Ever wondered what true bliss looks like? This is it ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^!!!!!!
As you may know, I first started photographing births in April 2016 and what a wild, wild ride it has been! I have learned SO much in 1 year: the difference between dilating and effacing, that a “due date” is completely irrelevant and should really be called a guess date – or even better, just tell her the MONTH she might have the baby in! I’ve learned every birth is wildly different, that just because you had a long labor with your first baby doesn’t mean much when it comes to the birth of your second baby. I’ve learned that being on-call is NOT for the faint of heart – it is incredibly taxing on your spouse and your family life (but that’s a different blog post…). I’ve learned that I LOVE photographing births just as much as I had hoped; that if I could solely make a living on photographing mothers bringing new life into this world, I would in a heartbeat. It is thrilling, powerful, humbling, emotional work. Having photographed weddings now for going on 17 years (OMG!), and having been married for 11 years and given birth to three children – I have been part of and photographed incredible people on very important days in their life – but photographing the birth of a couple’s FIRST child – THAT is the stuff of this life, the real stuff. The images in this blog post aren’t just images to scroll blithely through and decide for yourself if they are “good” – this birth is SO much more than that. Amanda and Marcus went from just a couple in love to a family of three!
Amanda and I connected in the early fall and I went to their home to meet her and her husband Marcus and their fur pup, Madison. She had been referred to me by Noelle Gilmore from Bodies in Bloom in Greenland, NH (and incredible studio – check it out!). We talked about her EDD of December 8th and about all things baby, birth and pregnancy – it was fun! Even Marcus was excited about the birth being photographed, and it was very apparent to me that Amanda is most definitely the apple of his eye! We kept in touch via text and a phone call or two as the date came and went. She posted pictures of getting their Christmas tree up earlier than ever before so they would be ready for baby if he or she arrived (they didn’t find out the sex of the baby until he was born – SO thrilling!!!). One week past her due date came – and then two weeks! Now it is December 22 and we all come to the realization that it is very possible, if not likely, that this little punkin (continued below)…
is going to be a Christmas baby! Low and behold, I get a text from Amanda at 11:31am on Christmas Day, “I’ve been having pretty strong, regular contractions.” My bags had been packed to photograph her birth story for 6+ weeks now, so I was more than ready! Now I just needed to wait to hear from them that the midwife was in fact on her way, that would be my cue to leave as well. At 5:35 pm I get a text from Marcus that Cilia Bannenberg, their (incredible) midwife, is on her way and Amanda is 6cm. YAY! I kiss my family and run off to photograph their home birth in Newmarket, NH, about 25 minutes from my home in Dover, NH. When I arrived Amanda was having regular contractions but able to laugh and snack in between. Here, midwife Elizabeth Hopkinson (there assisting along with midwife Morgan Gaines of Flourish Midwifery), listens to baby’s heartbeat. Within the hour we all moved upstairs to the master bedroom where the birthing tub was set up and ready for Amanda to get in. As she progressed, Marcus got in with her (the amazing husband that he is!), and was there with her all the way! Amanda was so strong, SO intense – but relaxed when she needed to be – and ultimately just needed a touch of gravity to help baby down for the last handful of pushes. At 10:12pm, after waiting 42 weeks and 2 days, Emerson Henry was born, 7lbs 14oz of perfect little baby boy!