When I met Emma & Kent back in December, I knew that their home was going to be a magical place to deliver their first child. When they purchased the house last year, Emma envisioned having a beautiful home birth here someday, just as her mother had done with her 30 years prior. Now that they were expecting, she had the most beautiful room set up for the arrival of their son.
On the evening of March 9th, I arrived along with her midwife, Jessica from Roots of Life – there was snow in the forecast and with both of us an hour away we decided it would be better to get there before the storm hit. After a quick vital check, we gave mama space with her birth team (papa & her mom).
Emma has written her birth story beautifully and I am honored to be able to share it with you below.
To my Dearest Clyde,
It all began at around 5AM on Saturday, March 9th, when I awoke to noticeable contractions. I then woke your Papa and we discussed how this was feeling in comparison to the nights before, which were more like menstrual aches. Earlier in the week that Thursday, I had lost my mucus plug and then on Friday we met with the midwife for our prenatal visit. During that visit I remember speaking to her about how to get into the right mindset, considering you could come any day now or two weeks from then. As we discuss below, you came in due time. Papa and I thought this might be early labor based on the intensity and frequency of the contractions. Early labor lasted around 14 hours total which we spent documenting the contractions, drinking lots of water, eating nourishing snacks and listening to music. It was helpful that we also passed the time by taking our dogs for a walk, watching the KU basketball game and listening Jim Gaffigan, a comedian that always makes me laugh. It was a sign to me that it was still early labor because I could laugh through the contractions.
The surges of energy continued in my lower back and the bottom of my uterus. Throughout the day we documented how often you moved and when I felt the most intense contractions/surges thus far. As the surges began to elevate, your Papa was in contact with the midwife, sharing our progress. It was determined that she would arrive that evening as the tempo of surges increased. Your Papa and I labored through the night as the birth team helped to support and give us space. The team consisted of the midwife and eventually her assistant, your Oma (my mother), and the birth photographer. To help move labor along and manage my surges, we walked the stairs and utilized the heat of the shower. We also spent time in the birthing tub, it was comforting but we both were so tired from a long day of labor that we kept nodding off. We also tried other positions and activities like walking throughout the house, climbing the stairs, sitting on the toilet, as well as using the bed to lean on the birthing ball.
As labor increased and transitioned to active labor, we also listened to our hypnobabies tracks, attempted to rest between surges, utilized a heated rice sock on my back, used the rebozo cloth to sift my lower back and belly to relieve the energy, massaged my feet, and massaging my back by moving the energy down from my lower back to my feet. This lasted for about 16 hours, so I utilized breathing techniques to breath the energy out of my body and keep my mouth open and loose. Many times we found ourselves moving positions and leaning over to cope with the elevated energy from my surges. I cried once not from the intensity of the surges but out of frustration because of the vague timeline of labor. Throughout the process of labor the midwife was always nearby observing but never intruding. Her patience, trust, and wisdom were vital in allowing our labor to continue to progress at it’s necessary pace. I received two vaginal exams over the 16 hour active labor period and at each I was around 5 cm. This came as both frustrating and motivational, we discussed that my belly shape protruded quite a bit and that you (baby) may need more help getting down lower in my pelvis. To help reposition you, we utilized the rebozo cloth to hug you up and into my body. During this phase of my laboring I became vocal, trying to express the energy out of my body through my lungs and mouth. Our bigger dog Bo kept nearby and seemed to be interested, while our smaller dog Bella, didn’t seem interested whatsoever. We were very curious how they would react during the labor process and interestingly enough their roles seemed to shift later on.
By 11AM the next morning, we progressed through labor with the midwife often checking your heartbeat with her fetal monitor as well as checking in with me. As I sat in a rocking chair, attempting to rest between a surge, all of a sudden I felt and heard a large GA-GUSH! I exclaimed “My Water!” Everyone around thought I needed water and jumped to grab me a glass, but I clarified that my water had broke. The midwife informed me that things would possibly become more intense from here on out. She suggested we go and utilize the shower again to cope with the coming intensity. The dress I was wearing was now soaked with the amniotic fluid. While in the upstairs shower, I became very vocal and from then (11AM) until your birth (2PM) the energy was so intense, I didn’t know what to do with it. Earlier on, I could breathe through it and release that energy, but this lower uterus and back energy was big. As I progressed through the labor, my mind initially went to thinking that I was on an endless merry-go round, just continuing to cycle with no end in sight, but then I reminded myself that I was on a mountain headed to a summit. Your Oma (my mother) put on some very centering and instrumental music that helped me through the surges. I tried to harness it and focus on using it in my body as you moved through my pelvis.
