A Family Centered Birth Story
I am so excited to finally share the birth of Javier Cesar, a beautiful family-centered birth story.
I have been anxiously awaiting a break in work to catch up on my blog. Unfortunately, I am months and months behind; this birth took place last April (2021)!
I love blogging these stories because seeing them as a whole shows how much storytelling there is in birth. The beautiful story that is birth begins months before you even meet. It starts in the planning, dreaming, hoping, praying, and in all the anticipation before your baby’s arrival even begins. Birth is the beautiful climax of your baby’s story. I believe there is no more life-altering and life-changing moment in our lives. So to witness it and capture it for families is such a blessing, and a responsibility I don’t take lightly!
Michelle found me in her second trimester as she searched for a birth photographer in her area. She reached out, and we talked about her hopes and wishes in documenting her birth. She and her family lived in St. George, UT, a town located an hour and a half north of me. Their birth would be the furthest I had ever traveled for a birth story. As we talked through her plans and wishes, we immediately connected and decided to move forward with lots of communication to make sure I had as much window as possible to make the drive and arrive in time. This was also their fourth baby, which added another layer of worry as she had gone pretty quickly with her last delivery.
Michelle is a truly special woman! I immediately admired her passion and drive, and her beautiful heart. She is also a talented birth photographer located in North Port, FL, an Ayurveda herbal specialist, military veteran, has even become a doula since her last birth!
This was their first homebirth and first son, so it of course was going to be a little bit extra special. I love that Michelle researched and educated herself, building her dream birth team.
Be sure to follow through to the end to see their beautiful birth story film, oh, and grab a box of tissues!
Michelle called me in the early morning hours on April 27th, letting me know her contractions were becoming regular and she believed it was time. I quickly packed up my car and got on the road. It was a beautiful rainy morning which made the drive through our desert so gorgeous. I arrived at their home just as the sun was rising. Everyone was up and Michelle had her close friend and neighbor as well as her doula, Trish Baird there.
Soon her midwife, Janae Sherman arrived with the rest of her birth team. Michelle had created a beautiful space and atmosphere to labor in and was held and supported by her family and birth team.
By midday, her contractions were becoming more intense and Michelle began to pull inwards and focus through each wave. At this point, she decided she was ready to get in the water.
One of my favorite parts of witnessing home births is the family-centered care that comes so naturally in homes while allowing the space to move freely, not only for mama but also for children and support persons. It takes so much fear out of laboring. Their oldest daughter stuck by her mama’s side throughout the whole day, diligently timing each contraction, it was the sweetest.
This labor was longer than her last and caused Michelle to have some doubts about her ability. This is so common, especially in the transition phase of labor. She has done some incredibly hardcore things in her life from being a Marine, running the Grand Canyon rim to rim, and competing in body-building competitions, she has definitely done some hard things. She leaned into her team and into her strength and although this period was intense, it quickly got her to the pushing phase of labor. She planned on delivering in her tub but settled on her most comfortable spot along the tub. I love that she didn’t force it and trusted her body and position.
As Michelle got cleaned up and led to the bedroom, dad held his sweet new son and sisters gathered around. This is definitely one of my favorite births for so many reasons, one of them being the intense way this family loves each other.
This was their biggest baby which explained his slower descent, at 8 lbs 7 ounces.
This family booked me for ‘The Whole Story’, my birth package that includes maternity, birth, Fresh, and newborn sessions. I love being able to come back in the weeks after and document their continued story. It is such a beautiful way to complete their birth story, and always a little bittersweet.