Ages and ages ago, the mama in this family emailed me to ask if I did birth photography. I mean, she wasn’t pregnant, she was just asking. I love when that happens. I had been thinking that I would love to try my hand as a Philadelphia birth photographer for ages. Philly is such a great town for all things birth: we have great midwives, great birth educators, great lactation consultants, many of whom I know or maybe even used myself. Also, I love photographing itty bitty babies, and birth is the most amazing thing ever, so how would that not be fantastic?
As luck would have it, this mama DID eventually get pregnant. And, when I spied her announcement on Facebook, I sent her a message, we met (with her husband too) and decided YES!
Christy Santoro of Motherland Midwifery and her assistant Janean Sexton arrived as I did. Birth doula Valerie Monroe was there to support Mr. About-To-Become-A-Big-Brother, who offered me soup when I got there. He did. Best kid ever.
Mama was upstairs, laboring on a birthing ball while knitting and playing with her dogs
Yes, you read that right. She was just workin’ on a hat, y’all. I labored by laying on my couch crying. Not this mama! I was awed by her in every way. And her husband, oh lawdy. He was the most intuitive, supportive, loving birth partner around. What a zen, centered event that this birth was.
It was a pretty fast labor, I think I was there for a total of five hours from walking in the door to going home. This was pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed. I didn’t see my own son being born, obviously. Mama and Papa welcomed this wee one, Baby Carrot as his older brother called him in the womb, into a space with so much love, with so much respect, gentleness and support.
There were some quiet moments, when there was a little break in the contracting and business of being born. The photos that follow here were shot at 8pm in October in a room lit only by the midwives’ headlamps. If you notice some grain, they were shot at ISO 25, 600. Yes, that is a thing.
I love this one. I love this face. I love what this feeling feels like – the joy of becoming a mother. Love it, this one is for all the marbles, I think.
And then it was quiet. For the drinking in, for the realizing, for the comprehending.
I felt like the luckiest person in the world. I photographed two of the most amazing, brilliant, calm and knowledgable midwives do their thing. I photographed a loved and much-wanted baby come into this world. I photographed a boy transformed into a brother, and I photographed two people become parents again, and create a new circle in their family.
Here is Baby Carrot being weighed.
Making things official.
Welcome to the world, Baby Carrot. I am so glad that I was able to document your journey earthside.