This beautiful spring day in Tampa Bay was the perfect setting for the birth of Clover Moon. We arrived at Tampa General Hospital in the morning. Mom had been laboring on and off for a couple hours and it was obvious things were picking up. She would soon get to meet her sweet baby number four.
Birth doesn’t always work perfectly “time wise” for anyone but this day it actually did. As soon as Alex’s Mom got to their house to watch the other kids, they left to come to TGH. Likewise, I had just dropped my daughter off to school and headed straight to the hospital in anticipation for this beautiful moment to play out just the way it was meant to.
After Alex got checked in, they moved us to a birthing suite where she continued to have consistent surges but sporadic in how much down time between each one. In this birthing room, there are massive windows that allow for a lovely view of the ocean. Something we love as Tampa Bay residence. This day was no different. It’s as serene as it can be on the outside and the inside was the same.
Alex moved according to what her body told her which allows for a connection between baby and mom. I’ve attended so many births as a photographer and a massage therapist/energy worker and it is always a pleasure to see a Mom who is able to move, walk, and rest when she needs to. I know this is not always the case but it does make a difference for them.
After the first check ups, Alex began to walk around and then lean on the counter when she needed extra support. Her husband was very helpful to push against her sacrum or tail bone, a motion that allows for the bottom “tip” of the sacrum to open up and allow for more space for the babies head to come through the birth canal. This also feels incredible as it relieves back labor or back discomfort during birth. So many Mom’s love this move!
Everything was going steady, the surges became more consistent. Alex started on the bed, then she moved to walking while she could, leaning on her husband when she felt the urge. The atmosphere was electric. In between the contractions there was a time for laughter and normal conversation about the kids at home, who’s watching them and whatever else came up. Occasional her husband would apply pressure on her pelvic or hip bones to again help with the discomfort. She was going to have a natural birth so all of these helpful tools would be beneficial for her.
As the time went on, I noticed a shift in her demeanor. The surges became more intense in a lot of ways. She switched to sitting on the yoga ball and moving incircles, this often helps the hip muscles to open up for the baby to descend lower into the birth canal.
Sure enough, all the signs of going through “transition” were there, groaning-lower guttural noises and some bloody show told us things were in fact, moving along just the way they should be. There was a feeling of anticipation in the air but also knowing that we weren’t quite there yet. Still Alex and her husband carried on the conversation during breaks. The emotions started coming up as the intensity grew. She had all the support she needed but it still can be a super emotional during this stage of labor.
I never tire of watching couples together during birthing. It’s unique to their relationship so every birth is different in this aspect. All that aside, I got to see Dad support Mom in every way but when he got breaks, he ate salmon jerky and made her smile in between surges or contractions. He held her up when she needed him to and I am so happy I got some of those shots as well with my camera.
In the midst of moving into the transitional phase of labor, Mom consented to getting checked from the RN on staff. She had gone this entire time without a single cervical check as cervix checks are often just one part of the overall story and on their own do not serve as vital information during labor. Nevertheless, they continued to ask her if she wanted one and she did say yes.
We were all quite surprised to hear that her cervix was about 7cm dialated. This felt like a blow considering she had worked so hard and birth seemed so far away. I knew the baby was coming soon but this news was not what the family wanted to hear. There was a sense of defeat in the air as the Nurse left the room and Mom was comforted by her husband.
What happened next was incredible. Within 1 minute of that cervix check, I saw the baby’s head about to crown. I called the RN back into the birthing suite but the little one was already on her way to meet the world.
It’s amazing how beautifully our bodies are designed. Within seconds on that she was able to birth her baby with no Doctor in sight but the Nurse was able to put on some gloves to help out.
And then we met Clover Moon.
This is where we came full circle about birth. Time is never something that can be calculated, you just have to go with the flow. The amount of worry and planning that goes into when we expect the baby to make their entrance can be really counterproductive if it causes extreme stress. The baby will come when they need to come, and it’s always on their own time.
Post-birth for this Momma required some medical care due to past experiences she had with the after-birth phase of another one of her babies. But, she handled it beautifully and still got to soak in those precious moments meeting her new little one.
Those amazing firsts! Eye contact, cries, noises and that beautiful first latch are all apart of the magic of those moments after a birth. That’s why I always hang out like a fly on the wall, letting them bond and capturing it all.
These moments are exactly why people hire me to be there for the birth of their children. It truly is a blessing, unique to every single couple and circumstance. And let me tell you, it’s beautiful the way it unravels. It’s as much a spiritual experience as it is physical. Yes, you are literally bringing a baby physically into this world but there’s so much more to this experience than the physical.
Every single one of these moments are worth replaying through the art of photographs.
This is why I am so passionate about birth, not just being a photographer but on all levels. It’s one of the greatest pleasures in life being able to witness and capture these moments and how you what the rest of us see.
So much beauty.
If you are on the fence about having another person at your birth, please know that your birth will still get to play out the way you want. I tend to not “get in the way” and can be as present as you want me to be. This is not about your birth photographer, its all about YOU.