I began to feel my pelvis expanding and wasn’t really sure if I should be “pushing” but it felt like things were progressing in that direction. Your Papa was a huge support as I leveraged him when I breathed and “pushed”. The feelings were intense and I rode the waves of energy slowly moving from standing, to leaning, and eventually to kneeling. I gripped your Papa’s forearms and squeezed as the energy passed. This was so intense and so exhausting. Eventually the midwife suggested I get on the bed, as I was on all fours on the hardwoods floor with a large amount of fluid around me. At this point, our bigger dog Bo had moved to snoring at the foot of the bed. Our smaller dog Bella, was now in the doorway listening intently but keeping her distance. I was primarily on all fours as I moved through the pushing surges for about 35 minutes. I felt very constipated through this transition and pushing phase, my body released a good amount of reddish fluid and eventually bowel movements. The midwife was supportive in reassuring me this was normal and provided support in cleaning all of the fluids up as we progressed. I let my body tell me how and when to push. At first it felt foreign and unsure, but as I continued I let my body take over and lead the way. As I pushed and breathed, eventually the midwife asked “ Do you want to feel your baby’s head?” I was so happy to hear that you were that close, I now had sight of the finish line. I reached down and felt the top of your head! What a motivation to meet you and a light at the end of this 33 hour tunnel. With these last pushes, I did feel the ring of fire as my body stretched to move your head through. I knew I just needed to get your head out and your body would follow!
Finally through breathing and pushing you came out! What a relief! The midwife passed you up underneath of me to your Papa and I. I exclaimed “ It’s a boy!” as you proceeded to pee. After a long labor of love you were born at 2:04 PM on Sunday March 10th, the day before your due date. It had been snowing big fluffy snowflakes throughout the day, but I was so focused on meeting you that I never had a chance to even look out the window. The midwife and her assistant checked you out and made sure to help you get the fluid from your mouth that you picked up on the way out. You cried to help get the rest out. I explored your beautiful body and rubbed the vernix that was all over your body into your skin. Your Papa and I got you into a blanket and hat as you rested on my belly and we held your hands. We gazed into your eyes with amazement. As time went on, the midwives refocused on me to make sure the placenta came out as it should. After just a few pushes and it came out intact, it was a gorgeous umbilical cord and placenta. Once all the blood from the placenta was transferred to you, it was time to cut the cord, your Papa did the honors. Then it was time to weigh and measure you. As the midwife assistant did that, the head midwife stitched up my third degree perineal tear. Your Papa comforted me as we gazed at you being weighed next to us. You had a long journey out, so you were ready to rest. The midwife team made sure that all was well and cleaned up before they headed out. We were so grateful to be able to settle into our comfortable home already.
The following weeks, we made sure to take it easy as we transitioned into our new little family. The midwife came to the house to check in with all three of us both physically and mentally. Making sure I was healing and you were growing! In order for you to grow we tackled the new task of breastfeeding, which was a group effort. You learning to latch, me learning to help you latch, Papa, Oma, the midwife, and postpartum doula providing unwavering insights and emotional support. In order for me to heal, I ate nourishing foods, drank lots of water, moved with postpartum grace and took in all the Clyde snuggles I could. Your Papa and I felt very supported by Oma, the midwife, the postpartum doula, and close friends. This was vital, because then we could make sure to focus the majority of our energy on you! We took the next 6 weeks to learning your cues and attempting to address your needs. We transitioned every week into more confident roles as you continued to grow. You have given us one of the most beautiful roles of our lives, parenthood. What a journey we have been on to get here and what beautiful horizons we have ahead of us, Love, Mama
After a cesarean birth, moms are wiped out from all of the medication, major surgery and lets be honest – THEY JUST HAD A BABY! As a birth photographer, I want my mamas to have the best memories of their birth and sometimes that means that I have to come back the next day to do those bonding photos in the hospital. If I am being honest, Fresh 48 Newborn Sessions are my FAVORITE so I just love coming back to capture these beautiful postpartum moments for mama.
Just 48 hours after Logan’s Birth, I headed back to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua to photograph mama loving on her baby and I am so glad that I did because we got GOLD. Mom was getting around much better and enjoying every minute with her little man. Daddy & Grandma were there too and were the best support system for this new mama who had just had major surgery. #ItTakesAVillage
When I walked in the room, I immediately thought he looked bigger. Babies change so quickly! He had already changed and was just 2 days old. Those tiny toes, spiked hair and sweet grins are the most precious moments and I know this mama will treasure them forever.
