Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Coolest Job.
Well, I think I've found it, the coolest job! Being the mother of three young girls, I can't really dedicate my own life to it right now, but someday I would love to be a Birth Photographer! It's almost been two weeks now since I got to photograph my first birth (other than that of my own child) and I'm still amazed by the experience. What an honor and privilege to get to be there with a couple as they are going through the exciting and intimate experience of labor! Not to mention how AMAZING it is to be in the room when a baby takes their very first breath, when a mom meets the child that she's been carrying for nine months and holds them in her arms for the first time, when a dad beams with pride and joy at the sight of his newborn son or daughter and then lovingly gazes at his wife - the woman who made it all possible. What a blessing to be in that delivery room when God makes it so clear that He is God by showing us this miracle of birth!
A few months ago I was at the Baby Shower of a friend. I happened to mention how cool it would be to photograph a birth and that if she wanted me to that I would do just that. I actually didn't expect her to say yes, but she did, YAY! As I was driving home, super excited, I realized that labor isn't always a perfectly timed thing and that I would need to figure out what to do with my own three precious babes. Let me tell you, I had babysitters on call all over town! My parents agreed to stay the night when my friend was scheduled to be induced but I knew that the baby could just decide to come before that, so I emailed a bunch of friends asking for a HUGE FAVOR! I was amazed and blessed at how many of my friends responded saying that they would be willing to watch my girls. Thank you ALL! I have wonderful friends! I mean really, it's a lot to ask someone to watch a kid at a moments notice but to ask them to watch three kids....especially if they already have some of their own, that is a LOT to ask!
Anyway, my lovely friend didn't go into labor before the induction date, phew! My parents flew back to town from a short trip to Texas on the night before the induction was to take place. She was supposed to be induced at 3AM! The hospital called the night before saying that they were busy and not to come in at 3 but that they would call her and let her know. I was so excited that I couldn't sleep, seriously, it was like Christmas Eve when I was a kid. I had also just gotten over a sinus infection and was still on antibiotics but the doctor had cleared me for being non-contagious (even around a newborn) so I felt great (kind of)! I didn't fall asleep until sometime after 3AM and then woke up at 6 and got ready expecting a call at any time. No call came. The hospital was still busy. They told her that it would be sometime that day. Lunchtime rolled around and my parents and I packed the kids up to go out to eat. I was feeling a bit dizzy from the medication but doing pretty well other than that ugly cough you get at the end of a sinus infection. We ate and I was extremely dizzy and praying that I would make it through this birth. After we ate we took the kids to a nearby park (closer to the hospital than my house is, just in case). I drove a second car with all of my equipment inside so I could leave at a moment's notice. Then finally, at about 3PM the call came! My friend was at the hospital, no induction necessary, she was in labor and already at 6cm! "6cm!!!! Already!!! YIKES!" I was rushing to the hospital! Now, to me, a woman who holds at 3 cm for what seems like an eternity and then, suddenly, without warning has a baby flying out of her (only once in the car), 6cm sounds urgent. I was so scared that she would give birth before I even got there. She didn't.
When I arrived they were still filing out paper work and she was just about to receive an epidural. The nurses had me leave the room for the epidural. I waited in the waiting room. Here was my view.
I know that this looks like a contraction, it's not. In fact, this amazing woman went through her whole labor without even feeling a painful contraction. As I said, she arrived at 6cm so she was definitely having them but they didn't phase her and with the help of the epidural, she didn't even feel anymore at all. Let me tell you, she made labor look EASY!
The only annoyance was that after the epidural, my friend was incredibly itchy! Her husband was on back scratching duty and he seemed to do a good job of it. He was very attentive.
Between back scratches he worked on a paper that he had due after the weekend. It was a long paper on a topic that was so big that I can't even remember it.
And now, back to the paper.
