Birth photography is different for everyone, and every woman's story is personal, but oh my goodness, did this mama ROCK the birthing process! Sarah is a Portland-based doula, and when she decided to have me take her birth photos, I was thrilled and absolutely loved being there for her birth photography! Not only is she familiar with the birth process, but she had done a natural birth with her first child and loves everything that birth has to offer. This is my version of the birth of baby Pearl's birth story.
Sarah and I had been texting almost daily during her 38th week, and on the day before she would go into labor, she texted me to say she was feeling like the baby was hanging lower in her pelvis, kind of like a 8-9 lb bowling ball. Her intuition was telling her it would be soon, and I know enough not to second guess a mama's intuition! The next morning at 6:37am, I awoke to another text from her saying she had been having real contractions all night, and they were now about 7 minutes apart. We made plans for me to join them at their home after I was able to get ready, but before I could go to their house, she let me know they had decided not to chance things and were headed to the hospital afterall.
By 8:00 am, I was at Portland Adventist Hospital, where Sarah, her husband Nic, and her doula, Brooke with Humble Beginnings were already laboring in an admitting room. Nic's parents were doing their best to occupy 2 year old Toby in the waiting room. Sarah's birth plan designated that she'd forgo any checks until she was certain that labor was in full swing, and reaching the hospital had lead to the contractions slowing a bit. After a blood draw, the team thought it was best to start walking to really kick those contractions into gear. So that's what we did. For about an hour and a half, Sarah, Nic, Brooke and I made loops around the hospital campus (it was a beautiful morning!) between contractions that were now lasting well over a minute again. Sarah's last stop before going upstairs was in the hospital Chapel. I was doing my best to quietly snap photos of her beautiful worship and prayer session; I didn't want to disturb her, but my photographer brain was on overdrive - the whole scene was gorgeous. Her time spent in prayer resulted in the strongest contractions yet!
By 11:30am we arrived back upstairs in the admitting room, and Sarah allowed a cervical check only to find that she was already dilated to an 8! (I told you she was a rockstar!) Quickly we were escorted to her birthing suite, and Sarah was relieved to get some time in the jacuzzi tub.
Did I mention how adorable it was to see Toby right there with his mom? He was as much a part of this birth as anyone, and was so good and patient. He even joined Sarah in the tub, long enough for me to snap one photo! After that, he was done and back on the move! It was probably for the best as Sarah was moving into transition and ready to start pushing.
Sarah's doctor joked with me about editing the photos before I posted them to take off any extra pounds (he looks great, by the way...nothing to liquify!) and before we could finish the conversation, I just pointed at Sarah and he jumped to action. The baby's head had emerged and things were moving fast!
By 12:37 pm, baby girl arrived - to a room FILLED with family and friends that already loved her so much. I get goosebumps just going back to that moment. What a joy and a privilege it is for me to get to witness new life being born and having the ability to be the eyes through images for that family to keep forever. It's a beautiful thing, and that's why I LOVE birth photography and what I get to do.
Enjoy the images from this amazing birth, and be sure to watch the slideshow at the end (it's always my favorite part!) As always, my photos are very modest.
Be sure to turn on your speakers for the slideshow. :)