Today little Logan turns ONE and I can’t believe it. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was meeting his mom and dad as they patiently waited for his arrival. Most birth clients book me around 30 weeks but this mama well into their third trimester when we met. Dad had seen one of my birth’s on Facebook and said “WE NEED TO HIRE A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER”. I was so happy when they called.
These newlyweds were so excited to meet this little man and I was secretly hoping he would make his appearance on my birthday, January 11th (which was also his due date) but mom had been having pre-term labor so we all believed he would come closer to Christmas.
On January 7th, I got the call I had been waiting for…”I think I might be in labor, but I am going to go walk the mall so I can get these contractions regular”. BABY TIME! Around 9pm they got to the hospital and things were progressing nicely.
I arrived at St. Joseph’s Hospital at around midnight and Alicia was riding the wave of contractions pretty hard. With the help of her mom, husband and an amazing nurse she was breathing through these very powerful contractions.
Laboring through the night and into the morning hours with no progress, on January 8th, the decision was made that Logan would be born via Cesarean Section. Unfortunately, this meant I would not be permitted into the OR but dad was up for the challenge. Justin gowned up, got a quick camera tutorial and was ready to take on photographing his wife deliver their son in the OR. I have to say, he and the head nurse did a great job!
Many people ask me about photographing a c-section and I always say that I would LOVE to be in there but it is ultimately up to the doctors on call. With this being said, I think it is EXTREMELY important as a Birth Photographer to be there for all of it even if not at the main event.
For my c-section mamas, it is so amazing for them to see how strong they were and also, they get to see ALL the things that they may have missed due to being in recovery. Daddy meeting baby, those first cries, and any measurements that may have been taken. It is always my goal that mom can relive EVERYTHING from that day and if I can help do that, I have done my job.
With all c-section moms, I offer to come back the next day or two days later to do a Fresh 48 session since most of the time after the long time in recovery, they just want to sleep. I was so excited to head back a couple days later to capture Logan’s Fresh 48 Hospital Session.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Logan’s Birth Story later this week…
As a Seacoast NH Birth Photographer, I am honored to be a part of your birth story no matter where it takes place. Hospital, Birth Center, Home and even the OR. If you have questions or would like to learn more about Birth Stories by White Wave Photography, CONTACT ME today. I would love to chat more about your vision.
Are you a new mom looking for other moms to lean on?
I made this PRIVATE (moms and expecting moms only) group not only to share my birth and newborn work, but also to moms to connect with other moms and be empowered by each other. As a mom myself, I am always leaning on other moms for support. The expressions, “IT TAKES A VILLAGE” is so freaking true and I wanted to create a place where mamas (new and veterans) could come and support each other.
As a Birth and Baby Photographer located on the Seacoast of NH, I have the privilege of watching the babies that I photograph grow up. It is an honor to be invited into a birth space and I take that honor very seriously. To be present as a woman gives birth is amazing and when she asks you to continue that relationship and capture her son growing up, you get all the feels.
Thank you Ashley for the beautiful words to describe our time together and how much it means to you to have these photos printed to enjoy for a lifetime.
I am always hesitant about hiring Jennie to take pictures only because my husband hates pictures. However, Jennie has a magical way of making my husband feel comfortable. She keeps the pace fast and energy up so my husband doesn’t feel uncomfortable. The only other hesitation comes in when talking about price. Photography is an investment and it can seem hard to justify cost before you hire White Wave Photography. However, the memories Jennie captured are truly priceless. She has a way of capturing us and our personalities during each session and season of life.
My heart is instantly happy when I see my photos. I invest a lot in albums and am amazed at how the photos get more precious to me when I look at my albums. I must watch the birth video of my son at least monthly. Remembering the moment I became a mom (done by a professional!!) is one of the best gifts I have given myself.
Jennie has such a great energy. She is fun, creative, and flexible. When my son isn’t acting his best she has a way of working with his mood and delivering spectacular photos that capture him completely. Jennie has always been available to talk about outfit ideas or location ideas. She is so helpful to make sure I get what I had hoped for. The turn around time is so fast.
White Wave Photography is definitely worth the investment! My child is only a certain age once and it is amazing how fast the seasons of life go by. It is also amazing how fast you forget little nuances. Just looking at my photos reminds me what my son was into blowing raspberries for two months then one day he just stopped and was into something else. I have photos to remind me of that.
