I just got done telling her mom how babies between 6 months and 3 years NEVER wear hats. Mom thought that would be the case with baby girl as well. Turns out, we were so very wrong. We couldn’t get the hat *away* from her!
We had such a fine time this afternoon. I give you Exhibit B:
(I apologize for the camera shake…I was laughing too hard to pay attention to technique by this point.)
The bad thing about blogging sessions is that it can be a little tedious to post images and in the end, there are so many that you don’t ever get to see. I’ve been showcasing sessions here and there and I would like to try to do that more, starting with this newborn session. When I walked into their home, everything was crisp, clean, and modern. Mom happens to be a photographer herself and I know she must LOVE the absolutely perfect soft light that makes the whole living area glow beautifully. Of course, a perfectly snuggly, perfectly sleepy, and perfectly perfect little baby boy doesn’t hurt either.
And the full session:
(Dying to see how your book turns out, J…you’ll have to send me some pics!)
I’m going to *try* to just narrow it down to a few favs for the blog. But I’m not promising anything. Aren’t they a BEAUTIFUL family? And such a joy to work with them. The kids had great personalities and everyone was game for whatever I threw at them. Truly couldn’t have asked for a better session!
Okay. This is just too difficult. I can’t help myself. Here’s their session in full:
I have to admit I’m a little bit emotional blogging about this birth. What an incredible honor to have been invited to photograph this birth! It was such a quick and beautiful event. Peace. The room was filled with peace. As much as I try to approach a birth experience from a purely professional and objective point of view, it’s difficult at times to not get wrapped up in the emotions of it all. I teared up quite a few times that evening. So much love. So much support. To be honest, I had to keep reminding myself that mom was indeed actually in labor…she was so lucid and smiling almost the entire time…there were times I doubted that she could possibly be giving birth ;-). And her eldest daughter? The way she cared for her mama during the labor process and the way she looked at her new baby sister for the first time…wow!
I’ve posted the full birth slideshow below, but first, a few notes:
- A confession – I know I was on call for this birth, but I was totally caught off guard on this one. I had a newborn session that morning, worked all afternoon, put the kids to bed, and had settled in for a nice evening with the hubs when my phone rang:
Notice, this call was only 51 sec. long. For whatever reason, I had just assumed I was going to be woken up in the middle of the night with THE call. I have to admit that I panicked when mom told me she was already 7 cm. I wanted to be there SO badly to capture this incredible event and I was soooooo scared I wasn’t going to make it there in time. But I did. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
- Here’s a pic of her eldest daughter on the phone while mom was in labor. She was talking to her grandmother (mom’s mom). Baby girl said this (and I kid you not): "Mom’s a little busy right now." I hope mom heard this quote.
- She made this whole labor thing look ridiculously easy. How beautiful is this mom-to-be? Wow!
- Notice how the shape of her belly changes as baby girl gets further down the birth canal:
- And the attentiveness of her children. (I see a future midwife in her older daughter, I swear).
- It always amazes me how mom can fall *completely* asleep in the middle of labor, as in completely unaware of anything except yourself and the baby still inside. It is quite a beautiful thing and it usually happens right before pushing. I know it’s nature’s way. I know I did this myself with each of my kids. But it just still impresses me after all of that work and build up, mom’s body knows exactly what to do and when to rest and gear up for the task ahead. The whole process makes so much sense, it’s insane.
- How quickly baby girl is actually born. I swear, it was only a few pushes and she was here!
- How mom looks holding her baby for the first time. That’s the part that really gets me:
- How cool it is that all of that post partum stuff takes place right there in front of her new family. At no time is baby whisked away from mama’s sight. That, to me, is one of the most wonderful things about a birth at home…you’re never apart from your new baby. You’re always present and aware of everything that is happening after your baby is born, which for a new mom, is an immensely important thing.
- Whenever a baby is born, I like to try to give mom at least a few minutes of privacy with her new baby without my shutter clicking in the background. So once I’m sure I’ve gotten all of the important stuff, I’ll steal away for a couple of minutes to let mom and dad look at their new baby alone. This is always my favorite time because I get to share the good news with my husband. Somehow, he’s always just as excited as I am when he hears that a new baby has been welcomed into the world:
- The slideshow features original music by the *very* talented husband of a photographer friend of mine. Photogs…you should check out his music for sale. PT4P v3 members actually get one of these songs as part of v3 and a special offer.
Now for the slideshow. Mama…thank you again for inviting me to capture this event for you and for letting me pass along this birth story with the blog readers. It gives me so much joy to share the magic of a homebirth and the power of birth photography! If you are in the Austin area and would like to see more information on birth photography or want your birth photographed, please contact me as soon as possible. FYI: I do not have any more birth sessions available for 2009 and 2010 is already booking up.
