As a birth photographer, I won’t always know WHEN the baby is coming. Babies come when they want… I am well aware of this fact…both my kids waited an extra week to arrive, and fought for more than 20 hours to stay in there! When I decided to try out birth photography, I knew that the on-call period was going to be one of the more challenging things for me. With two kids of my own, finding care for them at a moment’s notice isn’t always the easiest thing.
When I met this Mama for the first time to get to know her and discuss her birth plan, she told me that she hoped for a vaginal delivery, and to let her body go into labor when it decided that it was time. She already had a little man at home and had been through child birth before. She knew what to expect, and was patiently waiting for her body to go through the motions.
That evening, after our meeting, I went home and contacted as many possible “babysitters” as I could. I had a long list of amazing friends and family members who said that I could call on them if I needed someone to hang with my kids when I got “the call”. I also scheduled a “regular” sitter for a few days every week during my month long “on-call” period to eliminate more of the need for last minute arrangements. I was ready!
At 38 weeks Mama was starting to dilate! I packed my “go bag”.
At 39 weeks, baby was still in there… Mama was dilated more and very uncomfortable. Her doctor said that if her body didn’t go into labor by her due date, they’d induce.
At 40 weeks, the little lady was still holding tight, and Mama checked into Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver, WA for an induction.
I spoke with her that morning after she checked in and got comfortable in her room. Mama assured me that I didn’t need to rush, and she figured it would be awhile. But I also knew that I didn’t want to miss any of the moments leading up to the big one!
When I arrived around 10 AM, Mama was laughing and having a wonderful time visiting with her mother. Dad was getting some last minute work done on his laptop in the corner, and not long after I got there, Mama’s sister showed up, too! It was a bit of a party! Contractions were starting, but they were pretty mild and spaced out. Nothing that could keep her from big smiles!
After some visiting, the ladies decided to watch a movie and turned on Crazy Rich Asians to pass the time until Grandma had to leave for preschool pick up. She mentioned that she had been there for the birth of Mama’s first baby, and wished that she could stay for this one as well, but was happy to be there for her grandson to wait together for news of his sister’s arrival!
Shortly after Grandma left, contractions started to get a bit stronger and Mama decided to get up, get a walk in, and stretch her legs while she still could! With some help from Dad and her sister, she slowly walked the loop around Labor and Delivery, having to stop every few feet to breathe through another contraction… which seemed to be getting closer, and closer together.
When we all got back to the room and looked at the monitors, it was quite obvious that things were picking up. Contractions were getting much stronger and closer together. Mama was breathing through them like a rock star, but the pain was starting to get to her. After trying a few different positions and more deep breathing, an epidural was administered and Mama was able to get a little bit of rest… though not for long… especially after the nurse brought out the magical peanut ball!
Mama’s doctor was in surgery during this time and they were hoping that baby would wait to come until that procedure was over. But things were progressing quickly, and there was more and more concern about whether this little one would hold on.
Contractions kept coming, and Mama was starting to feel some pressure… so much so that the nurse decided to check Mama’s dilation again, even though it had only been a short time since she’d last checked.
10 cm. Baby was coming!
The on-call OB was paged and Mama started to prepare herself for the fact that she was going to have a different doctor delivering her baby. Dad and her sister both provided so much love and support before… and during…the delivery. With only about 15 minutes of pushing, little Charlotte made her debut at 3:00 PM.
There was so much love in that room already, but you could feel it grow even bigger once Charlotte was finally on her Mama’s chest. The family took some time to bond with their new little one, and Charlotte took the opportunity to explore the world! She was born with such big, aware, inviting eyes…totally ready for the camera! =) And to meet the doctor who was SUPPOSED to deliver her… had she not arrived just 10 minutes too early!
After Charlotte had had an opportunity to eat, it was time to give Mama a bit of rest so that the baby nurse could get Charlotte’s measurements and give her a bath. Dad was right there with his daughter, providing her comfort and just admiring his new little girl.
I’m really excited to add birth photography to my services and am currently accepting clients with fall due dates! If you’d like to discuss birth photography, and are planning on delivering in the Vancouver, WA, or East Portland areas, please reach out! Payment plans and baby registries are available, as well!