It was Friday at 1am when I got “the call”. I was half expecting it, as Morgan had been experiencing contractions on and off all day, although nothing could have prepared me for the next 15 hours. When I answered the phone, I could already hear the pain in her voice, the hurried pace, short breaths, strained words; “Its time.”
(I also had the opportunity to capture Morgan’s labor and delivery on video! Want to see her (modestly edited) birth?! Click Here!)
Not only was this the first home birth that I had ever experienced, but it was the first birth period that I had ever seen. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and wasn’t quite sure how I would react, but the moment I stepped foot into that house, I knew my world was going to get rocked.
As I arrived, Wes’s mom (new grandma) led me in to the house, and down the long dark hallway that led to Morgan and Wes’ master bedroom which had been swiftly remodeled into a birthing center. There was dim light, calming music, and a big blue tub.
What struck me first was how natural everything felt. If you are like me, than you grew up thinking that everyone has their baby in a hospital, with an epidural, a hospital gown, and a cute baby hat. I expected a home birth to feel daring, scary, or dangerous somehow… and yet it was the complete opposite. It was such a beautiful atmosphere, complete with a midwife who looked like mother nature, two almost grandmas, a mommy and daddy to be, the rapid click of my camera and I. Watching Morgan labor all over the room, finding different positions that helped ease the pain, and drinking her homemade “labor aide”, it all just made so much sense.
One of the most powerful things that I experienced that evening, and all of the next day, was the absolute devotion that Wes had for Morgan. It was obvious from the outside that he too was exhausted, uncomfortable, and starving, but he WOULD. NOT. LEAVE HER. Not even for a moment would he pry himself away, unless it was to get something for Morgan. Every position she labored in, he was there holding her up, supporting her from behind, or holding her hand. Those hand holds were SO powerful. They brought me to tears on more than one occasion, because it was so primal, so natural, and so beautiful. It was if their hands were magnetic, and when the time was right, there was no other option than to cling to each other for strength. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
This shot was taken somewhere around 4 in the morning. I was right there on the bed with them, tears streaming down my face, as Morgan breathed through the pain. Her fist just shot up into the air, and Wes grabbed it as if to transfer all of his strength to her in that moment. Nothing I can say could ever express the power and love that moment held.
Morgan… was incredible. She did hypno-birthing, and boy did she power through that pain like a calm beast. The pain I saw her in was more that I can even express to you. It took every fiber of her being to get through each 60 second contraction, all of her concentration and will. Every few minutes for 15 hours, that woman took on the pain like a warrior, and boy did she earn her stripes. She never once screamed, or said a cross word to anyone. Simply asking everyone around her to touch her, scratch her back, rub her head; she needed constant loving touch to get through it.
They say it takes a village, and they are totally right. Every single person in that room shared the multiple jobs, whether it be keeping the tub warm, scratching Morgan’s back, timing the contractions, the list goes on and on. At one point, I was massaging her right foot with one hand, and taking pictures with the other. It was so wonderful to see so many women (plus Wes) come together like that. No one had to say a word, everyone just fell in to place and did what needed to be done. The support system in that room was incredible.
It was finally time for Morgan to start pushing, and watching Gage come in to this world was more than overwhelming. I was literally 2 feet away from his head, taking pictures, and sobbing. Tears literally pouring down my face, as I clicked as quickly as I could. Luckily a good friend (thanks Sarah!) came at the last minute, and helped me shoot video from multiple angles. Once his head finally decided to make its way out, he popped out in a matter of one second, and he was here. Morgans pained face quickly transformed into a joyous smile, and the love just overflowed.
Having the opportunity to be a part of something like this changed my life. It created a bond with that little family that I will hold on to forever, and a love for that baby boy, that not many get to have. I watched his momma BIRTH him. I watched his first breath happen, his first gaze into mamas eyes, his first cry. I watched a family of two suddenly become a family of three. That day still brings me to tears when I think about it… heck, I’m crying right now
just writing this.
Mamas… If you are at ALL interested in having your birth photographed, I urge you to do it. Having the first moment that you meet your little baby is maybe the most precious thing to capture.. EVER. It is beautiful and raw and natural and miraculous. It really is a miracle… life that is.