(Can’t view this or want to view larger? Click HERE. You may want to let the video buffer all the way through before watching).
Photographing a c-section birth is such a vastly different experience for me. Without the jitters of wondering how mom’s labor will go (or when), I can relax a little bit and take the time to really observe the relationships and everyone’s reactions to what’s going on. I can also get pics of the things mom isn’t able to see while she’s recovering. Wow, V! How exciting (and scary) it must have been to know that you were going to go into that room with one child and come out as a mother of two, with a brand new baby. Just like that! From my perspective, it was so very peaceful, so quick, so miraculous. I was honored to have been part of that beautiful day and to document this for him and his family–especially the part where the brothers meet for the first time. It always cracks me up how the siblings just aren’t too sure what to make of this new, wrinkly toy! (Oh yes! A special thanks to Lyndsay for inspiring the door shots ;-).
I’ve been meaning to share some stills from the video session, but when mom shared this poem to her kids the other day, it was just the inspiration I needed to get on the ball. These words to her children are straight from her heart, but I think any parent can relate:
I wish you rainbows
And lollipops of every hue;
I wish you miles of family walks too.
I wish you bubbles to greet you at your door;
And rays of sunshine to keep you warm.
I wish you puzzles with every piece;
And that you still find wonder in the tiniest treat.
May you always have a bed or ball on which to bounce;
And an old laundry basket to hop in and be pushed about.
That you always find the perfect hill down which to run;
And a still lake to pitch rocks on.
I wish you big boxes in which to hide;
An imagination to fill them with treasures inside.
Let there be birds and soaring planes to watch overhead;
Your favorite song on the radio that makes you bop your head.
I wish you a full belly, and a strong, gentle heart;
And that sticks and stones and words not tear you apart.
I wish you laughs from tickled toes;
And blushing smiles that only innocence can know.
I wish you nights of the most restful sleep;
And days that fulfill your innermost dreams.
But most of all, may you always know,
The memory of my hugs and kisses deep within your soul.
I had mentioned his birth was timely. Here’s the story…
I was sure mama would go early. She was sure she would be late. Almost two weeks after her due date had come and gone, she was finally scheduled for an induction. I was determined to make it to this birth no matter what. Mama was determined to have a natural and intervention-free childbirth no matter what. I have never seen someone with such a strong vision and ability to make a birth go exactly as she wanted it to go. In fact, the day of the “induction,” she had evidently already gone into labor all on her own and there turned out to be no induction necessary.
So that morning, I was running around getting ready for a surprise party I was hosting but certain I wouldn’t be able to attend. I stayed in contact with mom and dad on the phone, checking on progress, anxiously awaiting the final call. While I was out running errands for the party, I got to make a short visit (North Austin Medical Center–great facility, btw!!) and snapped a few pics before things kicked into high gear. It was lovely to be able to chat and share a little bit of that anticipation, joy, and excitement before the real hard work of labor had set in. Amazingly enough, I even got to attend the party I’d been working on.
Early that evening, I called dad again. This time I could tell by the sounds in the background that it was indeed time to witness a miracle. His mommy and daddy told me I could let you witness it, too ;-)
A few things to note before you watch:
1. It was dark. Very, very, very dark. In fact, it was darkest birth I’ve ever photographed. I wouldn’t dream of using a flash around a laboring mother or a tender newborn, so I was dependent upon a single light in the room..the light on the baby warmer several feet away from the laboring couple. To be honest, I can’t believe I was able to capture what I did (thank goodness for the Mark II and my 50 1.2). But you know what? I love it! The birth itself was so very intimate…I was merely peeking in…and the dim, raw nature of the images reflects the mood in the room that day perfectly.
2. The song is “Knocked Up” from Kings of Leon. I first heard it here(btw, I absolutely ADORE Alicia’s work!) a while back and was humming it all the way into town the day of his birth. It seemed only fitting to use it in this video.
3. Her doctor was phenomenal. I’ve never seen a doctor so patient an so in tune with a laboring woman. Really remarkable.
4. There are three distinct times when mama sees her baby. Watch for the difference when mom simply sees her baby and when she truly sees him. It makes me tear up every time.
Thank you, thank you, thank you again to August’s mommy and daddy for inviting me to be a part of this incredible day. Your family is simply beautiful!
[If you are expecting and would like to have your birth professionally photographed, please visit this page for more information. I only have a few birth session openings left for this year. Photographers seeking information on birth photography are welcome to join in the open discussion on the PT4P members' only message board.]