I get a lot of different reactions when I tell people that births are one of my very favorite things to photograph. Maybe some puzzled questions, polite nodding, even horrified expressions—they really run the gamut. And I love seeing it every single time.
To me, a birth is transformative for every single person the room. There are two people becoming parents; a mom who is meeting the little human who has grown inside of her for months. Marriages shift immediately when that baby is born. A new little human now takes precedence. Even the nurses, doctors, midwives and doulas who see it every single day—each birth is different and they are learning from every mom they treat, every baby who is born.
Photographing a birth is like photographing this transformation. The whole experience is the story of the very first day of the baby’s life. I could cry just thinking about it. I love, love doing it.
Hannah’s labor and delivery was only my second birth. And it was almost completely different than the first. This was her and Nick’s first baby. And I have been saying it was a tale of two births, because there was a huge distinction between the first half of the day and the second.
She transitioned to almost 10 centimeters in comedically easy fashion. Over the course of a few hours, all she needed was a few deep breaths, some pressure on her back from Nick and a soak in the hot tub and she was almost there. We thought she would be pushing within the hour.
And then we waited. For eight and a half more hours. Hannah did this drug-free. She was a rockstar. And then she was finally allowed to push. Which she did. For four hours. Did I mention she was a rockstar?
With a little assistance from the doctor, Nora Madeline Grace made her appearance at 2:30 in the morning. I’ve never seen such complete relief and love on people’s faces. Nick and Hannah were so elated to meet her and so ready to start their life as a family of three.
Being there that day meant more to me than they’ll ever know and I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing new life come into this world. There is so much hope. So many possibilities. Never-ending love. If you see a baby being born and don’t get all spiritual, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. That shit is a miracle.
Much love to you, Lesley Family. Thank you so much for inviting me in for this miracle. Nora is just perfect.
Stay tuned, because I’ll be sharing the slideshow of Nora’s birth tomorrow and ya might need some tissues.