I think this is about the time that my friend's husband went to grab something to eat. My friend suggested that I do the same but I was too scared to miss the birth. Plus, since I had been sucking on cough drops all day, I didn't even feel hungry. "I'll eat when I get home," is what I told her. It was still pretty early and every time a nurse came in they would say, "Any time now!" I was sure that they actually meant it. I should have caught on when they said that her doctor would be there at 5 to break her water. At about 5:45 when asked the reply was, "Oh yeah, your doctor called and said she'd be in around 6 to break your water." Then at 6:45, "Oh, she called, she'll be in around 7." It was almost 8:45 when the doctor actually came and broke her water. My friend never complained once. She did a brilliant job of resting! Anyway, I didn't eat. I was too excited and very pre-occupied being paranoid about my cough. It made me feel a little better when I noticed that the nurse had a cough too but I was still scared that someone would kick me out for fear of infecting the baby. The only solace I had was that my doctor had assured me that the baby was completely safe from my cough. That and the fact that they gave my friend a couple doses of penicillin while she was there.
When her husband returned, he quietly snuck over to get her band number, it was also the wi-fi password and he needed to look up info online for footnotes. I just thought it was a cute picture.
Talking to his mom on the phone.
While waiting for the doctor to come break her water an intense contest of thumb wars broke out! Okay, it wasn't so intense, just fun.
Wanting to help in any way he could, her husband offered to help brush her hair.
This may be my favorite picture from the labor. They really do have fun together! So sweet.
Have you ever seen a woman in labor look this peaceful and beautiful? I'm sure I never was.
The waiting (and the Diet Pepsi) started to get to her husband and out came the rubber gloves!
Then the sugar crash! This is where I left the room for a few hours so he could stretch out on the couch and get some much needed rest! While in the waiting room, God reminded me once again of how much He loves me. Like I said, I was super paranoid about the cough thing and wondering if I was covering it in the best way. I was coughing into my inner elbow and not my hand, but why did I think that was any better, was it really? Anyway, in the waiting room someone turned the TV to "Myth Busters". Wanna guess what myth they were busting? They were testing to see what the best way to cover a sneeze was! Seriously, God really does care even about the little things! The inside of your elbow turns out to be the clear winner of the three main ways to cover a sneeze/cough. The other two ways being by hand or handkerchief. I felt much better!
The nurses called the doctor to come back in around 11:15 and my friend's mother (who had just arrived an hour or so earlier after putting her first grandson to bed) came out to get me. It was the moment we had all been waiting for!
Proud Papa, or should I say Proud Husband. He kept his eyes on his beautiful wife throughout the entire delivery!
Beautiful baby boy!
First time in Mommy's arms.
Getting ready to clean him up. Although, I think he's the cleanest baby I've ever seen born. He was screaming until he heard Daddy's voice. When his Dad spoke to him, he immediately quieted down and peeked out of one eye to see this man who had been talking through Mommy's tummy for nine months. He was soothed instantly!
Holding hands with Dad and Nana.
This was the point that the medicine that I had taken without eating really kicked in. Just a note for any of you who think it's okay to take medicine with instructions to take with food, without food, NOT a good idea. I totally felt like I was going to pass out! I had to sit down, it was embarrassing to say the least. After a bit I thought I could stand but I was wrong. I had to sit again so I didn't pass out. Nana asked if it was the blood that bothered me. Nope, definitely not, just my own foolishness in not eating. She offered me some of the only food in the room, BBQ potato chips. I took one bite and had to rush to the bathroom, I was surely going to throw up. My beautiful friend had just eloquently delivered a healthy baby boy with no incident and here I was, the photographer on my knees in front of the toilet, behind the see through door. I didn't actually throw up, Thank you Jesus! I did have to kneel there and pray for a while though. Utterly humiliated I came out of the bathroom and sat back on the couch. Nurses were still scurrying around the room taking care of things and Dad and Mom were admiring their new son. Nana brought me a banana from the car, I ate it and felt wonderful once again. But, just in case, I left soon after that to ensure that I made it home safely! I couldn't resist just a few more pictures though!
Such proud parents.
Adoring each other as well as their new son, just as it should be!
Happy in Mommy's arms.
Okay, that was exhausting!!!! Big YAWN.
So, the moral of the story, don't photograph a birth without bringing food, especially if you are on medication! Lesson learned and thankfully it was with friends who took care of me even in the face of their own newest adventure! Thank you guys for allowing me to photograph this amazing moment in your lives!
Here are Baby and Mommy today:
To see a photo music video of this birth go here.