For this birth, I was hired to be a sibling doula for Alana's two-year-old sister Cailey. Anna went into labor in the evening and when I arrived at 11 p.m. Cailey was still up running around with excitement. Knowing it could be a while, I sang her a lullaby and put her to bed and then went to assist Anna and Josh in getting everything ready for the birth. Anna's first labor was four days long, but this one was already feeling more intense and that it would be quicker. Soon the midwives arrived and Anna felt pushy. Then she calmly remarked that she could touch the baby's head. That was my cue to get Cailey up so she could be present at the birth like Anna and Josh had wished. So I woke the precious sleeping little girl up, and took her to the kitchen for a drink of water to help her fully awake, preparing her by talking with her that her baby was about to be born! I calmly carried her into the bedroom, holding her in one arm, telling her what was happening each step of the way and taking pictures with the other hand. At 1 a.m. baby Alana came swimming into her parent's hands!
Anna wanted to do a lotus birth this time around, which is where you let the placenta stay attached until the cord falls off on its own a couple days later. So we washed and dried the placenta to prepare it for that.
Newborn exam time!
Welcome to the world little girl! Anna, you were so strong, and Josh, you were amazing to watch running this way and that making sure Anna had everything she needed in labor. It was an honor to be present at your birth.
I simply couldn't bring myself to choose just a handful of photos when the whole story of these sweet boys' arrival was begging to be told, so below is a slideshow of this adoption story.
When I first met Kelsey and Justin two years ago, a picture of Beni and Zeke sat on their end table and I heard their story of hopes and dreams for bringing these boys home. Their adoption journey started before Kelsey become pregnant with Solomon. I was blessed to be Kelsey's doula and the birth photographer for his birth, so when she told me recently that after three years of waiting the "Red Sea" had parted and their boys were coming home, I was thrilled be asked to photograph their arrival (another kind of birth).
For three years Kelsey and Justin prayed for and longed for their boys, without ever having met them in person. Battling endless governmental red tape, they never gave up hope. Finally Justin flew over to do the final work in person. He was there a month before passports and everything for the boys was released to come home.
As I stood in the airport with Kelsey, my heart pounding in sympathetic anticipation for the big moment when her boys would come into her arms, we reminisced about the last moments of labor with Solomon. "I think waiting now is harder than pushing was then!" she said. And that's saying a lot, because she didn't have an easy labor.
With friends supporting Kelsey in the background, at last the airport security door opened and Justin walked through with Beni following behind and a tired Zeke sleeping in his arms after the long journey. Kelsey put her hand over her mouth in shock and joy and walked forward for a first family embrace with all five of them. I had to blink back the tears to see straight to photograph the moment.
Adoption is such a beautiful picture of how we all have been invited to become children of God. The book of Ephesians in the Bible says "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth" (Eph. 1:4-10).
And thus the Lyons family is united at last, in answer to prayer! These three boys couldn't have asked for better parents to lavish love upon them!
Push play on the image of their airplane landing below to see the slideshow.
Welcome home, boys! Durango is going to be richer to have you here!
It was an honor to support these clients through labor and birth. Though labor threw her a curve ball, and didn't turn out like any of us expected, this mom weathered it with awe-inspiring strength. This is one tough mama! Here she is walking in to the hospital at 7 cm before things ramped up in intensity:
What precious, attentive support this man provided his wife!
Laboring vertically to work with gravity (using the squatting bar):
Welcome to the world, Maddie! You are cherished.
Melanie Ellison, Durango CO
Childbirth fascinates me, and I always love learning more tidbits about it and sharing them with you. I also post photo galleries here from my photoshoots. Sign up for the RSS feed below so you don't miss a post!