For some time now I have looked at the dramatic and emotionally fraught images of other women’s birth experiences and known that this is something I want to create as well. Birth photography brings back all of the same feelings I’ve experienced when looking upon Dorothea Lange and other’s images created through the FSA in pursuit of rural rehabilitation. Here is something deeply meaningful to document; something that is both a shared experience common to most women, and also an individual one where no two births are exactly the same.
One day I spoke the words aloud for the first time: ‘This is something I want to do. I want to do birth photography.’ And the universe appears to have heard me. Only a few days later a woman made a post saying she was looking for a birth photographer. I was hesitant to respond but did anyway.
And she chose me. They chose me. And I will forever be in their debt.
For several weeks I was tied to my phone – I kept the volume all the way up, kept it by my side even during sleep, and kept her ring and text tones on the most loud and obnoxious selections to make sure I would not sleep through it or fail to hear it sounding off in my pocket.
Equally obsessed with being ready at any time, I kept in touch with my emergency childcare provider and every few days charged my battery even if I hadn’t used the camera.
I was sure she would call in the middle of the night, that the lighting would be subpar and I would have to get creative to make sure the images did not fail. When the call finally came, in the early hours of the morning, I felt that once again the universe had come to my aid. I didn’t need to bring my lights – although I did bring one because as sure as I wouldn’t have it would have been necessary. I never even took it out of it’s bag.
And the whole thing was lovely.
Her husband was so present. As she grew louder with the progressing labor he was intentional about how close he could be without annoying her and what he could provide her for support. He demonstrated clearly what kind of partner and father he already is.
When the baby came it was fast. So fast. He was greeted by the joyful mix of his father’s laughter and a sob, the midwives laughing just as surprised as I by his quick appearance. His grandmother had stepped out of the room for a second and rushed back yelling “I missed it!”
After the baby came there was a period of tension as they worried about a repeat of previous post-birth complications. But the tension passed as the hours ticked by and all of the usual things were happening.
He is beautiful. They are beautiful. And I am so very grateful that I was there to document it all.
Welcome to the world, baby Bosch!