I got into birth photography because I love birth. The act of bringing a new life into this world, no matter how it happens, is always breathtaking for me. Capturing someone's birth story leaves me floating on a cloud for days. It is always an honor to be invited into one of the most sacred moments someone will ever experience.
There are some births, however, that are extra special. This is one of those times. This beautiful mama, Charity, is a friend from my very first teaching job almost 10 years ago. We attended each other's weddings and saw each other almost daily for two years. When I got married and moved, we kept in touch here and there through social media. My heart broke for her as she shared some of her journey through infertility and ultimately, IVF (in-vitro fertilization). I prayed for her and her husband many times, and I was thrilled (I may have squealed) when they announced their IVF cycle was successful. You can only imagine my excitement when they invited me to photograph the birth of this long awaited little girl.
I texted with Charity the night she checked into the hospital to prepare for induction. I had my mom on call to watch my kids when I needed to head to the hospital, and we waited. And waited some more. It seemed induction wasn't working right away. They stayed a second night in the hospital and early the following morning, the doctors were finally able to get things moving.
I sent my kids to grandma's house for the day and planned to run a couple of errands while I waited for "the call" letting me know it was time to head to the hospital. I had just walked through the doors of my very first stop when I got a call that things were moving pretty fast. I was a little nervous because I live and hour and a half (without traffic) to the hospital where she was delivering. Thankfully, I made it at the perfect time!
When I arrived shortly after 11 A.M., Charity had opted to get an epidural and was trying to get some rest before the main event. She had been checked recently and was dilated 9 centimeters.
I chatted with her husband, Mark, and caught up on life since we had last seen each other. Mark's mom was also there. She sat with Charity most of the time holding her hand and watching the monitor.
About an hour after I arrived, a nurse came in to perform a cervical check and declared it was time to push!
After about 45 minutes of pushing, the beautiful Arabella was welcomed earthside at 1:01 P.M. I was struggling to hold back my own tears, so I was just praying my photography skills were enough to work through blurred vision.
Being a birth photographer has its challenges: on call life, never knowing how long you'll be present at a birth, marketing in a culture that doesn't always view birth with the same reverence I feel... It's all hard, but being a witness and capturing the miraculous never ceases to overflow my cup with joy.