*This is a beautiful birth video, & includes adult words. Viewer discretion advised.*
Strong, courageous, and level-headed: This woman was every sense of the meaning, "birth warrior". The waves crashed over her for hours, and she rode them with so much grace. With her husband on one hand, her birth doula on the other, her team of midwives all around, and all of her loved ones watching, waiting...she gave birth at home, in water.
I had the extreme honor of photographing her previous labor & delivery, which was an incredible surrogate birth at Kootenai County Medical Center. In this all-video film you will see how amazingly she listened to and trusted her body, and amazingly roared her baby Earthside. I see so many women get into this primal state as they deliver their babies, and this mom was no different. She growled, grit her teeth, and let her body take over to push her baby girl out. This process is always so awe-inspiring, and simply never gets old! A huge shout out to this mom's partner and husband, who was there by her side through every single second of this labor...to Julie Denlinger as the most amazing space-holder and hip squeezer I have ever seen...and to the amazing team at Spokane River Midwives for the most calm, collected presence you bring to each and every birth.
I was called to this home by mom's doula on May 22nd, at 12:26pm. I happened to be at the new Birth Center in Post Falls taking pictures for them when we got the text, and so we finished up and headed out all together. I had my own 3 month old baby with me, so I dropped him back off at home with daddy, and made my way to this mom's house. This woman was obviously very focused during contractions, but still laughing in between contractions, which was such an uplifting environment to walk into and begin documenting.
With BirthTube recording in the background for over 1,000 viewers across the world, she gave birth to the most beautiful, calm little girl. She was so quiet even, that the midwives seemed a little concerned for a bit...but nothing to worry about! She was simply born into a calm environment, and needed a tiny bit of assistance to give us a good cry. The midwives did an AMAZING job at staying calm in what could have been a scary situation to others who don't know what all the variations of normal birth look like. Baby's color turned pink so quick, she gripped on tight to the midwives' finger as she laid skin-to-skin on mom's chest, and looked around at everyone watching her, in total awe of her new journey. All the newborn checks were done while the baby was still with mom, and her cord not cut until mom was resting in her fresh clean bed. This mama's doula brought her a plate of food, a big drink of electrolyte water, and was left to nurse and bond with baby. After the placenta was safely delivered, baby was weighed and measured on their bed, all while their birth team cleaned up the delivery area...then one-by-one, everyone left the house with a full heart for this family.
Welcome to the World, baby E! Your family is truly amazing, and I can't wait to watch you grow up big, strong, and brave...just like your badass mama. ;)
Natalie Bee is a Spokane, Washington-based Birth Doula and Photographer, a mother of four willings, and a PNW native.