Every birth I attend as a birth photographer is special and I hold those moments and memories dear to me. This particular couple has a very special place in my heart.
Back when I was very first starting out as a newbie photographer, they were my first paying clients when I shot their engagement session. I then went on to photograph their wedding, family Christmas, maternity and eventually I photographed the birth of their first baby. It's so special that we have been able to experience so many firsts together, and walk this journey alongside one another. So often in my career as a massage therapist, my clients become my close friends. I'm finding this to be equally true in my artistic work, especially with birth photography.
I remember when C was first pregnant, I knew even before she did, it was no surprise when that test came back positive. I watched Momma grow, and worry, prepare, plan and worry some more. We listened to her baby's heart beat on my Doppler during her monthly massage appointments. I felt that sweet girl wriggle and kick. I cannot explain how special it is when my care for a pregnant momma on that massage table, crosses over into birthing care and onto postpartum care.
We kept in touch daily, talking about all things baby and birthing. She told me about any changes or sensations she was having. Then, the time finally came and her water broke, her princess was finally coming!!
Despite her ruptured membranes, contractions did not start on their own. With some medicinal help, her labour began and intensified quickly. The waves took over her body and she was strong and knew what to do. Her husband was steady by her side for every moment. Within 18 hours she was fully dilated and ready to push. She was awe inspiring, a vision of strength. She's worked hard and long, to bring her baby earthside. As Momma grew tired, her princess was starting to show signs of stress, she was not in an ideal position to be born. Baby was OP (occiput posterior), and because her heart rate was dropping, it was time for her to come. It was no longer safe to wait and see if baby could shift and be born.
The decision was made by the family and doctors that baby would arrive safely by cesarian section. Dad and myself stood at the head of that hospital bed, embracing a tearful Momma, it's hard when things don't work out how you planned. As a c section mom myself, I deeply understood the feeling of failure and fear that she was no doubt feeling at that moment. Dad stood by feeling helpless and filled with worry for his wife and unborn daughter. Mom was wheeled off to the operating room and dad was handed a pair of scrubs. Then we waited.
We waited for what seemed like forever outside of those doors. Dad was full of smiles and jokes, just like nervous Dads always seem to be waiting at those doors. After an eternity, a nurse came and grabbed dad to join his wife in the OR to witness the birth of their first princess.
Our hospital does not currently allow photography or extra support people in the OR, so I sat and waited for dad to proudly burst through those doors with a precious bundle in his arms. He was able to grab some shots in the OR that they will cherish forever.
I eagerly stood in the hall waiting and waiting when dad strut down that hallway like he was king of the world. She was perfect, in every single way.
I followed Dad to the nursery for the newborn exam and measurements. He was so tender and protective with her. One man went into that OR and a very changed one came out. He held his daughter, with her fresh skin to his skin. She was calm and relaxed. They were both so happy, it was beautiful.
We got word that Mom was ready for us in recovery. The gracious nurses allowed me to follow along to see and capture some really great moments. I watched my friend hold her baby for the first time, and the first time to REALLY look at her. Her fresh daughters warm skin was placed to her skin. That tiny princess fit into her Momma like a puzzle piece, one thats been missing. She latched onto her mothers breast instinctively. This first time mother, my friend, she was now changed also. She knew what to do the moment her girl was placed into her arms.