Photographing a birth is something I have been waiting for years to do. It's a difficult thing to "plan" for because most babies don't come on their due date. But I didn't give up on this dream and a door was finally opened on July 3rd.
Katherine and I had met for lunch a few weeks prior to catch up on life and talk about babies and motherhood. I asked her if she was having a photographer at the birth and at the time she didn't have any plans to have one. It just wasn't something she had put much thought into and it was getting down to the final weeks anyway. I shared with her all about the times I had attempted to photograph a birth in the past but never succeeded. We left that lunch without any plans to work together during the labor.
A week or so later Katherine texts me and asks if I would like to photograph the birth!!! We decided to meet up about 10 days before the due date to talk about what the expectations would be. The day we planned to meet, I get a text from Katherine saying she wasn't feeling very good and wanted to reschedule. I encouraged her to rest up at home in case baby decided to come soon! Later that night...her water broke!!!! I was so shocked because I really didn't expect things to happen so quickly. Katherine decided to try and get some sleep that night because her contractions hadn't even started yet. Late the next morning, Katherine went to the hospital and was already dilated 5cm!
When I arrived, the room was very calm. Katherine was super focused and I was so impressed with how in-tune she was with her body for a first time mom. Each contraction she tried different techniques of coping and she had a lot of strength in her. The birth room was very spacious so I never felt like I was in the way. I was really able to be a "fly on the wall" and just witness the miracle of life unfold without being a distraction.
Katherine and Konnor had such good communication during the labor. Katherine was so good about moving around and she was never in one position for too long. It was so beautiful to watch how her and Konnor worked together. Even during a contraction she was able to direct him so that he was able to assist her. You could tell that they were really bonding as each contraction brought them closer to meeting their baby girl.
This is where things started to get really tough. I don't know what it is about first babies but they definitely tend to take their sweet time. It had been a long day and Katherine was losing energy but still focused. She didn't know it at the time but she had stayed at 7cm for about 10 HOURS! I decided to head home for dinner to take a break and see my family. When I got back to the hospital, Katherine was sitting up in the bed watching Parks & Rec and I knew at that point that things had really slowed down. I realized that probably meant baby girl was not going to be coming tonight. The midwife stayed positive the whole time and told Katherine it was okay if she rested and let herself slow down to get some energy back. I decided to head home and sleep as much as I could and wait to hear when things picked up again.
The next morning, baby girl was finally making her way down! In the middle of the night, Katherine had decided to get some fluids and very small amounts of pitocin to give her the extra push she needed. It was just enough to get through the final stretch. As much as she wanted to have a water birth, the midwife actually suggested she try sitting on the toilet to labor. It sounds strange but it actually is a really good position to push! At that point, Katherine was exhausted and as much as she didn't like the idea of it, it really did work the best! Things really started moving along and so the midwife decided to check and see how close baby girl was. Katherine needed to hear some good news and the midwife felt pretty confident that baby was going to come within the hour! After the update, everything seemed to be happening really fast. The midwife didn't even take time to put her scrubs on!
And just like that...she was finally here!
Delta June Arnaud-Leblanc was a little piece of heaven born on the 4th of July!
She was absolute perfection and Katherine & Konnor could not take their eyes off of her. I was also a weepy mess as I got to witness such a precious and powerful moment. There really isn't many words to describe what it's like to meet your baby for the first time. It is definitely one of the sweetest moments there is.
What a privilege to witness and what a glorious opportunity to see behind a camera lens! It's insanely beautiful and so unique to photograph. Every mama deserves a warrior badge of honor after going through something like this in my opinion. God gave woman such a powerful gift with the ability to bear children and I definitely want to see many more miracles like this in the future.