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.
I remember when I first heard about the possibility of a children’s museum here in Rochester. My oldest – now almost 6 – was about 2.5 years old and we were waiting in line at Rochesterfest one summer so he could spray the fire hose. Off to the left on a grassy lawn was a small group of activity stations, which turned out to be a local grassroots effort to raise awareness and funding for a children’s museum.
This group has been the real-life version of the Little Engine That Could. They fought for their cause, found a location, spend hundreds of hours fundraising, and partnered with the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul to become the Museum’s first satellite location. Their grand opening was last month, and the wonderful people who work there asked me to spend a couple of hours documenting the first few days of the museum’s life here in Rochester. Additional images are on the children’s museum web site: check them out, buy a membership and go have some fun!
Oh, Miss Beffers. Beef-a-licious. Beef. Baby Joy. It doesn’t matter what we call you, you’re always our little big ray of sunshine. I remember watching moms with their daughters at the mall or restaurants and wondering what it was like to have a little lady for a best friend, a little person I could tell secrets to. You’re more wonderful than anything I could have hoped for or dreamed of. I love every moment of being your mom; I used to wish that you could go back to being a newborn because I loved how you were small enough to sleep on my chest at night; now I just want time to stand still so I can drink you in, keep you from growing up, and freeze those moments where you just look at me, smile knowingly and snuggle up to me. This mother-daughter connection is powerful, so different from the fierce love I felt — and still do — for the boys.
You are soft and sweet and silky and curly and sassy and saucy and persnickety all rolled into one perfect little 16 pound(!) blonde-haired, blue-eyed, curly-cropped bundle. Pure Joy. Your middle name fits you so well and we flatter ourselves that we experienced a flash of prophecy when naming you.
In keeping with your independent and feisty spirit, you wanted nothing to do with me during your multiple one-year sessions. So I let you be, hung back with my camera, and just quietly snapped you exploring fruit orchards, running away from me, wandering through fields, smashing apples together, and tiptoeing around in your new little boots you are so proud of.
You may have turned one in November, but you’ll always be our baby.
When Kelly first contacted me, I think my heart stopped beating for a second. Maybe even two. She’s a super talented and stylish designer and a photographer in her own right. She wanted to schedule a session celebrating her fourth anniversary along with a little peek of her new shape (she’s got a baby growing in her belly!). I loved the idea of anniversary pics, especially just in time for Christmas cards, and I never turn down an opportunity to capture the beauty and wonder of pregnancy. And a cool bonus? She and her husband D were spending the weekend in Lanesboro, so I was able to enjoy a long quiet drive to and from the session, and enjoy silence I rarely get to experience in the car with three small children.
The great thing about photographing another photographer is they understand needing to look for the light and that sometimes photographers say and do crazy things to get the shot. The bad thing about photographing another photographer is that I was incredibly nervous the whole time!
In the end, it was a slightly nerve-wracking but exciting experience to work FOR another photographer, and it reminded me of the many talented photographers here in Rochester and throughout Minnesota that I am blessed to know, both personally and virtually. Some are just starting out, some are seasoned pros, and many of us are somewhere in between.
Enjoy your last trimester, Kelly, and I hope you and D have a WONDERFUL, joy-filled birth!