Last belly picture:
Just three weeks before her due date Christi decided to switch to a home birth. She had educated herself so much through this pregnancy that by the end she was in a different place of confidence in her body than she was at the beginning. Within a day of interviewing some homebirth midwives she and her husband had decided on a homebirth with Joy of Life Midwifery. It ended up being perfect for her--a very, very mother centered, all-night labor. She didn't receive a single internal exam other than the exploring she did herself to know baby's head was descending. It was incredible to watch mother-directed pushing with no outside coaching for that stage. As I often tell my clients, the moms who push while groaning (as opposed to "purple pushing" holding their breaths) tear far less on the whole, many times not at all. The midwives were great at letting her take the lead, yet standing by with every emergency measure just in case. Having had an epidural at her previous birth she was amazed to experience the power of her body this time laboring naturally. She did terrific at staying in control, relaxing her muscles, and using low, open vocalizations in response to my doula coaching. Though it was intense, I had many internal smiles at how well this labor progressed and how well Christi coped.
Last belly picture:
The cool running water from the sink was a comforting ritual during contractions:
The dad, Beau, got to catch his baby (I love the assistant midwife's expression in the corner of the frame):
Look at this beautiful pulsating cord just six minutes after birth!
One of the highlights for me of this birth was getting to watch big brother T. meet Gracie for the first time. At around 6 a.m. he got up to go to the bathroom. Seeing the midwives in the living room he told them “I’m not really awake.” Then he did a double take and said, “Wait!! Why are you here?!” He caught the clue that maybe his baby sister was on her way. Little did he know that she was born an hour before. The midwives thoughtfully came and told his dad that he was up so he could break the news to him personally. Then Tristan got to come right in and meet her. It was an unforgettable moment.
One of the noticeable benefits of natural birth is how incredibly alert the babies are. Gracie gazed right into her mom and dad's eyes, studying the faces that went with the voices she knew so well by now. And then she looked directly into my lens just for me:
Welcome to the world, baby girl! It was an honor to go on the journey (starting way back in March) toward your grand arrival, with numerous twists and turns on the way to a well worthwhile destination.
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!