7/19/12 I can’t believe how many people are loving my birth photos! Please like me on Facebook if you want to see more-I am photographing another birth soon!
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I have really wanted to share these photos for some time now and am so glad that I have finally gotten them up!
I am a big advocate of home births and the natural hospital experience. I know it is not right for everyone, and I am truly grateful for modern medicine in that many women and babies that would have been seriously hurt or died from childbirth can now have cesarean births and be totally healthy. BUT, the cesarean rate is now up to 33%! One out of three women have major surgery instead of delivering their babies vaginally now, and that is totally unnecessary. I became a doula at the age of 22 bc I saw the value in birthing with the least amount of interventions-and that is exactly what a doula can help you do. Honestly, both the birth of my son and my daughter were painful. I did want an epidural through both, and I totally understand why women opt to have epidurals. My son’s birth was just 5 1/2 hours, though, so no time to get to the hospital anyways. My daughter’s birth was only 2 hours, and while I did put on my shoes to go to the hospital, that baby was coming in just minutes whether I liked it or not! I have posted Amelia’s birth story below.
I can not say thank you enough to Kim Rodgers of Brink Street Photography in Englewood for doing my birth photography. She was a gentle, supportive person at my birth, and the images that she captured will be cherished forever. If anyone in the Denver area is looking for a birth photographer, definitely check out her website. If you are thinking about having your birth photographed in the Boulder area, please contact me. As a doula and a photographer, being at a birth and capturing those first moments is the biggest honor for me and I can’t think of any other way to best use my skill and talent:)
Anyways, check out that tub shot of Amelia being born! Everyone always asks, so I will say up front that Kim was standing on the bench that is in my shower that is right next to my bath. She leaned over the glass door to get that shot from above and used a wide angle lens. Beautiful Kim! I have that photo blown up in my office and I know one day that Amelia will be just as grateful to have it.
Sunday morning I woke up at 5:45am with a few contractions. They were stronger than brackston hicks but still not quite the real thing.
Monday morning, three days before my due date, I woke up again at 5:45am but with no contractions. I put on my hypnobabies Early First Stage to get back to sleep. I dreamt I was talking to a father of toddler twins, and I was having a strong contraction and he was excited that I was in labor. I woke up then (at 7:30am) and just knew that I was, in fact, in labor.
I went to the bathroom, got back into bed and just noticed them for ten minutes or so. Then I went into our office and told Adam that he better cancel his appointments for the day. He was so excited! I got back in bed and just noticed and timed the contractions. They were 8 minutes apart, and manageable.
Early labor video
I spent the next couple hours walking around and having the contractions. I called the midwife and the birth photographer to tell them to both get ready. My contractions really were manageable and okay. I had been pretty nervous about handling the pain during this labor as Elijah’s homebirth was so painful and I was worried that it would be the same.
The birth photographer arrived around 11am, and I tried to make her comfortable. But then, the contractions started to get a lot stronger. I ran the bath, hoping that would help as it did during Elijah’s labor. It just felt much better to walk around during this labor, so I got back out.
The midwife arrived around noon and told us that the house smelled of gas (not a good thing to tell me since I worry a lot about that kind of thing). I am not sure if it was just a coincidence, or if there was something psychological that happened when she arrived, but I started asking to go to the hospital so that I could get an epidural right after she arrived.
She checked me, and I was only at 6cm. I could not imagine going through hours more of this. The pain had suddenly gone from a 7 to a 10 and I could not stand it at all. It was incredibly unbearable, and yet somehow I kept getting through each one.
The week before I had spoken with my midwife about how to signal if I really did want to go to the hospital, and had told her that I would get dressed and walk out the door. No one seemed to be taking me seriously, so I put on a dress and started to walk downstairs. I got as far as the office, and the other midwife checked me again. I think she told me I was 8 or 9cm at that point.
I honestly thought she was straight up lying. The other midwife had checked me not even ten minutes earlier and I was at 6cm. How does one go from 6cm to 9cm in less than ten minutes?
I started to walk downstairs while everyone was telling me that if I did go to the hospital I would not have time for an epidural and I could likely have the baby in the car. I just did not believe them, I thought they were trying to trick me.
The second midwife brought out a birthing stool and told me she wanted to check me one more time before the hospital. I agreed, and the contractions were just a tiny bit more manageable on the stool. She told me I was just about 10cm with just a lip left. Yea right! Barely a half hour had passed since 6cm. Still, I trusted her and agreed to get back in the tub and see.
So, we went upstairs, Adam got in the tub with me, and I just got really quiet and went inside. The birth video actually looks peaceful. I had just a few more contractions in the tub just waiting to feel that infamous need to push, and it never really came. I asked the midwife to check again, and she said I could push if I wanted to. So, I did. I pushed once and could feel her head come down. It hurt so much so I pushed again and gave it all I had and out came the head! Once the head was out, I knew that the hardest part was over. I gave myself a little break until the next contraction and then pushed the rest of her body out into her daddy’s hands. It was such a relief!
She started screaming as soon as her mouth hit air and she went straight into my arms. She was covered in vernex and was so pink and loud! She was perfect.
We waited a minute and I tried to include Elijah in the moment, then we went into the bedroom to deliver the placenta. All was well. The after-contractions hurt much more than they did with Elijah, but any pain was better than that half hour of going from 6cm to 10cm. Amelia latched on about an hour after birth and has been breastfeeding like a champ every since! She was 7lbs 2oz and 19 3/4″. Almost exactly the same as Elijah was.
The midwife had to count her birth as precipitous as I went from 5cm to 10 in about 2 hours…(I think it was shorter than that, but she is counting from when she is guessing I was at 5cm).
Here is Amelia’s birth video. It is such a private and special time to have on film, but I also know that this video can help people feel more comfortable and at ease with their own births since, for some reason I make it look easy, so I guess I am going to put it out there for everyone to see… There is nothing too private or too R on here-it is pretty mellow and clean:)
Elijah is just in love with her. He comes home from school every day and asks “How is the baby doing?” and then he holds her for awhile. I did well, too. No tearing, no swelling, nothing. I felt better one day post partum than I did in my whole third trimester.
Overall, I am happy that I was able to give this experience to Amelia. She was awake and alert from her very first moments and really, what is two hours of pain in the big scheme of things? She is now 7 months old, chubby, happy, in love with life, and always ready to explore and discover new things. We are so in love with her.
And here she is today…my love.