i know. i know. if you follow my photography at all, you know I will have talked about this a million and three times. but i am going to talk about it again. actually I WAS going to talk about it again...but then my dear friend ashley (whose birth to beautiful baby allison I was blessed to document) agreed to write about her experience. i think I will let her do the talking!
Okay, so you’ve heard about birth photography and you’re hesitant. Maybe more than hesitant. Maybe you’re thinking, “There is no way on God’s green earth that I want a camera or photographer anywhere near my lady bits”. Just hear me out. This is our birth story.
When I first brought up the idea of having someone photograph the birth of our daughter to my husband, I was met with a blank stare. “People actually DO that?!” I explained to him what it would mean to me to have someone capture those first moments of our (possibly last) child, how the photographer would be tasteful and unobtrusive. How memorable it would all be. He wasn’t totally against it, but he also wasn’t convinced. Until he met Krystal.
We worked with Krystal to do a winter maternity session in the hills of the Ontario area. Krystal was warm, engaging, funny, and just had a way of making us feel comfortable with her. She earned major points with us when we heard her joking around and laughing with our middle daughter, who was just shy of 5 at the time. Krystal was a genuine person, who clearly loved what she was doing. When we got into the car to warm up and head home after our session, my husband said “I like her. Let’s do it.”
We went into labor in the middle of a snow storm. As soon as I knew we were a go for Labor and Delivery, I sent Krystal the news. She braved the storm and drove the 2 hours to join us at our hospital. Since I was being induced, we had no idea how long we’d be in labor and honestly, we were a little worried that Krystal would get bored or that the conversation would stall and things would get awkward. As it turned out, we were in labor for a loooong 24 hours and Krystal joyfully stuck it out with us. She was there when I needed her for ice, or water, or something on the side table that I couldn’t reach. She sat with me and chatted for hours. She slept on the floor of our delivery room. She was discreet and slipped away when we needed her to, without even being asked. And throughout all those long hours, she captured the quiet, tender moments between my husband and I, without us ever seeing her camera. The way my husband rubbed lotion on my back and held my hand during contractions. The way he whispered softly in my ear while I was getting the epidural. His watchful eyes on the monitors, keeping track of every beep. Moments in our love and anticipation that I might have forgotten if it weren’t for those photos.
As long as all those hours were, when our little one decided it was time, everything flew by in cyber speed. I remember saying I was ready. I remember the rush of nurses. I remember Krystal seeming to disappear. I remember our excitement. And I remember how it all went SO FAST. Like I had been possessed by Flash Gordon and the whole event was a blur. All of a sudden there was this itty bitty warm bundle in my arms. Allison Marie. And she was perfect.
Before we left the hospital, Krystal sent us a slideshow she made from our birth photos. My nurse and I watched it together and wept at the beauty of it all. There was the story, right there in front of us. There was every single beautiful moment. When I thought Krystal had disappeared, she had actually blended so seamlessly into everything that was happening and like only an artist can, she was there capturing some of the most intimate moments of our lives – without us even really being aware of her. There were no bright bursts from a flash, no constant click of the shutter, no camera right up in my business. Yet, there were these brilliant photos – these profound glimpses of our life. Krystal was tasteful and delicate, and there isn’t a single photo that is gory or “too much”. There is love, and joy, and the sheer abandonment of bliss right there in every image.
There are no words to adequately describe how grateful I am to have made the decision to have Krystal photograph our daughter’s birth. Or how incredibly blessed I feel to have had such a wonderful person share those moments with us. Krystal became a dear, dear friend that day and she will forever have love from our family for the gift she has given us. I could go on and on with the adjectives, and they still wouldn’t quite say how much this whole experience meant to me.
If you’re hemming and hawing over whether or not birth photography is right for your family, just stop and go for it. Because all that back and forth will keep you from being able to look back on the photos of the moment your child took her very first breath. Sure, you’ll remember it without photos. But the feeling I get from seeing images of the exact moment my daughter first opened her eyes on God’s world is a feeling beyond description. It wasn’t gross, or awkward, or rated R (or even PG-13). It was beautiful. Those photos take me back to those moments and are more precious to me than even our wedding photos. They make me cry, they make me grateful, and they make me incredibly proud of the work it took to welcome our daughter home. It was an amazing experience, and even my husband agrees that it was worth it.
I will say this:
I have had three kids now. and I wanted photographs each time, but alas, it never worked out. I was BOUND and determined to have grant's birth photographed, but since he came 30 minutes after we got to the hospital I didn't have someone come and I am KICKING myself that I didn't. Or even have someone come in AFTER he was born to photograph the moments afterwards...like when Amelia met him and cried for an hour out of sheer love for her new baby brother. We will never get those moments back. and even though I have my memories (and a couple of shots matt took) of it... i must admit, my memory fails me already! and that was 2 months ago. I would give anything to go back and to call someone. even though it was the middle of the night when I went into labor. even though I wasn't at all pleasant during labor. even though they may have missed it.
If you are expecting and even a LITTLE interested in having the birth--or the time immediately after documented, contact me. Even if you aren't sure and just want to chat about it a little bit and find out more. CONTACT ME. please.