Stop thinking and go! | Birth photography Dordrecht
How amazing is it when the grandmother-to-be suggests a birth photographer for you as a gift?! That’s what Richard’s mother did when his wife Tamara was pregnant with their first child. They were free to choose a maternity, birth or/and newborn session. Early in the pregnancy Richard, Tamara and Lydia (Richard’s mother) came to meet me. Lydia is a nurse in the delivery rooms and fertility department, and I had met her before at a birth in Zwijndrecht.
It was a lovely meeting. Richard didn’t really feel any need for a photographer, but did realise that if he had to take the photos himself, there probably wouldn’t be very many of them. 😉 In the end they chose a birth and newborn session. Wonderful!
After the meeting Tamara sent me a pregnancy update once every few weeks. She did pregnancy yoga, and was given a lot of tips there, which gave her an increasingly positive attitude towards the birth. Up until week 30 the pregnancy went well, and Tamara still went to her spinning class every week! Unfortunately at her 33 week check up her blood pressure was too high. She had to stop working, and take medication to lower her blood pressure. At the next check up everything looked fine, and she felt like she had a lot more energy again.
At the beginning of November she emails me again. We’re into the last month now, because she is due on December 5th. Although she is still feeling good, her blood pressure has gone up again. They’re talking about inducing her before her due date, and she’s being monitored carefully. One week later, on November 12th, she emails again to say that they are going to induce labour on Monday 17 November.
That weekend we speak on the phone, and I understand that the gynaecologist thinks she may go into labour before she is induced. I’m surprised, because Tamara also says they’ll start the induction with tablets to ripe her cervix, and if her cervix isn’t ripening yet, then she’s not going to go into labour just yet. I’m a bit puzzled, but I guess I’ll see on Monday. Tamara will be 37 weeks and 2 days pregnant.
On the 17th of November Richard keeps me up to date. Tamara turns out to have a ripe cervix, and is 3cm dilated! So that’s why the gynaecologist thought she may have the baby over the weekend! At 8:40 they break her waters, and half an hour later they start the IV with medication to get the contractions going, on the lowest setting. The contractions become more and more regular, and at 11:30 Richard calls me to tell me that Lydia thinks I can start heading out there. So I take a slow drive to Dordrecht, and arrive at 12:40. Tamara is hanging over the bed, with a sheet around her. Her mother Leontine (the other proud grandmother-to-be), Richard and Lydia are there too. Tamara was just about to get into bed to change position. She is very calm and is coping well with the contractions. In between contractions she’s chatting, so by the look of it things may take a while yet. I understand that at 12:00 she was dilated to 4cm, so there is slow, but steady progress. I install myself on the couch next to Richard. Every time Tamara has a contraction she withdraws into herself.
Tamara doesn’t want anyone to provide counter-pressure on her back, or hold her hand. She’s just stopped thinking, and getting on with it. While she lies on her side puffing away the intensifying contractions, the four of us chat about this and that. I ask her if it bothers her, but she says she’s enjoying the distraction provided, even though she can’t participate in the conversation any more. She has withdrawn completely into herself in order to deal with contractions. At 13:30 she needs to go to the toilet, and it’s also a good moment to move into a new position. She stands up next to the bed, and takes a quick bathroom break.
When she’s back in bed at 14:30 it seems like she’s making good progress and is now in a new stage of labour. Lydia occasionally checks the monitors, and makes sure the IV is running well, and Richard receives some useful WhatsApp messages. 😉 Of course I take photos, but it’s strange to have so many people there, and not one of us can really do anything. We just sit and watch while Tamara does it on her own!
At 15:00 she’s checked again, and she’s dilated to 8cm! Wow, she’s making great progress! She’s not protested at all, and just let’s it all happen. We can see it’s getting harder for her, but we can only see that by how much she’s withdrawing into herself. Lydia starts to get everything ready for the arrival of her granddaughter, and Richard jokes that it would be nice if his daughter could arrive before the six o’clock news. 😉 In the following hour the contractions get stronger and stronger. Tamara is getting hot, and Richard has to take off her socks. She then tries to go to the toilet one more time. There she says she’s feeling a mild urge to push, so she is checked. There’s a small cervical lip, but she’s dilated to 9,5cm, and at 16:30 she can start pushing! It’s all going so quickly!
In the meantime Tamara’s father Jan has arrived, and his timing is very lucky! 😉 This baby will be born surrounded by father and grandparents! Because she’s lying on her side, Tamara starts pushing on her side, and turns onto her back later. Someone asks, “Can you feel it more now?” and Tamara’s response is, “No, I just keep thinking: get out!”
Slowly a head appears. Lydia has fetched a mirror so that Tamara can see where she’s pushing. It’s going well, but she’s very tired. She still says nothing, and does everything asked of her, but you can see that she doesn’t have much energy left. She’s tired, but keeps going! At a certain moment the head just doesn’t progress any further. It’s ‘stuck’ at that point, and the midwife decides that an episiotomy is required. One or 2 pushes later the baby should arrive, but no… she’s staying where she is. Now things are getting a bit tense, I can see it in the midwife’s face. She does another cut….
Still she doesn’t come out. Suddenly I see a lot of concerned faces around the bed, and the midwife decides to call the gynaecologist. Luckily their little girl is still doing well. A few seconds later the gynaecologist is in the room, and the midwife appears with the vacuum pump. Luckily this proves unnecessary. The gynaecologist applies heavy pressure to Tamara’s belly and there comes the head! Whew, what a relief! Shortly afterwards a beautiful baby girl is born.
Granny Leontine has tears in her eyes, Grandpa Jan has sat down, I think. I can’t see him any more from where I am. Daddy Richard is smiling from ear to ear, but also becomes a bit emotional. Granny Lydia is standing beside them, full of pride, and then the realisations comes to Tamara too, and a tear rolls down her cheek.
Her name is Daphne. ♥
Something extra special: When Tamara was born her parents had trouble choosing between the names Tamara and Daphne. In the end they felt that Tamara combined better with their last name.
Tamara is completely exhausted, but both she and little Daphne are doing well. It’s a tiny little baby, and I’m very curious as to what she weighs! When the cord has stopped pulsing, daddy cuts of (with a bit of a disgusted look on his face, haha!), and a short while later the placenta is born.
After Tamara has been stitched it’s time for Daphne to have some skin-to-skin cuddles with daddy. Tamara is spoiled by her parents with 2 beautiful, emotional gifts: a little bead in the shape of a pram for her bracelet, and a bracelet for Daphne with her name on it.
In the meantime Daphne is weighed and measured. She weighs just 2796 grams, and is really a small baby! She passes all her checks well. Granny Leontine combs her hair, and Granny Lydia dresses her. The clothes are far too big for her – so cute!
I take a few more lovely photos – just like the rest of the family. 😉 Then Daphne can cuddle with granny to get warm, because her temperature was on the low side. A proud uncle (Richard’s brother, Andre) and aunt arrive, and I take a group photo, of course. And in about a week I’ll see them again for the newborn photoshoot.
Dear Tamara, Richard, grandparents, aunts and uncles, I wish you much happiness with Daphne!