Birth photos are so important, even when things don’t go as planned…

Birth photos are so important, even when things don’t go as planned…

***TRIGGER WARNING***
This story ends well, but some of the images are very intense to see

3 years ago I was invited to photograph the birth of Saar. I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was a birth that made a big impression on me. Looking at these images again made me feel everything I felt that day. It all ended well, but I didn’t know that when I was taking the photos. I took beautiful photos during Saar’s birth, but once I had finished this birth session, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to share it. Dennis and Angela felt that it was a pity that it wouldn’t be shared, because they were incredibly proud of their Saar, and I understood their viewpoint completely. Today Saar turns 3, and after discussing it with Dennis and (a very pregnant) Angela, we’re sharing the story today, but written from Dennis’s point of view. Their experience that day was very different to mine, and they are still very pleased that everything was documented.

A birth story, told by the papa, which shows you how important birth photos are, even when (or maybe ‘especially when’) things do not go according to plan…

The birth of – September 18th 2014

A home birth. In a special birthing tub. With a birth photographer. If someone had told me years ago that this was how Saar would be born, I would probably have laughed very loudly. But not any more. In fact, in spite of the rough start, it was an amazing experience. Here’s my report of an intense day…

Thursday 18 September 2014, 8:30am. Two days before her due date, Angela’s belly seems to be indicating that something may be happening. I’m about to go to work, because we both thought things would take a while yet, considering it’s our first baby. But now that Angela has had a shower, it seems like this really is it: I change out of my business suit. The midwife has been called, and she’ll come by at 10am. When she does, she tells us Angela is already dilated to 5cm! That’s quick…

Time to fill the birth tub. Thanks to nerves I nearly succeed in breaking the connection with the tap completely, but Angela helps out in between contractions. In around 45 minutes the tub is full. Angela has always wanted a home birth. It’s something I never even thought about until I had to, but I became more and more enthusiastic about it the more we talked about it. Neither of us had ever heard of birth photography. A photographer at the birth? No way! At least, that was my first thought. Until I saw some photos. Wow… immediately we decided to do it. So at around 12 noon, the photographer, Marry, comes in. By now both Angela and I are in the tub. It’s a warm September day, and the water temperature of around 37 celsius makes things extra warm. Up until now, everything has been going well. Angela is coping well with the contractions, and is very calm. There is gentle hypnobirthing music playing in the background. She’s starting top feel the urge to push, and it’s all getting tougher. Then her waters break, and after an hour of hard work Saar is born. In the water, just like we wanted. She looks at us from under the water. What an amazing moment, to look into that little girl’s eyes at last…

But that calm moment is disturbed when we lift her out of the water. Saar is limp, pale, and groaning every now and then, and is rather lifeless. I can cut the cord, but after that, things start to happen quickly. Saar is being resucitated on the changing pillow, and we’re still in the tub. A very strange moment, and one we will never forget. And also: it’s such a direct contrast to the calm of the beautiful water birth moments earlier, and so different to how we pictured our first moments with Saar. Together we encourage Saar, but we’re really completely powerless. Then Angela gets to hold Saar briefly. She is a little less pale, but apart from a little groan every now and then, she’s still very lifeless. The midwife decides to call an ambulance, and I get ready to go with the ambulance. The placenta has not yet been born, so Angela cannot join us. And then, there are 2 ambulances outside our home, and an incubator in the hallway, and we say goodbye. Angela has to stay at home with the midwife to birth the placenta, and I go with Saar in the ambulance. Fortunately she starts to go pinker in the ambulance, and even pulls her little hat off her head. At that moment it’s the best sight I’ve ever seen!

With some oxygen and some other bells and whistles, Saar does well. She does not have an infection of any kind, and after 4 intense days in the hospital we can take her home. What caused it all is still a guess. Examination of the cord blood showed that there was luckily no shortage of oxygen during the birth. And by that time she is doing great, breastfeeding well, and starting to gain weight.

Finally, a few weeks later, we sit on the couch to look at Marry’s photos. A wonderful visual of the whole process, and everything that happened that day. Beautiful images. Fun images. Emotional images. But all images you cannot make yourself, and would now never want to be without. Not just of the birth, and the first moments afterwards, but also of the moments in the hospital, which Angela had to miss. So precious, and helpful in processing everything that happened. Not just for us, but also for Saar later. Because that same little girl, who had such a tough start, is now a wonderful toddler who is doing just great. Dear Saar, we wish you a very happy 3rd birthday! We now look forward to the birth of your brother, hopefully a water birth at home again, but with a rather less bumpy start…

 

 

 

Geboortefoto's Geboortefotografie Geboortefotograaf Birth Photography

In the hospital

 

 

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