mandy's story | the birth of lucy rose

Oh birth.  Always teaching and stretching us to the very last moment.  Mandy had 2 hard weeks of prodromal labor that had worn her down, despite her sweet and positive attitude.  I personally experienced prodromal labor with all three of my babies and it was incredibly exhausting-I was an incredibly empathetic doula.  So the early morning phone call I got from Matt that it was go time made me jump from my bed in celebration.  

Everyone labors differently and Mandy was incredibly calm and relaxed during her labor.  I was really struck when I walked into the triage room by her hands; one open and receiving and the other clutching on to her husband.

The labor was gentle and progressed like a text book.  Dad and I squeezed her hips the whole time and we were a good team (we were sore the next day!).  

Some of my favorite moments were:

During a hard transition, Mandy was still laying still and quiet-just shaking a bit, and Who Runs the World-Girls by Beyonce came on the birth playlist.  Mandy came out of her trance and gave me a little knowing smile.

When Lucy's head was born, she stayed there for a minute or two and she stared RIGHT INTO HER DADDY'S eyes.  Such a sacred moment.  Half in mom, and staring into dad. I could barely contain how cool that was.

After all her quiet laboring and triumphant birth, Mandy looked at me and said with intensity, "I want a cheeseburger, tots and a milkshake."  Ha!  I made that happen fast as I could.

Wyatt meeting his sister and looking her over in delight.  I loved how they set Lucy on the bed so he could get to know her himself-I had never seen that.  

I love this family and it was magic to witness the birth of their Lucy Rose.  They live down the street from me so I get to snuggle her often and that makes me smile.

Enjoy these incredible images.  Thanks for letting me share Mandy!

leah's story | the birth of roan oliver

This birth was such a blessing to me.  I loved being Leah and J's doula but I found so much that I was able to step back quite a bit and watch J support Leah so tenderly.  Leah is an incredible athlete and is always running or biking.  Labor was quite a challenge because the first 9 cm went really fast, but the last bit of labor was much longer and she had SO much back labor.  As mentally strong as she has to be to be such an athlete, labor took every ounce of that and truly sometimes it wasn't enough.   It was like watching a dance, every time she lost belief in herself, J stepped right in with words and physical support.  And so contraction by contraction she made it through.  

It was brutal to watch her do everything right but to still be stuck at 9.  We kept telling her it was almost over and that didn't turn out to be true.  I think it would be like moving the finish line several times at the end of a marathon.  

After a while her awesome nurse gently coached her to start pushing gently even though she wasn't complete yet and baby boy was born not much after.  

The gender was a surprise and it was so special to watch baby Roan Oliver be born and for his parents to meet him.  

Thank you J and Leah for letting me be part of this sweet experience and for letting me share your beautiful photographs.

 

sarah's story | the birth of birch

It's been a while since I've posted a birth story and I am so glad to share this one today with you all.

Every single birth I get to attend is near and dear to my heart, but this one was extra special.  I've been friends with Sarah and Matt since before they were married.  I photographed their engagement, their wedding and attended the birth of their second baby girl.  I was all set to photograph their third baby in May of 2015 when literally the day after we talked contract details, I got a horrible email that the baby's heart had stopped beating half way through the pregnancy.  The Rideouts are missionaries in Haiti and things are complicated there, health-wise.  So Sarah and Matt and their girls hopped on the first plane out to deliver their baby here in the states.  I met them the night before being induced and was able to laugh and cry with them and photograph her beautiful belly.

The next day I was their doula as they brought their tiny son Obed into the world.  Sarah is as mentally strong as they come and I've watched her rock natural birth.  I will never forget the look in her eyes as she looked at me during Obed's labor...she said "The sadness is too much, I have no strength."  

Fast forward nearly exactly a year and I was able to celebrate and attend the birth of their second son Birch.  What a happy occasion!  There was such gratefulness in the air that day as we heard that heart beat, steady and strong.  The gender was a surprise and so anticipation was building as well.  Sarah rocked out a natural labor and was able to catch Birch right there on the hospital floor (with Dr Spearman's back up hands nearby:-).  Her birth was attended by her Mama-lactation consultant extraordinaire and her dear friend Laura.  Sarah's sister arrived just minutes after birth!    

Sarah and Matt, I feel like part of your family and I feel so honored to have been witness to these moments in your lives.  

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

-Psalm 30:5  

 

*and just one silly sidenote I'd love to clarify.  Matt is wearing a shirt from the summer camp he worked at for years, it isn't in reference to real world domination of any kind:-)

**also thanks to Matt for one of the only pictures I have of me in action at a birth :-)