Birth photography is the best investment I ever made! I captured becoming a mom and my husband becoming a dad by a professional photographer who knows what to capture and all the right angles. White Wave Photography will be the only birth photographer I use. I never knew she was in the room while I labored and I have every single important moment of that day. I never once thought, “Oh, I hope someone gets a picture of that” or “I need a copy of that picture”. My attention could be 100% on my son and the miraculous moment we became a family. The photos make me look incredible even after labor. Jennie made my husband and I so comfortable. My birth video is one of my most cherished possessions.
Baby Sam is approaching his first birthday and I still can’t believe how fast it has gone by.
Fresh 48 Newborn Photography is one of my favorite things. The first few days after having a baby are a whirlwind and capturing those early moments can be tough as a mom when you are healing from birth, learning to breastfeed and trying to get some sleep when your baby is sleeping.
These quick 30-45 minute sessions are a great way to capture these memories. Fresh 48 Sessionsare a great option for families who want to capture the first few hours of their newborn’s life but may not want the entire labor or birth documented. This session is held within the first 24-48 hours of your baby’s life. I will join you during your hospital stay to document your new baby in a relaxed and natural way for you to remember his first day forever. I take all of the fuss out of a newborn shoot and you can relax and just enjoy your baby.
How does it work?
I will put your due date in my calendar as a placeholder for your session
Once baby arrives, we will set up a time in the first 24-48 hours for me to come and do this quick adorable session
The first 5 minutes there, I will rearrange the room, pick up and make a plan all while you are just snuggling your baby
We use the hospital onesies and blankets so there is no need to worry about what to pack for your baby. Those details of fingers, toes and their little lips are all your really need
I will get some shots of you and your partner with your new bundle. Don’t worry – having 3 babies myself, I know it is hard to get around so we will go at your own pace
Siblings – these are a great way to document siblings or grandparents meeting the new baby! The reactions are priceless.
Now that you know a little of what to expect, I have a great summer special going on!!! $99 Fresh 48 Sessions!!! If you are due between now and August 31st and are delivering at Exeter Hospital, Portsmouth Hospital or Wentworth Douglass in Dover – contact me today and I will hook you up!
I first met Ashley and Matt in the beginning of their third trimester and we hit is off right away. Their sense of humor and our personalities clicked right away. Birth Photography at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is on the rise and I was so happy when they chose me to document the birth of their first child. I knew that it was going to be a great experience and the nurses, midwives and hospital staff were amazing to work with and were SO amazing in helping Ashley have the natural birth that she wanted.
After 5 years of infertility struggles, Ashley and Matt were over the moon to be expecting their first son on Thanksgiving Day. During their maternity photo session there was lots of joking and laugher about what it would be like in the delivery room and I knew that Matt was going to make this birth HYSTERICAL! I wasn’t wrong.
Thanksgiving came and went and no baby. After a few false alarms, I finally got the call from daddy to be, Matt at 4:45am on December 3rd saying they were headed to the hospital. He was the best at keeping me posted as her labor progressed and around 9am I jumped in the car and headed to Dover.
When I arrived, it was quiet and dark and Ashley was breathing quietly through her contractions while her midwife and Matt were reassuring her that she could do it through every contraction. “You got this babe” was whispered through each contraction followed by a funny remark once they had subsided. Matt was one of those dads who was fully involved and knew EXACTLY how to help his wife get through to meeting their son. Humor was very much a part of their birth plan :).
Over the next hour or so we all held space while Ashley moved from the bed, to the birthing ball and back again. I was in awe of her as she labored quietly with so much strength. She whispered to her nurse “I don’t think I can do this anymore” and just then we heard a pop (yes a pop) and her water broke. Her body knew just what to do and she instinctively started pushing.
With just a few quick pushes, Baby Samuel entered the world just in time for us all to watch the Patriots Game (mom is a big fan).
This beautiful morning birth was one of my favorites because I got to capture the emotion of other family members meeting Baby Samuel for the first time. Birth is emotional for all of those involved and I can’t lie…I shed a tear every now and then. Birth is Beatuiful!
One of my favorite parts of birth photography is capturing all of those little details during a baby’s first exam. The weight, the length, those little features…all the details for mom to cherish forever.
And then there were 3!
Thank you to Ashely and Matt for allowing me to capture their beautiful birth story! I am already looking forward to the next one:).