Births aren't something I photograph very often. In fact this is my 1 1/2 birth. I say that because the first birth I attended to photograph ended up being a c-section after hours of laboring. I was there to photograph her labor but not allowed in the operating room to photograph the c-section and time of birth. This time around I was arrived just in time to photograph 15 minutes of labor and a very quick birth.
This is Rachel. She's a beautiful mom to now 5 children. She's not only a a beautiful mom to 5 children but she's also a very talented photographer. Normally, having children of my own, I have a hard time being on call for births. It's not easy to find childcare at the drop of a hat. But thankfully it worked out and I was able to be there for Rachel. I double checked my camera bag to be sure everything was ready to go. I packed a sweatshirt as it can get get chilly in hospital rooms, a couple granola bars, and water. I was prepared to be there all night. I kept in contact with her husband, Andrew, about how things were progressing. I didn't want to arrive to early and throw off Rachel's good birthy vibes and I definitely didn't want to be late either. Andrew said things were progressing quickly and i arrived by 9:15 shortly after she received her epidural.
Upon entering the room I could tell that I arrived just in time. Rachel had the loving support of her mom and husband in the room. There were two wonderful nurses taking care of her. After arriving I immediately began photographing as much as I could. The nurses were telling her not to push because the doctor wasn't there yet. This baby wanted to come and wanted to come now. Despite Rachel not pushing, McCully made his way into this world before the doctor even arrived at 9:33 weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces. The nurses did a fantastic job of catching the baby. They cleaned him up and gave him to Rachel to hold and enjoy the moment she's been anxiously awaiting for 9 months. While Rachel snuggled her precious new baby, Andrew was cutting the umbilical cord. I think they were both in shock at how quickly it happened as was I. Rachel was a rockstar though! And she looked like a model even after giving birth. How is that possible?!
I am in complete awe of the birthing process and just how much a mother's body can endure to create and birth a baby. The rest of the story is for the mother to tell. I will only share a few images of her birth. I can say that my absolute favorite ones are the ones the moment the baby began to crown until the baby was completely earthside. Such a beautiful moment. I'd be lying if I said I said I wasn't crying behind my camera at witnessing the first few moments of this beautiful baby's life. It was such an honor to photograph.
Congratulations Rachel and Andrew! And "welcome to the circus", McCully!