Updated: Mar 21, 2018
Birth is a very private moment and we very much respect that as do the medical professionals in your room. We work together as a professional team to have the best possible experience for you!!
If you continue to read on we will share with you our 2 birth stories, one the most pleasant birth I could have asked for, the second one from your worst nightmare and we went through BOTH! Our birth story is where we begin to show our journey to becoming a Birth Photographer and why we are so incredibly passionate about our job!
Our Firth Birth - Isabella
Your first baby, it's something that your excited and anxious about all at the same time. You spend your time picking out cute little outfits, creating a nursery, spending countless amounts of money on craving food all in the lead up to the big day.
"One thing you never expect as a first time mum is for the big day to come early!"
From weeks 30 through to 35 we had countless hospital trips in early labour, including an ambulance trip transfer to King Edwards Memorial Hospital where the paramedics were preparing to deliver your baby on the side of the freeway. With amazing efforts by medical staff, constant medication and lots of bed rest baby managed to stay put for a little bit longer. Around the corner at 36weeks our waters broke and we knew it was time. Getting to the hospital in the middle of the night, barely considered in active labour, on the ground screaming for an epidural. Yea I am that mum that doesn't cope well with pain.
I glared my mum up and down as she tried to take photos to capture my labour for me, just like I had asked. I didn't even know there was such thing as a birth photographer and if I had of hired one, I'm sure I wouldn't have stared at her so evil. There was no nice photos at all in my early stages of labour, not because they weren't achievable but because my hormones and emotions made me want to scream at every person in the room I knew. My midwives were about the only people I was nice to.
After my epidural, and 4 hours of sleep, finally a half descent image was taken. I can still pick a million things I don't like about it but its the only one from labour I have. I wish someone would have taken an image of my mum being 110% there for me as she was my rock through my whole pregnancy, labour and into motherhood.
Shift change over happened and my antenatal coach just happened to walk through my door. It was the most amazing feeling to know my delivering midwife would be a lady that I had spent time with prior to labour that I had built a relationship with.
We knew I was about 9cm at this point so it wasn't far off. OH MY GOSH that burning ring of fire feeling, to announce its burning and having your midwife standing in the corner jumping up and down going
"Yippeeee, somethings happening"
even had me laughing to have such a wonderful atmosphere to birth into!
Indeed I was crowning, 2 pushes later and I had a beautiful baby girl weighing 5pound 6ounces on my chest. Very few photos taken and most were blurry and of course I spent at least the next few days on my phone taking pictures of her but non at a quality that I could blown up onto my wall.
Our Second Birth - Benjamin
Now our second birth is something you would see in your worst nightmare. Our experience is not one we take lightly, we know that it can frighten a lot of mum's, especially first time mum's but its not common and this is the experience that shaped our journey into Birth Photography.
We went into this pregnancy with a gut feeling it would be another premature birth but we still weren't prepared. At 31+5 weeks my partner(Lee) flew out to Karratha for work and within hours, our waters started leaking. Confirmed at hospital that it was indeed our waters, we were placed on bed rest with regular medication in the hopes that they could stop labour. It didn't but it did slow down labour enough to get steroid injections in to mature babies lungs. On day 2, contractions became 3-5minutes apart and progressively stronger. Calling Lee at 4am to be on the next flight home if he wanted to be there for the birth.
This is where I say a huge thank you to his company for getting him on that flight!
By 2pm he was at the hospital and contractions were starting to spread out from the medication but not gone completely. Lee went home for a sleep that night only to be woken at 4am again that labour was a go ahead and dilation had begun. Racing to the hospital, my Mother In Law (Jeanette) driving down from Joondalup to be there, little did we know we still have over 12hours to go.
I was extremely tired, I was not dilating well and my stress and anxiety was reaching its peak. Late in the afternoon I finally hit 7cm and I was begging for an epidural to be hit with the remark "your not in active labour" No woman wants to hear that when they are at their absolute mental breaking point, not to mention the fact that her statement is completely untrue, 7cm is active labour. With Jeanette requesting a word with the person in charge, I finally got my epidural, a much needed relief on my body that allowed me to rest.
Finally at 10cm the midwife decided to fully pop my waters and I splashed her head to toe. I wish someone got that in a photo, would have been a good memory to look back on and giggle. A moment of happiness among a day of anger and fear. We pushed and we pushed, and we pushed some more. 2 hours passed and not much seemed to be happening. Slowly over the 2 hours a few more midwives and an obstetrician joined the team. Upon the obstetrician's inspection it was announced baby was back to back and not descending well. I was given some time to think did I want an assisted delivery or did I was a caesarean section. I was determined to not go for surgery but proceeded to say "Just get my baby here safely" I left the decision in his hands.
It was at that moment the most horrid alarm bells started screaming. Baby was officially in distress and this was make or break moment. My room suddenly had 30+ people in it from midwives, to specialists, to who knows who else to be honest, and if I saw them today I couldn't pick any of their faces out of a crowd. The only thing I remember is someone with the head out the door screaming down the corridor "Where's the anaesthetist?" It all happened so fast, before I knew it I had a full spinal block in, I'm being prepped for a C-Section in birth suite and the delivering doctor all of a sudden pulls this tiny baby from me using forceps before any other staff member could second guess the decision. But that wasn't the end of the road.
I laid on that bed for what felt like a lifetime, in reality about 2-3 minutes and I heard nothing. You could have dropped a pin in that room and heard it. The panda bed where baby lay was surrounded with all the medical staff and finally Ben let out a cry. I can not tell you how magical it is to hear your newborns cry when you aren't even sure if they are alive!
Within moments he was wheeled away to the NICU, Lee went with him. I was left with no staff in my room and laid on the bed, paralyzed from a spinal block feeling alone and empty. Jeanette held me as I cried, she was amazing but it didn't change the fact I felt alone, empty and no child on my chest doing skin to skin like what every mother dreams of.
Lee returns about half an hour later, with tears in his eyes and a photo to show. No parent wants to see their child on breathing support, a feeding tube, IV's coming out of their tiny little body but under all of that you see a perfect baby that should still have been inside. It was still a few hours before I would get to see him for myself. Lee picked me up and carried me to the shower, in my complete nakedness, with my only care being to see my child. Finally as the spinal block began to wear off, I was put in a wheelchair and taken to go see my son. Reality still had not hit home, I was beyond exhausted and I just sat there and cried afraid to touch him in the fear he would break.
After my discharge from hospital we spent 4 long, painstaking weeks visiting him every day in his little plastic humidicrib box. Progress was slow, and we were lucky to have no setbacks but every time you leave that hospital without your baby in your arms, a little piece of your heart crumbles. The unbelievable love you have for them is what holds you strong.
Looking back on both of our births we wished there was a lot more photos to be able to remember the joyful moments, the see the unbelievable support given by not only my family but the staff that cared for me and my children,my son's weights and measurements as I was unable to be a part of them and most of all a photo of me and my family where one of us isn't behind the camera! These are my reasons for venturing into birth photography as I want to be able to share those memories and the healing the images can provide with other families. A simple natural birth, a complicated birth, a cesarean section planned or emergency, they all have beautiful moments in their story and I preserve them for you something I wish I had invested in myself!