When Michelle reached out to me about documenting their second birth I was thrilled.
She was working with the Serenity Birth midwife team (which was extra cool because they were also my midwife's with Jace). Michelle had not hired a photographer for her first son Weko's birth, and really felt like she wanted them this go around. They were keeping their tradition of keeping babies gender a surprise, and planning her second home water birth!
I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to document their birth.
The morning of September 11th, I texted Michelle to say hello, touch base and see how she was feeling. She texted back that it was so funny that I texted her at that moment, because within the last few minutes, she had just started to feel like she was leaking amniotic fluid. Michelle was still leaking small amounts of fluid, but was still having no strong contractions or any types of patterns yet and relaxed the rest of the day after talking with her midwife and doula team. As evening rolled around, I imagine her whole birth team was surprised we had not been called over yet. She was still experiencing no pain and even went to a small get together that night. We were all on standby...bags were packed, I kept my phone by my side and had anticipated on being woke up to my phone buzzing and leaving at any moment during the night. I woke up at 1:00 and then 2:00 and again at 4:00, checking my phone just to make sure and there was no new news I missed.
Just as the sun was rising around 6:00 am on September 12th, I got a text from Michelle saying that she was able to sleep between contractions that night and they were still about 15-20 min apart and lasting just a little over a minute. Michelle called her doula over who lived around the corner from them, and her husband Matthew started setting up the tub and getting it filled with warm water so it would be ready to go. I jumped up out of bed, made a coffee, triple checked my camera bags and just waited next to my phone for the ok to head over.
About an hour after that, Michelle texted me and said I could probably head over to be on the safe side, because her contractions had intensified a bunch the last 30 minutes and I was a good 30 minute drive from her. AHHHHH! GAME TIME!
It's now 7:40 and I am pulling up and walking to the door when Matthew walks out the front door and surprisingly announced "the baby was just born". My heart sank for a moment because the last thing a birth photographer ever wants is to miss the birth! The midwifes had been video chatting with them, but were also on their way still (we all thought we had a little time). Her wonderful birth doula Regina (@reginar.roy) and Matthew (her husband) were there supporting her and their little baby girl was just ready for her grand entrance into the world.
Michelle had JUST gave birth about two minutes before I walked in. She looked at me and apologized for it going so fast, we both laughed in amazement of the speedy delivery as I captured those first few minutes with her surprise baby GIRL. Within a few minutes after I arrived, her midwife team walked in and went to work getting the placenta delivered and doing all the necessary first checks.
After the cord blood went to baby, Matthew cut the cord. Baby and mama were separated for the first time. Baby sis had a gentle newborn exam, then she went straight into dad's arms for some skin on skin time. Michelle took a quick shower, and then was able to relax in the familiar comfort of her own bed as she was taken care of by her loving midwifes. Their family dog Mogli was by Michelle's side the whole time keeping a careful eye on his mama and new sister. That pup seriously cracked me up with how much eye contact he was giving me and that boy was not camera shy haha!
After the tub was drained and most of the exams were complete, the baby was given back to mama and latched onto Michelle right away and began nursing.
M&M were surprised that their two year old son Weko was still sleeping. Matthew and Mogli (their dog) went to get big brother up and I smooshed myself into the perfect corner and got ready to capture those first sibling connections. Big brother Weko woke up and his curious eyes sparkled as daddy carried him into the room to see mama and the new baby.
Matthew and Weko joined Michelle and the new baby in bed, but not before some good morning puppy kisses from Mogli. Climbing up next to his mama, Weko looked down at his sister. He gently touched her head and was mostly uninterested at that point. After a quick wake me up snack for Weko, they called their family via video chat to announce the big news! It all went by so fast that none of their family had known Michelle was in active labor yet or even had delivered the baby! It was quite the shock for them all!
I loved capturing the expressions as Michelle and Matthew spilled the beans to their parents that they just gave birth to a baby girl!
Weko warmed up quickly while the family was video chatting with grandparents and snuggled in to mama to get a closer look at the new baby . He watched closely as the midwifes finished up the exams and loved touching his new sister's tiny little toes. After the midwifes were finished up, we all said our goodbyes and left the new family of FOUR to settle in and get some much needed rest at home.
I'm so glad I got to document Michelle's birth, and I'm so thankful she allowed me to share her birth story images.
Welcome to the world Bowie Lane we are so thankful you are here.
Primary Midwife: April Clyde APRN, CPM, CNM | Serenity Birth Center
Doula : Regina Roy
Photography: Krystal Leaver