I have had the pleasure of documenting a few home births here in Las Vegas during 2020, and with each one I document, I see more and more of their beauty and value. As I have tried to navigate this season of COVID, being able to attend home births has been such a blessing. With restrictions in the hospital setting, it just hasn’t been possible for so many families to have me present, and my heart breaks for them. Not being able to capture their birth stories has been devastating.
This beautiful family booked me for their birth months before the pandemic hit and had always planned on a home birth. This was their second birth at home with Marvelys Lopez of Sweet Beginnings Midwifery.
Be sure to follow through to the end to see this family’s beautiful birth film. It is so full of love and sweet and tender squeals of excitement and love from big sister.
I had the opportunity to interact with this family in the months and weeks leading up to their birth through our face-to-face meeting and documenting their maternity session. I love that by the time I am there to document births; it is much more comfortable having had conversations and seen each other.
Ana contacted me on a Sunday morning to let me know that her contractions had awoken her in the early morning hours and that they had continued to stay regular after getting up and moving around. She wasn’t ready for me yet but would let me know when she felt they were close enough and strong enough to call me over. By late afternoon she was ready for me to come on over! Her doula was present, and the atmosphere in their birth space was one of joy and peace.
Ana was great at changing positions often and kept moving even when uncomfortable. Her doula support, paired with her family’s physical and emotional support, was beautiful to witness.
After alternating positions between the tub, standing, the stairs, and side-lying in a nice quiet room, things quickly progressed as Ana moved into the transition phase of labor. Her midwife was called, and additional family support arrived. My favorite parts of documenting birth are the beauty and connections between family. This sweet big sister was so supportive and present for her mama.
This was the first birth I attended with midwives Marvelys Lopez and Kim Trower of Sweet Beginnings Midwifery Care. I was so impressed with their professionalism, capable care, and compassionate and intimate touch they provided.
And then she did it! Her beautiful baby girl was here, in her arms, surrounded by those that love her the most!
Big sister’s reactions could not have been sweeter. She was completely smitten by her new baby sister and just stared and gushed over her. It was the cutest! I am so glad I captured her reactions on video because it is just priceless.
Thursday, January 21st, 2021
I am so excited to share another beautiful birth story from 2019. This mama found me over the summer as she was looking for a birth photographer for her third baby. This is the second client this year that hired me for their third birth, even though they hadn’t professionally documented their previous two births. I think many families feel guilty about hiring a birth photographer for their birth if they hadn’t for previous children because it can feel a little unfair. I have a totally different perspective.
I think that it is after your first birth, and maybe even second, that you really realize that the fears of being documented begin to diminish amid the desire to have those memories to look back on. What I love about documenting births with other children is that I always involve them in the birth story somehow, whether that be during labor or when they meet for the first time. Your family and your connection are a vital part of your birth story. They are often my favorite images and footage. What I would give to have my birth stories documented with my own children!
There really is nothing like birth and the deep story woven throughout each one. It seems that there are moments that we so easily vividly recall about the births of our children, holding them for the first time, the smells, and emotions. We are often times so exhausted by the point of delivery, and in those first sleepless days, that some of those memories can also be a bit vaguer, especially with the passage of time.
You didn’t get to see your spouse’s face as they spoke to your baby in the warmer or the tender way your loved ones touched you and worried over you. My job is always to capture the most important moments to you, and we talk about this in the weeks leading up to your delivery.
We decided on meeting in their home for our client meeting before her birth so that I could see her birth space and talk comfortably there; it was a great opportunity to meet the whole family. She wanted the girls involved if they felt comfortable with it but had decided she would leave that up to them. I was so excited once I saw their gorgeous home, she has it so beautifully and thoughtfully decorated and had printed images throughout her home. It was quite evident that capturing memories and documenting her family was a priority. That always makes a photographer’s heart swell.
She had delivered at home with her previous two and at different gestational ages with them both, so it was hard to say when she would deliver. She ended up going over this one. As with all of my clients, we frequently communicated as she had a fast labor history. Finally, on an October evening, I got a text that she was contracting regularly but wasn’t ready for me to come quite yet. I made sure that her doula had my number as well so that I could respond quickly when she was ready. And shortly after that first conversation, I got a text that it was time to go ahead and come on over!
Luckily, she lives not too far from me, so I got there pretty quickly. When I arrived, I quietly entered her birth space to find that she was moving quickly and had the occasional urge to push. I was in awe of her beautifully decorated birth space (that she decorated while laboring!), it was so well thought out and so full of so many meaningful and sentimental items. Her doula and midwife both spoke words of encouragement over her and guided her through those urges. Her husband moved in and out of the room between the girls and his wife.
Jessica ended up delivering 20 minutes after I arrived! She went so fast; I was just so grateful that I made it!
It was such a beautiful delivery, and Jessica made it all look so graceful! Her girls made it into the room after their baby was born; they were so adorable!
Monday, February 3rd, 2020
I am so excited to finally share this beautiful birth story of John Tito, born at home. I adore this family. I met them in 2018 when I documented their first delivery at home. I was in awe of the love they had for each other and the strength of this incredibly powerful mama.
Jennifer delivered her first at home, in the water, and stayed strong through a long labor, delivering their baby girl into her husband’s arms. It was beautiful to witness. Both mom and dad are first responders in our community, with mom being a paramedic and Greg being a firefighter for the city of Henderson.
I was so excited when Jennifer contacted me to document this birth story! There is nothing better than documenting a family as they grow. I was so excited that big sister would be there and that she intended to deliver in the water again.
As with my birth clients, I checked in frequently with Jennifer to see how she was feeling and how things were going as her due date approached. She had gone a week over with her first but felt like she was going to deliver sooner with this one. She is an incredibly busy woman and was in her last semester earning an advanced degree while working, and taking care of a toddler, so as that due date approached, she was so tired and ready to hold her baby in her arms.
I am an early riser and don’t sleep well while on call for births. I woke up at 3 am one morning and checked my phone, as usual, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything just as she texted me to let me know she was having pretty strong contractions, but they weren’t staying too regular quite yet, and that she would keep me posted. Although I have my gear ready at all times while on call, I made sure it was at the door, and I was showered, just in case, because they live about 40 minutes from me.
She updated me again at midday to let me know she had gone to the midwife to be checked and was dilated, and her contractions were still strong but not regular yet. So, I continued to wait! Late afternoon I got the call that it was time. Dads often call me by this point when moms are in active labor, and Greg did call me to let me know they had called the midwife to come, so I headed out there. He felt like she was going fast at this point, so I didn’t waste any time heading out there.
Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable when I arrived and was just ready to move into the tub.
Little Angelina was so cute and well-behaved as Jennifer labored in the water surrounded by her midwives and husband, coming over every so often to give her mama a kiss or drink of water.
Jennifer’s labor was similar to her last at almost the same time of day, right down to the hour. Both times she trusted her body and, between gentle touch and reassurances from her midwives and husband, labored with such strength.
Finally, Jennifer felt the urge to push and work and once again delivered their baby boy into her husband’s arms. It was just beautiful.
I am continually in awe that I witness such strength and beauty in women. I have been a part of the birth industry for almost 20 years now, and the beauty of birth has never faded.
Monday, January 27th, 2020
It’s an honor that you let me capture yours.