Two weeks ago I had a request that was a first for me. My old roommate Nicole's good friends Sarah and Michael asked what I was doing that day and if I could shoot the birth of their baby! They had had a birth photographer scheduled for months, but Sarah went into labor early and their photographer was out of town so they called me as soon as they knew the baby was on his way. I had a couple of afternoon shoots scheduled, and I got my roomie John to shoot them for me so I could be a part of this special day and make sure that Sarah and her husband Michael had photos of their first child's birth! To be honest, I was really nervous and didn't know how I'd do. Five years ago my friend Megan had her first baby, and I got to hang in the delivery room for a bit so I knew a little of what I would expect. However Sarah was going the all natural method and had arranged a water birth, so that was all new to me. Plus I had met Sarah a few times before but didn't know her too well, so talk about a way to get to know people!
Sarah and Michael worked with Baby & Co, a natural birthing center ran by midwives here in Nashville. It was so peaceful and such a beautiful place with truly great energy. The midwives were so kind and a joy to work with. They were unbelievably supportive of Sarah and made sure that she was comfortable, healthy, and encouraged throughout the whole day.
This was Sarah and Michael's first baby, but they were both super knowledgeable and had a well prepared birth plan. Sarah shared a few thoughts with me on the experience:
"Childbirth is one of the most normal, natural processes. Although it can be hard work, I viewed the decision to birth naturally as a small sacrifice to make for our baby, the first act of love from myself and Michael – to bring our baby into this world in the safest and most loving way that we knew possible. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat."
They were being surprised by the sex of the baby, which I thought was so cool and something that doesn't happen much these days. I don't know that I could wait that long to find out! Throughout the whole day, Sarah was an absolute rockstar, and I felt like every contraction was a different experience. Her labor was pretty short for a first baby, from around 11:00 am - 3:30 pm, and she held it together like a queen. She didn't use any medication at all, just essential oils. I was so impressed by her strength and determination and was so amazed at what a woman's body is capable of. She delivered Jax around 3:30 in the afternoon, and he was a beautiful, perfect, healthy baby boy.
I can see myself shooting more births in the future. When I left I felt a high and honesty so alive. It was 100% emotion and such a beautiful experience to be a part of. I'm so thrilled for Sarah and Michael and wish the newly family of three a lifetime of joy and happiness.
"A woman in birth is at once her most powerful, and most vulnerable. But any woman who has birthed unhindered understand that we are stronger than we know."
- Marcie Macari