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 : )
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!)Portfolio | Contact Me | Book a Session
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