The Birth of Baby J
A few months back, I was put on as a back up for a couple due in July. Their own birth photographer was also pregnant, and they were due within a few days of each other!
As the days grew closer together with no sign of a baby on either end, it looked as though I might be attending their birth. I set up a FaceTime to get to know Lea and Lauren a bit better and immediately hit it off and felt comfortable, it’s definitely a great feeling when you feel like you can establish that connection before birth without even meeting in person. We went over different images they really wanted to be captured “get all the placenta photos!” (Dream clients, I swear 😍)
They said they wanted all the details, the raw, the real. This made my heart soar, I crave the clients who want their true intimate moments captured.
About a week went by, and Lauren said she may be feeling signs of early labor. I was told by her photographer that if she went into labor that night, that I would be attending. But if it was the next day, then she could go, as she just gave birth to her own little!
Low and behold, I got the call around 10:30pm, they were heading to the birth center! Excited, I started to gather my things. At 11:40 I was told she was 4-5cm dilated and things were getting a bit intense. I finished up my last meal and hopped in the car. I had a very strange feeling that this was going to be a quick birth, even though the birth of her first was over 40 hours. Always follow these intuitions, they haven’t let me down yet.
1:00am, I arrived at the birth center. Rang the doorbell a few times, camera in hand. I had the jitters at this point thinking “oh man, this is definitely going to be a fast one...I really hope I didn’t miss it” the long wait for a door answer wasn’t helping to calm those thoughts.
Finally, a midwife came to meet me, “Just in time! Her water JUST broke”
Quietly we made our way back to her birth space. She was leaning over a counter, swaying gently and working through her contractions with grace. She decided for a position change and sunk into her partner's arms, Lea never left her side. She was incredible with knowing just when to talk, and when to stay still and quiet, offering some counter pressure and serious space holding. With their Doula Lee there, we had one solid birth team. You could feel how comfortable the room was, Lauren smiling or focusing in between each surge. She was following every signal from her body. Changing positions, using a birth ball, changing her breathing and giving in to all that was her labor. There was a lot of love in the room.
She seemed to really be progressing quickly and finally, she needed help with getting those pants the hell off!
On her side, she knew exactly how she needed her legs to be. Lea helping to position. This baby came FAST, this all happened with an hour of me being there! Just a few pushes and you could see babies head, Lauren took her time and really allowed her body to help her here. A few more contractions and baby was earth-side and in her arms. Lea immediately broke into tears, Lauren saying “I love you, I love you so much.” She threw out so many adorable nicknames within this first half-hour of life, I couldn’t stop smiling. Sadly I’m failing to remember them all, but the one that really stuck was “Rabbit”. Note to self: call all future babies rabbit because that hit me directly in the cute feels.
In one fail swoop, their baby was born and she took off her shirt for skin to skin while also reaching for her little one.
It’s such a natural progression at home or in birth centers. Baby to arms, and sink into all that is your new life with your new love, snug in bed.
Baby J, born at 2:01 weighing in at 7lbs 7 oz
This was a birth full of endless smiles, jokes and a whole lot of love. I may have only been there for a few hours, but it fueled the rest of my week. I felt inspired and excited to work on their photos, and left feeling like I made new friends.
For the rest of this story, I’ll let the photos speak.