A calm, peaceful birth | Birth Photography Dirksland
In 2011 I photographed my 8th birth, the birth of Elina, and I came very close to missing it! In the years which followed I saw her a few more times for various photo session so it was extra special to hear her mother’s voice on the phone shortly after she had done a positive pregnancy test! I could hear in Natalie’s voice that she was going to tell me she was pregnant. That’s how new the news was, even to her! 🙂 I knew I would be going to Australia, but I still wasn’t sure exactly when, so it was a bit doubtful whether I would be able to be there, but during the year it became clear that I would be able to be at the birth of Natalie and Hugo’s second child!
It’s a tough pregnancy, and thanks to gestational diabetes Natalie will be induced when she is 39 weeks pregnant. The last birth went incredibly quickly, which resulted in a very long recovery period for Natalie, so this time they want to do things more slowly, and definitely with an epidural. That means that the chance that I will miss the birth is smaller, but before we get to that point we do a fabulous maternity shoot on the beach, with a special dress which Natalie bought just for the shoot.
And then we wait for the induction date: the 30th of June.
On Thursday 30 June Natalie and Hugo have to be at the hospital in Dirksland in the evening. Natalie is very nervous, thanks to her experiences at the last birth. Her body reacted very strongly to the gel that was used to ripen her cervix, so this time they’ve chosen to use a balloon. She is dilated to 1cm, so that’s a good start. I get everything ready, just in case, because if it does start up tonight, then I need to get there as quickly as I possibly can. Tomorrow it’s Concert at Sea, which means the roads will be busy, so it would be rather handy if labour started up tonight.
The night passes quietly. There is some contracting, but nothing serious. The 1st of July brings a lot of waiting, Natalie and Hugo in the hospital, and me at home. They do use some gel after all to help ripen the cervix, and then they will break her waters. Because it all went so quickly last time (although her waters broke spontaneously last time) we agree that I will start driving when they break her waters. Then it can’t go wrong, right?
In the end it takes some time before this happens, because it’s so busy on the ward. At 15:20 the moment arrives, and contractions start shortly afterwards. I’ve studied all the roads and the traffic situation closely, and I hope to be able to get to Dirksland with as little traffic as possible. Here’s hoping!
At 15:59 Hugo sends a message that Natalie is having serious contractions, and at 16:13 he sends a message saying, “she’s feeling pressure”. Whaaaaat?! You’re kidding me!! Pressure after just one hour of contractions?! I’m sitting in the car completely stressed out, until I receive a message a minute later: “she’s dilated 5cm, and getting an epidural now.” Whew! I was losing my mind a little. 😉
At 16:40 I am in the hospital. The room is empty. Hugo is in the corridor outside the OR, waiting. He’s nervous, because Natalie has been gone for a while. I explain how an epidural is done, and that it really can take some time, especially if you’re having strong contractions. We chat, and kill time for a while, and then Natalie comes out of the OR. She looks happy, and says it wasn’t too bad. We’re back in the room at 17:00.
The epidural is working well, and Natalie is chatting while Hugo takes some photos of the room. One moment she is smiling in bed, and the next she is crying. She’s so happy that she’ll soon be meeting their baby (their son, by the way!), but she’s also scared. She tells Hugo to get something out of the bag, and then suddenly she’s giving me a gift. There’s even a gift for my daughter, Liv, who turns one in a few days. How sweet of her to think of that!
Every now and then there seems to be a contraction which she feels a bit more, but when I ask, she says she only feels it in her groin. If she starts feeling pressure, we have to call the nurse. Hugo has something to eat in the meantime.
Just after 18:00, the midwife comes by to see how things are going. She wants to do an internal check. She gets everything ready, and then suddenly says, ‘oh!’ as if she’s dropped something. But as it turns out she was just surprised by baby’s head. Not only is Natalie at 10cm, the head is directly at the exit! That’s a whole lot different to the last time! They ideally want to wait for Natalie to feel the urge to push, so they decide to wait a little. After 45 minutes she’s still not feeling any pressure, so they decide to do some ‘practise pushes’, just to see what happens. In spite of Natalie not feeling any urge to push, it goes well, and at 19:00 she’s given the go ahead to push with all her might. I can imagine that this bit is quite scary for Natalie, considering the last time she gave birth, but if that’s the case, then she’s not letting it show. She’s doing a great job! Slowly we see the head appear, while Hugo watches in fascination. 18 minutes after she started pushing, at 19:18, a beautiful boy covered in vernix is born! He immediately starts to cry, and in his fright, he pees all over his mother! He is simply beautiful!
Hugo stands next to her, filled with pride, and Natalie looks lovingly from Noah (baby’s name is Noah) to Hugo. She did so well! Hugo can cut the cord, and then Natalie and Noah can cuddle properly! Natalie slowly begins to realise that she did it, and when she looks at Hugo she can’t stop the tears from coming. Tears of happiness, and of relief, and release of the tension. Noah is wide awake, and is looking around quietly. What a lovely little boy.
It’s almost Elina’s bed time, so Hugo calls up the grandparents so Elina can come and meet her little brother. A short while later, Natalie becomes unwell. She lost quite a bit of blood, but she also has not eaten in some time, so that could also be the cause. Hugo gets a chance to cuddle Noah, while Natalie has something to eat and lies down flat. She soon feels better. After his cuddles with papa, Noah is weighed. He weighs 3550g, and after all the checks and measures (apart from a second check which they want done because his fontanel is not very big), he is dressed and given his first bottle.
A little while later Elina arrives with her grandparents. She is shy at first, but soon she is glued to her brother’s side. She wants to cuddle him continually, and Hugo also gets a big kiss from her! I take a photo of the whole family, and then Elina wants to hold Noah ‘alone’. She’s such a proud big sister! Of course, Oma and Opa also wants cuddles, and Oma becomes teary-eyed when holding Noah, which makes Natalie tearful again. There is so much love in the room – it’s beautiful.
Elina has discovered the baby bed in the room, and she is determined that Noah must lie in it, so that is what they do. Noah goes to his bed, and I head home.
Within the next 3 weeks I get another chance to admire Noah, when they come for a newborn photo session.
Dear Natalie, Hugo and Elina, it was so special to be allowed to be there again. If you ever have a third baby I’ll come and sleep in the hospital. 😉 I wish you much happiness together!