artisan loaf’s that you buy in the bakery section of the grocery store – the kind of loaf that I have never been able to pull off. The best part about this birth was that the baby beat the bread out of the oven. Not only did he beat the bread, he also beat the midwife.  Jessica told me later that even though the rest of us in attendance were terrified because there was no midwife there and she was pushing out a baby all on her own, that she never once felt panicked or worried and that when it was all said and done she was very happy with how things went. With the birth of her daughter she felt like everything was done to her and she was merely an observer and this time she did it all herself – including catching her own baby.  Just as Jessica had pushed out the baby’s head a student midwife showed up and just after she got him all the way out her midwife walked though the door. Then we all sat around and marveled at the perfect little creature that had just joined us in the world and the oven timer went off so we all ate fresh bread and lived happily ever after : )

So with out further adieu here is…

>>The Birth of Waldron Dain Peterson<<

I want to point out that this is a link for a slideshow with all of the photos set to music. It was brought to my attention the last time I posted a birth slide show that most people missed the link. So this time I am making it big and bold. (So click it and watch it!)

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  1. Jamie

    Ahh! Amazing! These make me want to cry – you captured so well such beautiful moments.

  2. Beautiful slideshow! I’m glad you were able to make it for her short labor! =) You’re so right that the process IS important. Giving birth to Harris naturally and almost completely on my own has been one of the most transformative experiences of my life that I think about often. It changed something in me, and although having another baby scares me (the daily part of living with another child), I can’t WAIT for labor and delivery again, it was such a special process. (though, of course, painful!)

  3. Emily, having these images is priceless! Thank you for being there to document this amazing event. You were and are fabulous. I’m so thrilled to be able to watch this slide show and relive Wally’s birth. I’d recommend having birth photographed to everyone!

  4. I love that look of sheer joy on their face as they are welcoming their little bundle. Beautiful.

  5. Thank you for e-mailing me the link. Beautiful photograpy, beautiful story.

  6. What a lovely birth. Your photos are so powerful. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh, that is beautiful. It DID make me cry. 🙂 Birth is so amazing!

  8. I love these pictures. My sister-in-law just had a home birth a few weeks ago. I was supposed to be there to photograph it. But her labor progressed so quickly, she didn’t have time to call me! Her midwife almost didn’t make it even! But we sort of expected something like that, as it was her 2nd baby. Her first home birth ended with my mother-in-law delivering the baby because it came so fast! Her FIRST!

  9. Shana

    This is absolutely gorgeous. Sounds so similar to my birth experiences, except no one at all made it for the birth of my second – it was just me and my husband. It was beautiful and amazing and glorious. My one regret is not that the midwife didn’t make it, but that the photographer didn’t make it! These images are so precious and she and her son will treasure them for a lifetime. What a gift you have given!

  10. I came across your blog today for the first time and LOVE it. I have to admit that these photos did make me cry. I have no idea who this family is but felt very moved by these pictures. Very very very beautiful!!!!

  11. Valerie

    I love your photos! My goodness…so, so beautiful. I am a birth doula and I was wondering if I could copy the very first photo on this page and you use it on my blog. I would give you credit by notating your name. Please let me know. I would be most greatful.

5 Trackbacks

  1. By Twitted by emilyWbrown September 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm

  2. By Beautiful Homebirth Slideshow « Talk Birth September 8, 2009 at 7:54 pm

  3. By Seattle Birth Photographer “Honored” To Photograph Birth « Nursing Birth September 9, 2009 at 7:14 am

  4. By Talia’s Birth {Seattle Birth Photography} » One Tree Photography November 28, 2010 at 4:34 pm

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