September 25, 2012

I was so excited when this couple contacted me about photographing the birth of their first child.  I had met them at Twin Cities Midwifery event about a month before. It is a little embarrassing to admit that the photographer in me saw them and instantly thought “What an attractive couple – they would look great in pictures.” Upon meeting them I found that they were also nice, generous and well educated about birth. What an ideal client!

I was excited about this birth –a home birth – possibly a water birth – with a midwife who has been nothing but supportive of birth photography – with wonderful clients. Now all I had to do was wait for the call to come which it finally did early in August.

When I arrived, mom was in labor – doing great – working with her contractions. I got situated and started doing what I do, quietly following, snapping shots as I went. Things continued this way throughout the day – Mom having contractions, working so well through them – Dad supporting her. Things seemed to be progressing slowly but surely.

After a bit of a lull in late afternoon, evening came and things picked back up. She was working hard through contractions, resting in-between, eating, drinking, moving, changing positions. Doing everything right to get baby to move down and out. It seemed like any moment she would be complete and feel the urge to start pushing.

It was a long night and that feeling never came. Come morning I did the math. Mom had been up for almost 48 hours with just little naps here and there. Though both baby & mom were looking and sounding great, labor was taking its toll. I wondered if mom could continue. I didn’t think if I had been in her situation I would have had it in me to continue.

However mom gathered up her energy and rallied. Still positive, she worked with the team of midwives and chiropractors to do the things needed to move things along. I kept thinking she was so close and at any moment it would be time to push.

Finally in the afternoon, without a major change happening, it was decided that she would transfer to the hospital. Hopes of a peaceful home birth gone, I continued to be amazed with the wisdom and strength this couple showed.

At the hospital mom received fluids, an epidural and pitocin – but most importantly, she got some sleep! I received the call to return early in the morning. Not too long after I arrived, mom gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Due to meconium being present, baby was taken quickly from mom to be suctioned. In fact, he would spend the next couple days in the special care nursery.

This birth was difficult for me to write about. I knew it wasn’t the birth this couple had planned and hoped for. Just about everything they wanted – home birth, little to no intervention, skin to skin right after birth, delayed cord clamping – none of this happened. Why? This couple had done everything right. They prepared their minds, educating themselves. Mom prepared her body, doing prenatal yoga and having chiropractor visits. They prepared themselves so well and yet it seemed like it didn’t matter. This is hard to process.

This birth reminded me of how each is remarkable. I am so completely impressed with this Mom.  I would have given up so quickly under the circumstances – and she didn’t and she kept fighting for what she wanted. She was so strong! I didn’t realize before that women in labor could be this strong. So often we are told or shown they are not; that laboring moms are screaming, mean charactertures. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I loved when she was at the hospital faced with the exact birth experience she didn’t want and caregivers whose philosophies on birth were radically different, she continued to be flexible and kind to those around her – even when that open-mindedness and respect was not always returned.

This birth was an amazing process to witness. Though my heart breaks that things did not go the way we all hoped – I am grateful to have witnessed power and humanity on this level. I am thrilled to say that everyone is home, together and doing well now.

Baby Milo 1 - Minneapolis Birth Photographer Megan Crown

Baby Milo 2 - Minneapolis Birth Photographer Megan Crown

Baby Milo 3 - Minneapolis Birth Photographer Megan Crown