Malcolm’s birth was special for many reasons. One of the big ones for me is that his birth was the first time I have photographed THREE births for ONE family. My first three-peat, if you will. I met Diana when she was just days from being due with her first baby, Evangeline. We spent twenty-one long hours together as she and Stephan worked to bring Evangeline into the world.
Then a few years later, speedy Vivica, who took her sweet time starting labor, raced into the world before I even got to the hospital. I met Vivica when she was twenty minutes old and her mom was beaming in triumph over her completely intervention-free birth. My heart soared for the new family of four.
Finally, on April 12th, Malcolm made his debut a couple of weeks earlier than any of us expected. Determined not to miss the actual birth this time, I showed up to the hospital when Diana was still in the early, early stages of labor. I settled in, thinking we would have quite a bit of time before baby made his appearance. But after a short while, Diana started closing her eyes and breathing through contractions, a sign that they were strong enough to require some focus. She listened to her hypnobirthing affirmations on her phone and just kept breathing. Long slow breaths. Strong, but not forced. It was amazing to watch. Diana’s doula, the wonderful Paula, laid cool cloths on Diana’s forehead and gently rubbed her arm, responding to Diana’s needs and preserving the almost-reverent atmosphere in the room. I say almost-reverent because Eva and Viv were also in the room, eating their snacks and exploring. Sweet Vivica, 18 months old, kept coming up to see what was going on with mama. She was a little doula herself.
And then there was a change. Soft moans escaped with Diana’s breathing, a sign that the intensity of labor was increasing. But Diana was handling things so well, so calmly, I don’t think any of us realized how close baby was to joining us in the room. There was quite a scramble with the midwife and nurses when it became obvious that baby was coming NOW. Diana had us all fooled. 🙂
One of my favorite moments from this birth was looking over at Stephan immediately after his son was born. He was hugging his two daughters and watching his son being lifted up onto his wife’s chest. There was more than a little emotion on his face and it was beautiful. I also love that Evangeline and Vivica had front row seats for their brother’s birth. I love birth as a family event, and I love watching families grow right before my eyes.
Welcome to the world, little Malcolm!