Sprint for the finish | Birth Photography Zeeland
Very early in her pregnancy, I receive an email from Marloes, which ends: “PS. Family and friends do not yet know about the pregnancy, 😉 “It’s so special to me that I often already know about the pregnancy so soon!
A couple of weeks later we meet up at my home. Marloes is a nurse, and knows quite a bit more than the average new mom. For Jerome, her partner, it’s all a lot newer. Both of them are really looking forward to the baby’s arrival. When they’re at my place they don’t yet know what the baby will be, but a couple of weeks later I see a picture of a blue cake – it’s a boy! He’s due on ~Freedom Day, the 5th of May.
However, this baby wants his freedom a little earlier, it seems. On the 30th of April I receive a WhatsApp message from Marloes. It’s 11:45, and she says she thinks she’s been having contractions since 9am. She’ll keep me up to date, and we’ll see how the day goes. At 12:40 I receive another message. She’s going to call the midwife because she’s “starting to have to puff the contractions away.” I’ve gotten everything ready in the meantime. It could take ages yet, but it could also go quickly, so I’m ready, just in case.
At 14:10 another update: 1cm dilated. Hmmm… no need to rush then, but at least something is happening. Marloes says she has to call the midwife if anything changes, and the midwife will call her at 18:00. Apparently Marloes calls her before 18:00 though, because the next update is before 18:00, and the midwife has already been by to have a look. She’s now 3cm dilated, and they’re going to head to the hospital soon. Marloes expects to be there at 19:00. It’s starting to look like things are happening now. We agree that I will head out there at her next check, when she’s about 5cm dilated. But things don’t quite go like that, because at 19:48 I receive a phone call from Jerome. “The midwife says it’s going quickly, and you should come.” If the midwife is saying that, then I know enough! Grab my gear and go! I tell Jerome I’m on my way, but that he should let me know if it goes very, very fast, because then I’ll run, with my camera around my neck. Less than 2 minutes later he phones me again…
I am in the car, and I drive as quickly as I can. She’s 10cm dilated already! Wow! There’s really no way to know how it will go. Such a calm, slow start, and now a sprint to the finish! This boy is in a rush!
At 20:13 I’m at the hospital. I never know what the situation will be like when I walk in, so I always stay as calm as I can, and that is a good thing, because I walk into an incredibly calm, peaceful scene. Is someone here giving birth???? I look around the curtain, and Marloes is lying on the bed. There’s a nice, calm piece of music playing in the background, and the atmosphere in incredibly serene. I am told that she’s been given the ok to start pushing. She’s so calm! Maybe that will change when she has a contraction…
But no… a contraction comes and Marloes pushes powerfully, but calmly. She wants just one thing – to hold hands. Jerome’s hand in her right hand, and the postnatal nurse’s hand in her left. If it’s not the way she wants it, she lets them know. Not crossly, not sweetly, just the words needed to get the message across. “Your hands are so warm Jerome. Cool them down with a facecloth.” “Dry your hands, they’re so wet.” “My back is hurting. Hand, Jerome.” Marloes is having a lot of pain in her lower back, and Jerome is applying counter-pressure with his fist. She’s given the option of changing positions, or getting onto the birthing stool, but she doesn’t want to move from where she is now. She can’t move, and wants to stay where she is. She also doesn’t want to pull her legs up, but wants to push in her own way, which she’s doing very well!
She’s encouraged through every contraction by the midwife and nurse. I see Jerome looking hopefully with them a few times, but there’s nothing to see yet. He’s probably wondering why everyone is being so enthusiastic, haha! Every now and then Marloes says something. “Hand! Hand! No, not that one, the cold one!” She’s boiling hot, but the aircon is not working, so other than cold washcloths, we can’t do much to help her. And the room does have to be warm for the baby, when he arrives.
The pushing is going well, but slowly. The midwife has seen that the baby is not lying completely straight in the birth canal, which makes things more difficult. Marloes has been pushing for an hour, and is exhausted. The midwife wants to give it another 30 minutes, and then she’ll have to call the gynaecologist. We sometimes see some of baby’s hair, but he just doesn’t want to turn that last ‘corner’.
After one and a half hours of pushing, the midwife decides to call the gynaecologist. She turns around to get the phone, and it seems to give Marloes just that last bit of strength she needs, because the baby slowly starts to appear. Yes!!! Come on Marloes!! You can do it!! We don’t want to see the gynaecologist. The midwife hears us cheering and turns back around, and hangs up the phone. She doesn’t have to call!
With a little help, a few minutes later it finally happens – at 21:43 a little boy is born! Jerome was going to catch the baby, but he does a strange turn, and is a little caught up in the umbilical cord, so the actual birth is a but hectic, but it doesn’t matter. He’s here!
The expression on Jerome’s face has gone from worried and amazed, to completely in love, looking at his son. Marloes wants to hold the baby, but she’s overwhelmed with emotion. When they get a good look at him she exclaims, “he’s purple!” but fortunately that’s no reason to worry. He just needs to adjust to his new situation, and pink up a bit. Lots of babies take a little time to go pink. This little boy may have sprinted those last few centimetres of dilation, but the pushing was a different story, and it was a little rough for him too. Marloes tickles under his feet a few times, so that he cries a little more, and continues to turn pink. He’s doing great. His name is Liam. Welcome, sweet Liam.
It doesn’t take long until Marloes is ‘back’. She’s busy worrying about all kinds of things – how everything looks down below, whether the haemorrhoids have gotten worse, what photos are being taken, how the stitching is going. She just blurts it all out – it’s wonderful! Jerome can’t take his eyes off his son. Marloes wants the placenta to be born before they cut the cord, so that I can take a photo of Liam still attached to his little home. She and Jerome both feel the cord to see if it’s stopped pulsing. A short while later the placenta is born, and caught by Jerome. I think it’s very cool that he catches it – most people think a placenta is gross, but it’s an amazing organ.
Before Jerome cuts the cord, I take a photo of Liam and his placenta. Once Liam is lying comfortably with Marloes again, they phone the family. They’ll all be coming to visit soon in the hospital . They’re told to wait so that there’s time for the stitching to be finished, and for Marloes to freshen up, and for Liam to nurse for the first time. He is very interested in the breast, but doesn’t seem to want to drink yet. He’s a little nauseous from the birth, but he did taste a little. 🙂 He has beautiful lips – definitely his mother’s genes there!
Marloes gives Jerome instruction about where the baby clothes are, so that Liam can soon be dressed. First his umbilical cord is tied off with a special string, instead of a clamp. This is a softer choice, which is nice for the baby. Just in case, the midwife ties 2 on his cord stump, because then it’s definitely good. Now it’s time for cuddles with papa. It’s always extra touching, a daddy with so many tattoos, and a tiny little baby. Liam is immediately at ease with his papa.
Before the family arrive, Marloes has a shower, and I take some photos of Liam. A short while later the room is full of grandparents. There is champagne, and everyone is on cloud 9!
Jerome watches the festivities from a little distance, with the most satisfied, happy smile on his face. Lovely.
When he’s 11 days old, I see Liam, Jerome and Marloes again, for the newborn shoot. There’s a lot of pee, poop, and sweat, and to top it off Marloes has a small bleed, but it all ends well. The photo’s literally cost blood, sweat, tears (and poop and pee), but they are worth it! What a gorgeoud family! I wish the three of you you all the best!
Liam 11 days old during the newborn session