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April 25, 2011
Last fall, I was extremely honored to be asked by one of my photography idols to photograph the birth of her second baby. Her work has always grabbed my heart: it's so pure, and honest, and emotive, and beautiful. To be honest, I had to pinch myself when I saw her e-mail (she's probably blushing now ;-). And then when I learned it would be a homebirth (sigh), I had to pinch myself again.
I got the first notice that this might be the day at about 4 a.m. (so it goes for midwives and birth photographers). I could NOT sleep and I paced around for more word. By 8 a.m., I had heard nothing and I started to get a little nervous. With second-time moms, it's my biggest fear that I'm going to miss the birth and then with a homebirth, it can be a little tough because you definitely don't want to get there too early and disrupt the labor process.
But by about 10 a.m, I was so anxious, I pulled a crazy stalker move and I had to do a little drive-by. Oh, I was SO embarrassed to happen upon her and her hubby out for a walk in the cool air!!! (I'm dedicated. What can I say?) After talking to her for about 7-10 minutes I began to think that today might not actually be the day. I mean, here was this beautiful, radiant woman talking to me in complete sentences like it was no big deal and she never once had to stop for a contraction. So, I drove home.
No sooner had I walked in the door, I got a text from dad, "things are picking up here." Followed a few minutes by, "she would like you to come over."
Boy, I FLEW back to her house (I may or may not have breezed through a few "burnt orange" lights along the way). I could hear her outside of the house before I even got through the door...I pulled my camera out because I was so afraid to miss it.
The scene when I walked into the house took my breath away. Christmas lights twinkled and an excited "big brother to be" was hanging out with his grandparents. The birth tub was tucked away in a space that would become the baby's room. Soft music, warm steamy water, and a song coming from deep within mom that was somehow both primal and perfectly in tune. How I wish I had recorded that sound. It was amazing. The light was incredible (I should have known a birth by a fellow photographer would be picture perfect) and it illuminated this mobile of tiny, handmade paper cranes from her friends all over the country (world?). The peaceful energy of the room...the entire house...was both calming and exhilarating. Everyone was happy. No one was afraid. I do not exaggerate. *This* is birth.
[Google Reader and RSS fans, you'll need to click on this link to see the full slideshow]
All the way home that afternoon, I kept seeing the pictures in my head and humming a tune that my good friend, Lyndsay, used on the slideshow for the birth of our daughter. That tune has always been very dear to me and I've felt a bit protective over it. But this entire time, I couldn't get it out of my head. It belonged to this birth, too. Thank you, Lynds, for sharing this song with us.
And thank you to this beautiful family for inviting us into their home to witness such a personal and incredible event and then for allowing me to share it with you all on here.