17 days post-due date, in the quiet of the wee-morning hours (1:30am), I received a text saying, "we are filling up the pool, contractions are getting closer together". I packed my things immediately, and arrived to this beautifully serene moment not quite 30 minutes later. I could say a million things about this amazing couple, they really are each other's anchors. The way they soothed each other's souls during a time of great adversity brought tears to my eyes multiple times through this birth.
I wish every woman had a partner as attentive and loving as this mama has.
THIS is why birth documentation is so important...to look back on these
intimate moments together, working as a team to bring your baby Earthside.
Birth is unpredictable. Birth is HARD. I witnessed this mama fiercely birth their baby girl in water nearly 2 years ago, and let me tell you...she is beyond strong. Strong doesn't cover the amount of strength she has, both physically, and emotionally...so, when this family and midwife agreed to transfer to the hospital this time around, it was to be taken very seriously. Baby was in an awkward position, contractions were hard but irregular, mom was not only in a great deal of pain, but not dilating regularly. The choice was hers, and although her story was different than she had originally planned, she was still empowered by the support she received when they arrived at the hospital at nearly 10:30 that morning.
It didn't take long for her body to take over, dilate to where it needed to be, and feel the urge to push her baby boy out. With the most amazing support from her midwife, who advocated so fervently for this couple, she pushed while at the support bar and quickly realized this wasn't the position she was meant to be in. They switched her to hands-and-knees, and, although nothing seemed to lessen her discomfort in that moment, baby seemed to enjoy that position much better.
Let me tell you...that baby corkscrewed right out, with his cord wrapped around his legs! Instant relief for both mom (and dad). There really is nothing better than hearing those first gurgled cries, and seeing that cord thick, full with healthy blood.
He had arrived, all 9lbs + 22 inches of him, naturally, and safe.
Can I just shout from the rooftops right now, "TRANSFERS ARE NOT FAILURES!!!!"? Because they most definitely are not. It's true, this family's story is different than they anticipated, but it is just as beautiful, if not more than what they originally planned for. They were educated, empowered, and took it upon themselves to do what they felt was best for both mom and baby.
Through these images, I feel like I captured this couple's love for one another just perfectly. Selfless, encouraging, bonded. The room may have been filled to the brim with extra bodies due to the nature of transfer, but it were as if it was just them in the room together, nothing else mattered in this moment. Before sneaking out, the midwife gently hugged mom, and silently let her know how proud she was of her.
Tears fell from many eyes this day, as they welcomed their 3rd baby into the world. Congratulations to this now-family of 5! I want to thank this family so much for choosing me to capture another birth story for them, it makes me beyond happy to follow families through these milestones, especially families as sweet as this.
Natalie Bee is a Spokane, Washington-based Birth Doula and Photographer, a mother of four willings, and a PNW native.