The birth workers network in the small state of New Hampshire is a very small tight knit community. I learned this first hand last September when I was referred by a midwife that I had never met to photograph her clients home birth. Mary and I instantly hit it off at our first meeting to discuss what she envisioned of her birth. She shared with me that she wanted to capture the raw emotion of birth and the connection between she and her husband.
As a Birth Photographer in NH, this was to be my first home birth experience and I was so excited to have Mary as my client. She had such a calming presence and was so sweet to work with. On the morning of November 6th (almost 2 weeks after her due date), I got the call that I had been waiting for...Mary's water had broken. Although she was having minor contractions, her husband went to work and I told her to keep me posted as the day went on. 12 hours later, I got the call to come.
Walking into a woman's birth space is very special to me. Everyone labors differently and Mary was laboring beautifully in the birthing tub when I arrived. Her midwife, Beth, her doula and her husband Phil were all there supporting her through each contraction. It was powerful to watch. Mary spent the next few hours rocking, swaying and just trying to work that baby down...and then her contractions all but stopped. We all went to bed to get some rest and would regroup in the morning.
The morning light was beautiful and as the sun was coming up, Mary's birth team all met over breakfast in her kitchen to discuss the plan to get this baby earth-side. We fed her, got her moving and tried the tub again. Her contractions were very sporadic and by 11:30am, everyone except Phil and Beth left to give her some space. Then the decision was made to transfer to Concord Hospital.
Mary had worked so hard to have the Home Birth of her dreams and I know that she felt disappointed but what happened next was purely magical in my opinion. I arrived at the hospital at 6pm on Tuesday, November 7th and witnessed a team of nurses and doctors who were so supportive of what Mary wanted and were willing to listen to Beth and help Mary have a Home Birth in a Hospital.
For the next 10 hours, Mary labored hard in the tub, rocking in the rocking chair and listening to her Hypnobirthing recordings on her iPod. Beth and Phil were there every step of the way supporting her in whatever she needed. Mary was able to listen to her body and in the final moments before delivery she stood leaning on her bed and just started pushing when her body told her to. The doctor was amazing and I remember her saying "well I have never delivered a baby like this before". This is where the magical moments happened. The OB sat on the floor behind Mary and Beth, her midwife, talked the OB through how to "let gravity to the work". I remember one moment when Beth took the doctor's hand and just helped her to guide the baby's head. Watching these women work as a team was AWESOME and a few minutes later, Mary amazed us all when she pushed for the final time and caught her own baby. Yes, I know women do this all the time but to see it happen in a hospital setting was beautiful and this is why I like to refer to this birth as a Home Birth in a Hospital. View the Birth Story of Quint and see the catch for yourself HERE.
Quint took almost 48 hours to come into the world but once he was ready, he came out fast and furious. Weighing in at 8lbs 4oz, he was such a chill baby from the start. The first couple hours of a baby's life is so precious and as a Birth Photographer, being able to capture the first latch, all of the measurements and bonding time as a new family are truly precious and my absolute favorite part of the birth experience.
Thank you to Mary and Phil for choosing me to be their to capture their Birth Story and thank you to Beth Gaby for connecting us. It was an experience that I will never forget and reminds me that I truly have the best job in the world!
If you are expecting a baby or know someone who is, I would love to talk to you about documenting your Birth Story. Contact me today for a free consultation and sign up below to receive your FREE Client Guide.