Updated: Sep 7
This blog post was supposed to be published sooner but I was having some issues with the site. (Better late than never, right?) This has definitely been a rewarding week and I was able to cross some things off my bucket list. One of my good friends that I have known since high school was gracious enough to allow me to be present during her son's birth so I could photograph my first birth photos ever.
I think the week leading up to her due date I was probably more anxious than I have been in a while. The nervousness, excitement, and fear were building up within me. Every time the phone rang..."Is it time?!" Every morning when I woke up I was instantly checking my phone, because I was fearful I had overslept and missed something. I am actually laughing at myself as I write this. I was very hesitant to tie myself down to anything the weekend before because I was so scared the baby would make his entrance and I wouldn't be able to make it. Some part of me was scared I might faint; because I actually fainted watching a birth when I was pregnant with my son 12 years ago. I think now that I have been a mother this long I have a stronger stomach.
Then the night of the due date came. My friend and I had been kind of joking about how crazy it would be if he was actually born on his due date but I wasn't really expecting it to happen. She messaged me a little after 9:00 p.m. saying she thought she was in labor. Her contractions were 5 minutes apart but she thought it might still be too early to go to the hospital. Now I am going to brag on her for just a second. This girl is not human. She was in the gym just that morning working out, and then was doing hair WHILE she was in labor. Superwoman. Anyway, at this point for me it was just sitting there and waiting. I drank a diet coke because, well caffeine. I practiced with my camera some more, killed some time on Facebook, and then some time after 11 p.m. I got the call from her husband stating that I was to go down to the hospital in about half an hour. I got there about 15 minutes early and sat in my car in the parking lot. Anyone who knows me well knows I get turned around easily in large buildings so I wanted to get there a little early just in case.
I was able to find the room okay. My friend was scheduled to have a water birth. Her husband was doing everything he could to make her comfortable, and for a while it was just a lot of waiting for contractions to progress. The time was drawing near for her to have to push. Again I can not stress enough how awesome this girl is. She was in an incredible amount of pain and handled it like a champ. Her son was definitely getting ready to make his appearance but he was being quite stubborn so the nurses had her move to a bed to see if things would progress more easily from there.
The move seemed to have helped, because in a few short moments her son was ready to make is appearance. After a few series of pushes, at 1:57 a.m. he made his entrance into the world! He weighed almost 9 pounds and he had a head full of hair. Y'all, this little man was just so handsome and so alert and he was just perfect. Props to his mom because she did all of that with no epidural and handled it like a BOSS.
I think my favorite image from this whole experience is when her husband was face timing their daughter on the phone and she got to see her brother for the first time. After the staff was finished taking care of mom and baby I was able to get some shots of all of them together for the first time. Such a beautiful family! After that her husband went to go get their daughter so she could meet her brother, and it was a wrap! I am beyond thankful that I was trusted to be a part of and capture such a special and intimate time in my friend's life. It was a very humbling experience. There were a few times I thought I had tears and thought I would start bawling because it was so overwhelmingly beautiful and you could just feel the love radiating in that room. It was definitely a good first experience and I was so glad to be able to have it. I will be posting another blog of the fresh 48 session with this newborn next! :)
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed this experience!
***If you are a photographer and you have never done this before but are considering it, here's some advice: know your settings and be able to change them at any moment. I think I spent several days practicing getting shots in little or no light and then I would practice switching the settings over to a different ISO and shutter speed. I read a lot of articles and blogs that said it is better to have a full frame camera for these types of photos. While it would have been more ideal for the low light situations, my crop sensor camera handled it just fine. I just had to bump up my ISO to 1600 and adjust my shutter speed. Also be prepared for the fact that you may not be able to use a flash. As far as lenses go I used my 35 mm lens. I think it was especially useful for getting those close up shots and it handled the shots where I was standing across the room just fine. I think a 50 mm might have been a struggle to work with in this situation. Also be prepared to be on call in the couple of weeks leading up to the due date. I was grateful I was able to go when my husband was home but just in case I had a babysitter on standby had I needed one for my kids. ***