I don’t know why I keep putting off writing this recap of Kaiden’s arrival. I think it’s because it’s SUCH a story! So much to say, show, and unpack. The process of getting started has been a little intimidating. So, here we are, a little over two months later, but it’s worth the wait… I swear!
I have known Kaiden’s mom, Alexis, for a couple of years now and have photographed her several times (including some boudoir-maternity photos… which I absolutely LOVED and you can check out here), so I was very excited when she asked me to document her labor and delivery. She had not had a photographer there for the birth of her first son and, like me, wished that she had visual images of that day to keepsake and help her remember the details.
I went “on-call” for Alexis two weeks before her due date. We messaged back and forth every few days with updates and encouragement… but no news of the start of labor. Those two weeks flew by, but no baby. Things were physically happening, so we were definitely seeing progress, but her little man was comfortable and taking his time. An induction was scheduled for one week after her due date, with the hope that she would go into labor naturally before then.
Kaiden had other plans.
On the morning of her induction, I drove to the hospital with so much excitement and anticipation. I’d been actively waiting for this day for three weeks and was ready to, once again, document mama’s strength and dad’s support as they welcomed their newest addition into the world… what I was NOT expecting, was the full family affair that this day was going to be!
During her labor, Alexis had her partner, son, mother, sister, brother, and sister’s friend in the room with her! So many people getting cozy on that small hospital window bench! But, also, so many people there to love on Alexis, and help keep her older son comfortable and entertained.
Shortly after getting checked in, meds were administered, papers were signed, and she met the doctor who would, likely, be delivering her baby. Throughout her pregnancy, Alexis had been seen by a midwife, unfortunately, that provider didn’t have privileges at Legacy Salmon Creek, where she decided to deliver, so Alexis’s doctor was dependent on who happened to be on-call that day.
Alexis had told her sister that she wanted her hair braided so that it didn’t get all tangled up during the labor and delivery, but they hadn’t had a chance to do it before contractions started. So, what’s a sister to do? Climb up on the delivery bed and get that hair braided!
Due to allergies to the medication, Alexis was unable to receive an epidural, so her options for pain relief were limited, and she needed to get creative with natural methods. She had noted in her birth plan that she wanted to labor in the tub, so that was one of her first requests… and what really seemed to kick the contractions into gear.
After deciding to get out of the tub, things really started to move along… and the pain was getting worse. Her older son, brother, and sister’s friend headed to the family waiting room, as it became obvious that things were happening.
At 2:50 pm, Alexis’s water broke. Her cervix was checked, and she was at 8 cm. Labor was intense. Mama was in excruciating pain. She kept saying that something was not right. Something felt different. It felt like she was on fire. She needed to push. The nurses and her family continued to try to comfort her, telling her that it wasn’t time to push yet. But, at 2:57 pm, the nurse called the doctor back in to check again… she was at 10 cm… little Kaiden was born three minutes later.
After Alexis was discharged, she sent me a message and let me know that the little one had been stuck in the birth canal at his shoulder, and that she was healing from the pelvic separation that occurred during delivery.
Regardless of the pain that she was in, the love in her eyes in the post-delivery bonding images is fierce. As Alexis was lying there with baby on her chest, she yelled out, “take a picture! Someone take a picture so that I can see what he looks like!” I hadn’t really thought about this before, but it’s so true… and took me back to that moment right after my babies came. You are cuddling your little one on your chest, everyone else is “ooh”ing and “ahh”ing, but all YOU can see is the top of their head! I definitely took some time before I actually got a good look at either of my kiddos!
And then it was time to introduce big brother to little brother…
Big brother cried… but then, quickly, reassured his parents that they were “happy tears”. He was definitely excited to have a brother!
From the very beginning, it was obvious to me just how important family is to Alexis… not only did she have so many hearts surrounding her in the hospital room, but she was also sure to bring a momento of a family who could not be there to join in the celebration.
I stuck around the hospital for just a little while longer, in order to get photos of Kaiden’s first bath and foot prints… and then it was time to leave the new family of four.
Congratulations to you three! Kaiden is a beautiful addition and I can’t wait to see more of him as time goes on!
I’m really excited to add birth photography to my services and am currently accepting clients with winter and spring 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!