Perfect little Blaise. So fresh and new, he just wanted to be curled up back inside his mom’s belly. This little man loved being swaddled and held, and was already sucking his thumb and fingers all by himself. Mom, dad, grandma, best friend, photographer — we all took turns passing him around, getting our “baby fix.”
Spending a few days living with friends and their new baby is a wonderful way to capture newborn portraits. From diaper changes to cuddles on the patio to best friends making pot roast to grandma napping with big brother and sister. This is life with a baby: real, raw, exhausting, exhilarating, thrilling, and full of love and wonder. This is the story of Blaise’s welcome into his family, days one through four.
I think this might be the most pictures I’ve posted in a blog entry, ever. Even though this particular birth was a “fast” one, I could fill pages and pages with words and images and still fail to describe the love, trust, joy and peace that filled the room that morning.
Let me back up a bit. Allison and her family are friends of mine who used to live nearby, but moved away a year ago. When her doula for her first two births wasn’t able to travel last month, Allison called me. She wanted both a doula to support her through the birth and a photographer for birth and newborn photos. And it had to be a close friend. Well, I could do that!
Coincidentally, there was quite a ruckus in the media that week over the emerging trend of birth photography. Coverage was, eh, not so great, and really missed the entire point of the photographer’s role in the delivery room: to quietly and accurately document one of the most important, powerful and life-changing events in a woman’s life. Now, birth photography is not for everyone. I get that. Is birth always pretty? No. Is it always quick? No. Will you look your best? Probably not. But birth is ALWAYS amazing and ALWAYS beautiful. And for moms who want to remember just how powerful and exciting that day is, birth photography can help them document the details and events that filled that day.
As a doula, I believe that birth can be a normal process, and that with the right support team, a mother can feel safe, loved, and cared for while she brings her baby into the world. Birth photography (and doulas!) can do much to relieve the fear surrounding birth in our contemporary American culture. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it seems impossible to do. But that’s what makes it birth: God designed this incredible process to bring human beings into the world, and we get to participate in it — as mothers, husbands, grandmas, friends, doulas and yes, photographers.
Allison’s birth was a dream birth, her husband the perfect support — best friend, lover, encourager and protector. Her mom massaged her feet, her best friend prayed her through the birth, and her doctor trusted Allison enough to let her labor in her own way. This is how birth should be: mom feeling loved and safe, and the room filled with joy and peace. Allison has an amazing array of friends from all over the world, and many of them have sent her a symbolic bead to represent their prayers and hopes for her during the birth process. At each delivery (this is her third!), Allison’s birth team strings the beads into a necklace or bracelet so that she can be continually reminded of how many people love her and are praying for her and her family as she brings new life into the world. And she brings new life in FAST (5 centimeters to birth in 1 hours and 15 minutes!).
(The link to the full slideshow is at the end of the post. And in a few days, I’ll be blogging the newborn portraits and family pictures from the first few days of little Mr. Blaise’s life.)
And now, THE BIRTH OF BLAISE
Full blog post, more pictures, and yes, a slideshow, are coming soon. Birth perfection: peace, joy and LOVE.
This particular family knows how to have fun together. I first photographed brother and sister two years ago when I was just starting out. This time, the whole family showed up, including a new little sister.
The kids played, romped, twirled, swung, laughed and cuddled their way through the session. And near the end of the session, with their encouragement, I tasted a “fiddlehead” — the brand new curled bud at the tip of a fern’s new-growth. It tasted like spinach. Earthy and green. Except it was crunchy. (And then this week at Trader Joe’s, I actually saw of bag of fiddleheads in the produce section!)
This family will soon be leaving Rochester for new adventures out west. Together. Because that’s what matters.
Seth is the son of a dear friend of mine. He’s her second son and a special blessing after a difficult loss. He’s settling into family life, filling spaces in his parents’ ever-widening hearts, and giving his older brother and sister the opportunity to learn what it means to be a family of five.