The Birth of Blaise {Birth Photographer from Rochester, MN}

July 1, 2012

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.)


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  • Jan Rigotti · Posted July 8, 2012 at 3:51 PM · Link · Reply

    Jaq – These pix are gorgeous. I am so proud of you. You are such a great photographer, friend, but most of all daughter. I love you! Mom

    Allison – Thank you for giving Jaq such a great opportunity to be part of the birth of Blaise. I can tell you and your family are beautiful inside and outside. I know this will be an experience she will never forget and will be forever grateful to you for asking her to participate in it. I cried as I was looking at these beautiful pictures. You are an amazing woman with an amazing family. God has blessed you in so many ways. I will be praying for all of you. Jan

  • Sherry Maze · Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Link · Reply

    So beautiful that words lack the imagination to describe it. To begin with, Allison told everyone that Blaise wouldn’t be born until Jackie arrived from Rochester. He is such a cooperative little man. People ask me how on earth can Allison look so beautiful right after bringing a human being into this world. How would I know?! But she does. She just glows! I attribute some of it to how wonderful Seth is, some of it to the mindset of a positive and powerful woman, and some of it to her confidence in her ability to be, as he describes her, “a Navy Seal.” But I do not give the glory to anyone as much as I do our Almighty Lord, who loves us and shares with us the ability to do miraculous things. Praise be to God. Great things He hath done!

    • Jackie Mysak · Posted July 8, 2012 at 4:14 PM · Link · Reply

      Sherry, that day wouldn’t have been possible without you, either! Like Allison, I want my mom to be there for my births. Not until I became a doula did I realize that most women do NOT desire their own mothers to be a part of their birth experience. I think that speaks to what kind of women both Allison and I have for mothers! Thank you so much for being there! And yes, TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

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