It was a beautiful day in early April when I got the call to head over to the Birth Centre to meet up with Amanda and her partner Adam. Knowing this baby was her 3rd, and that her previous births were quick, I bolted over there as fast as humanly possible, STILL worried that I'd miss the birth upon arrival. When I arrived, assessment with a midwife was under way, and I had some time to unpack and gather my wits / calm myself down (after driving over in a panic). When Amanda came out of assessment, and proceeded to walk down the halls with her partner, I realized I had panicked needlessly because she was assessed at 2 cm dilation. Phew. Well now I wondered if perhaps I was premature to arrive so soon, because normally I meet up with my clients further along into active labour.
I followed Amanda and Adam around for a while, and noticed that contractions were behaving all over the map.... some strong, some brief.... and irregular. Amanda did a lot of walking, and the wonderful thing about hanging out at the birth centre during daytime/evening hours was that I was able to photograph the space before the sun went down... (every single birth apart from my first one in 2016, had been overnight/in the dark) so I was pleased to get some shots of the couple labouring together in the gorgeous late day sunlight. A few hours had passed and when Amanda was checked again, she was still 2 cm dilated. Her midwife advised them to go home, take a shower and get some rest. She was certain baby would arrive later that night, and some rest would do her good. The room would be held for them.
So we all went home. Not 2 minutes after I walked through my door, I got a call from Adam, telling me to turn around and head back straight away, that things were really REALLY picking up now, getting extremely intense! Woah! That was amazingly fast. What a development! I could hear Amanda moaning in the background, and remembered how I must always listen to my clients - they KNOW. They always know. Especially women who have birthed babies before. They know their bodies better than anyone. Well I hopped back into the car and really started to panic, and I mean REALLY panicked. All the way down. Got there, rushed into their room just before 10pm and Amanda was in the tub (midwife had prefilled it in preparation - what a clever midwife!) crying out, "He's there, he's there! He's really there!". She was beginning to crown. Amanda's midwife called out to her colleagues down the halls to join her quickly, because she thought she'd need extra help with this unfolding precipitous birth. I grabbed my camera and flash and ran over to the tubside where her partner Adam was calmly and quietly applying counter pressure to her lower back. Amanda was experiencing intense contractions, and soon, a number of midwives were on hand, holding her, encouraging her, helping and supporting.
Amanda had told us that her previous birth had been en caul (baby was born surrounded by his amniotic sac still in tact) and she was hoping that if it happened again, that she'd get photos of it this time, Well... sure enough, using a mirror tool in the water, we could see that her baby was emerging surrounded by his amniotic sac! It was absolutely incredible to witness. I moved over and got my camera placed down low about an inch off the surface of the water, and aimed right at baby (as best as I could because baby was underwater and things aren't fully in focus underwater), as baby continued to emerge incredibly quickly.
Once his head was out, he stayed there for a few moments (which is common enough, while the rest of his body adjusts and turns a bit before being completely born) and it gave me a really beautiful opportunity to photograph him in his sac. We also noticed earlier on that his one of his hands was placed up high near his head, which is known as nuchal hand. It was absolutely spectacular and everyone in the room watched in awe and wonderment, smiling, wide-eyed, commenting quietly on how beautiful and rare this moment was, and how beautiful it was. Luckily the water was clear, and Amanda's position allowed us all to have an amazing view of his birth. Only 1 hour of active labour! 2cm to pushing baby out in 4 hours! The human body (and babies) are an incredible force of nature.
Finlay was born (in his amniotic sac/en caul) at 10:49PM on April the 6th, 2017, and weighed in at 7 pounds and 11 ounces. Huge thanks to Amanda and Adam for hiring me to document their birth journey and many more thanks to them for allowing me to share their birth story with you. I hope they fill you with the same awe and amazement that I was filled with when taking these photos.
After going home and then heading back to the Birth Centre, I ran into Amanda's room, and about 30 minutes later, Finlay would be born.
Baby was guided by the midwife from the back to Amanda's front with the help of the midwife in front, then was placed swiftly to her chest.
A gorgeous head of slippery perfectly coiffed hair from having his sac covering him! He was born with an amazing hairstyle.
Newborn exam expertly provided by Hailey, a student midwife who was present for this birth and was just fantastic.
Discharged home at 02:15 AM, 3 hours after birth. What a beauty of a birth this was!
I document birth stories with a passion, and would love to work with you on documenting your own birth story. Each story is unique and has its own challenges and amazingness. No two are the same! Some are long, some are swift, some are more predictable, while others are complete surprises. I love all birth stories. Contact me for a no-obligation chat about your own thoughts and dreams about your birth story. I would love to hear from you and find out what you would like captured. Fill out the form on my website, or give me a call (my number is listed on that form)... I'd love to hear from you!
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