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!

daughter hugging her mother as she labors

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.

having your children present as you labor at home
friend massaging head during contraction
quiet moments of rest during early labor
kneeling during contractions at home
midwife checking blood pressure at home

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.

back massage during labor
support team of doula and midwife

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.

laboring in the water at home
using water for relief in labor
support while laboring in the tub at home
beautiful home birth in St. George Utah
water effleurage in tube
doula interacting with children during a home birth

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.

daughter timing contractions for her mother
contractions intensify while laboring in bed
husband encouraging wife during contractions at home

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.

leaning on tub for support during pushing in labor
intense contractions before delivery at home
home delivery on bathroom floor
emotions immediately following delivery
doula lifting baby up to mother's arms after delivery
seeing baby for the first time face to face
the beautiful emotions of delivery
mother can't believe she just delivered her baby
little loo photography
daughter staying afar after delivery of her brother
beautiful home birth in St George
father cutting the cord after home birth
mother hydrating after home birth
mother holding her baby after delivery at home
sister interacting with her new baby after delivery at home
mother breastfeeding for the first time after homebirth

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.

father holding son for the first time
baby feet in father's arms for size
proud father holding his son
father holding his son at home
father and his children all together after home birth
big sister holding her new baby brother after delivery
family centered birth at home
mother holding baby and placenta
best birth photographer las vegas

This was their biggest baby which explained his slower descent, at 8 lbs 7 ounces.

newborn exam by Janae Sherman
home birth as a family experience
newborn swaddle after newborn exam
sweet mother baby moment at home
home birth st george

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.

newborn session at home after birth
family together on bed during in home newborn session
beautiful in-home newborn session
newborn details during session in home
father with his children in home newborn
lifestyle in home newborn
siblings together during in home newborn
sweet sister new baby brother moment
sisters together with baby brother
husband and wife together in-home newborn
beautiful black and white image lifestyle newborn
newborn in father's arms
father newborn poses
newborn details lifestyle newborn
newborn details in home newborn
sweet newborn las vegas in home newborn
sweet newborn details

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