I’m going out of order here. I’ve photographed three births in the last three months (which I’d say is a lot for having my own little baby only four months ago!), and they ALL have great stories and images that I’m excited to share. But I’m going to start with Graehl’s birth story since it’s in front of me now.
Torie’s first child, Emery, was born five days before her due date, so since I believe that babies generally like to cook for a similar amount of time as their siblings, I was not surprised when Torie texted at 5:30pm five days before her due date to say that she had been having mild and sporadic contractions throughout the day. At 9pm she said I could head on over. When I got there, the candles were glowing, the tea was steeping, and the tub was filled and ready. Torie was chatty and laughing, pausing just a bit during contractions, and breathing beautifully through them. I thought I was probably there a bit early, but second-time moms can progress really quickly, so I wasn’t too worried. But then Trevor texted me to tell me I had forgotten to take my medicine (blood thinners that have to be taken at the same time every day). Heather, Torie’s midwife, thought I’d be fine to go home for a bit, so I left, though rather reluctantly. I asked Torie and Alex to call if/when things changed, and in hindsight, it probably was a good thing to have left instead of making Torie feel like a watched pot.
Around 12:30am, Alex called and said it was time to come back. When I walked through the door, I could tell the atmosphere had changed. THIS was labor. In the tub now, Torie still smiled between contractions, but she was definitely working hard. Alex held her hands and lent her his strength while she was in the tub and on the tablecloth-covered couch. Emery woke up toward the end and their neighbor Robin came over to be with her as she watched her mama work to get baby Graehl out. At 4:19am, squatting with Alex supporting her, Torie pushed Graehl AND his bag of water out into Heather’s hands. Once his head was out, Heather slipped a finger inside the amniotic sac and pulled it back over his head. I had never seen an en caul birth before and it was pretty amazing — and extra hard for Torie! Being born in the caul is a good omen in many cultures; Graehl was off to a wonderful start!
After the newborn exam and a successful nursing session, the whole family made their way upstairs to bed. I love saying goodnight to a newly expanded family like that! One of the great things about home birth is that you don’t have to GO anywhere and can just relax and snuggle and rest in the comfort of your own bed. It’s fabulous! Here are some images from that night/morning:
And here is the whole story. Keep an eye out for THE BEST dad reaction to his baby being born.
Congratulations, Torie and Alex! I’m so, so happy for you!