Oh sweet girl, oh sweet mama. This family was amazing to work with. I first captured photos for them when I was in the very beginning stages of learning photography, and since have been able to watch their family grow through years of photos- a truly magical thing for me.
This birth, was going to be a special one. Mama and me shared part of our pregnancies together, along with some unique challenges during them. This was also the last birth I attended before the birth and loss of my own baby girl.
I remember holding this little baby girl after she was born, (while her mama got some food to eat and relaxed for a moment after labor) a baby in my arms, and one in my womb, it was a very special feeling. A connection.
This mamas spirit is beautiful and youthful, and her birth story is joyous. I remember being so worried I was going to miss her birth, being on my toes and checking my phone all the time. I just wanted to be there for her SO much. I lived only 15 minutes from the hospital, and when I got the call I booked it over there, my car running on "will I miss it?" anxiety vibes. I arrived just as they were settling in. They laughed at my prompt arrival, but I sensed it was to be a short labor, so I am glad for my nerves looking back! Mama's contractions were already strong and steady and the air was pregnant with giddy delight of what was to come.
We all had conversations and sweet words with each other, we whispered to baby with little encouragements, and tried to keep mama comfortable. I remember the nurses and I trying to get dad involved, getting him to rub her back, or hold her hand. He was a bit out of his element, at one point someone put him in charge of fanning mama when she was hot- something that quickly turned from a task into a comedic relief we kept coming back to.
He couldn't quite get the hang of it, and switched from either underachieving and barely getting any air on her, to dramatically over achieving- fanning with both hands and blowing items off of the table next to her in gusts of wind, even accidently hitting mama with the fan once or twice. Everyone (including the nurses, mama, and the dad himself) found humor in these attempts. He was just so excited, maybe a little nervous. It was a treat to have laughter in the birth space, such a good rush of hormones comes with it. It helps us relax and lets off oxytocin hormones that aide labor and delivery so grandly. It was all in good fun, and before we knew it baby was coming!
Mama was so calm and collected, it took all by surprise when she went from a deep quiet contraction to an "oh my gosh she's coming!" We all thought she had at least a couple hours to go. I rushed close just after the doctor arrived at the end of the bed, to catch the photos of baby being handed to mama. The emotion on her face melted me. The awe and quiet reserve on dads face, such a contrast from the laughter- was enough to make anyone cry. So much beauty in that moment. Though, the serious air broke again when dad had to be asked to stop aggressively fanning mom and baby lol! Dad also gave me a couple comedic shots of him holding the cord cutting scissors with a menacing grin- so funny and full of it.
I remember now, looking back, so many little moments. I remember admiring the deep and incomparable beauty of mama, and her gorgeous freckles. The way the family sat at a distance, not wanting to disturb the process- eagerly and quietly on the edge of their seats just waiting for that special moment of birth to come. There was such a ease to this birth space. With the pretty flowered walls and the calm expecting family moments. There was no pressure, just peace all around.
Oh the moments after birth, they were even more tender. When dad first glimpsed that babe (my heart still skips a beat with that photo) and when He held her for the first time, wearing a mask because he didn't want baby to catch a cold he'd had a week earlier. So much protection and love for his little girl, and some of my favorite photos I've taken.
Baby fit so perfectly in this mothers arms, and it looked like she had always just been there, a part of her, a puzzle piece that made everything look whole. I loved listening to mama give her her chosen name, knowing from our personal connection how much love and purpose went into it.
Then as if things couldn't get any sweeter, this baby girls two big brothers came to visit. The joy on her eldest sons face! He was so proud to be a big brother again, so in awe of how tiny this little life was that they held out to him. Even the youngest brother showed such tenderness and love before returning to play with his toys. It was one of the best meeting moments ever!
Grandpa got in on the fun too, and there is nothing quite like watching a little girl melt a strong mans heart. He shied away from the camera at first, not because he didn't want to be photographed but because he was tender and wanted this babe to get every ounce of attention, didn't want his presence to take away from that. Everyone that came near this sweet angel was smitten, to be near her was to love. She was absolutely perfect. She had the BEST baby toes ever, and she kept holding them up perfectly for my camera, mama says she still holds her feet like that to this day. I just love it.
Everyone left, and I stayed with mama. The air was still filled with magic, but the lights dimmed and the energy did with them. Now there was stillness and space, and quiet reminiscing. I will always treasure those tender moments at this birth. And I will always find such joy looking back on these photos, as I hope this sweet mama does. She was strong, and fierce. She was incredible, and still is. Such an incredible mama bear.<3 Such a good birth day.