A few months ago I was contacted by Kelly who was pregnant, due in November. We made a date to meet at her home and talk about birth and each other to see if we clicked. She and her husband are members of the Canadian Armed Forces and when I arrived at her house, I could quickly see that they were a modest couple, passionate about their toddler, with very little splendour and fancy decor, basic furniture, a few simple toys, and lots and lots of books for their daughter. On their diningroom table, a tray of the most delicious cupcakes. She offered me coffee, waddled off to the kitchen with her already-gorgeously round belly, and happily made me a cup, and joined me at her table. We enjoyed cupcakes and chatted about a myriad of things. I felt amazing in Kelly's company, like we could easily be old friends. I did not know at the time that I would go on to do 4 more sessions with her family, and even more planned on the horizon.
What was even more exciting was that Kelly is a huge homebirth advocate and gave me full consent to share her birth story with the world. As an artist who loves to tell a story through my images, this made me extremely happy. I work with clients who are very private and I work with clients who aren't. I love them all, right across the board and I always respect their wishes for privacy. However, I always feel like a little kid at Christmas, jumping up with glee, when I am told by a client to share, share, share it all! I love to share my work, because (a) I LOVE what I do, and it gives me added pleasure to share what I do with others, (b) when documenting birth, I believe that there is a strong need for education out in the world I live in, showing people of all ages and sexes and backgrounds what birth can look like. When I am given the opportunity to teach through my photography, I am so very happy! and finally, (c) I deeply admire and respect my clients who labour and birth and become parents. As a parent myself, I can so deeply appreciate the transformations that take place in peoples lives, when those first contractions come about. And in sharing a client's birth story, I am able to celebrate their remarkable achievements with a wider audience, and that just feels so great, to cheer them on with more love and more community surrounding me/them.
So this birth story blog post is for my beautiful client, Kelly and her husband Milo and the amazing adventure they embarked on, on the eve of November 15th, 2016.
Kelly has written up her birth story to share, in her own words. Here it is. Please enjoy the photos that follow.
I woke up at 5 am on Nov 15th, wondering if this would be the day I would finally meet my baby. I was 5 days overdue. My husband, Milo, and I were enjoying every extra day we had with our only child, a girl, because life as she knew it was about to change.
At 1030pm that evening I started to have contractions very close together and consistent. Milo called the midwife, Emily, who arrived within the hour. Great news as I was 6cm and today could be the day!!! I had been in touch with Elliana throughout the day, and at this time, texted her to come. Milo was walking me around the house through every contraction while filling the birth pool. The contractions were strong and breathing through them was very helpful. I had planned on using the birth tub for relief from contractions and to possibly birth baby in, but things turned out differently for me, and I needed to keep on the move during each surge. In between contractions I would rest on the couch and mentally prepare for the next contraction. Things progressed quickly and I was 8 cm by 130am. Contractions continued and I was looking forward to getting to 10cm and pushing. An hour had passed and I was still 8cm. Emily explained the pros and cons of breaking my water. Milo and I thought it best as we had been up for almost 24hours and knew I would need energy for pushing.
Breaking my water, in hindsight, was the best decision. My water was full of meconium and Emily discovered the baby was bum breech. After a short trip via ambulance to the hospital, an ultrasound confirmed bum breech. It was around 330am and I was very tired. The baby was doing well even with the meconium and I chose an epidural to get some rest and see if baby would move down or I would dilate to 10 cm. At 530am, Emily checked me and my body was not progressing. She explained what our options were. We chose a c-section and at 705am on 16 Nov, the Dr announced I had a boy. A huge surprise as we didn't know the sex but had assumed it was a girl. Our son, Romeo was born weighing 8lbs 5oz and 23 inches long. Romeo is named after the section Milo and I worked together in when we first met. Both of us are in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Life doesn't get any better. We feel so very blessed to have our healthy baby boy home getting acquainted with his older sister.
10 days later, I paid the family a visit (with cupcakes in tow)...
(lifestyle newborn session will be up on the blog soon)
I just wanted to say that even though Kelly's birth did not go at all the way she had planned, or expected it to, everyone still remained as positive as possible, and Kelly worked through some hard moments and with the support of her wonderful husband Milo, and the care and support and empoowerment provided by their amazing midwives Emily and Heidi, as well as the welcoming, empathetic, warm nurses and doctors who greeted us all at Womens' High Risk Labour & Delivery unit, this really was a wonderful experience for everyone involved.
As a former nurse and health care aid, I was made to feel very welcome back on a unit I spend years working on, and as a birth photographer, I was welcomed and accepted in the best possible way I could have hoped for.
So big thanks to all members of all the teams that were in some way involved in the birth of Romeo.