One of the incredible things about birth photography is that you never quite know HOW or WHEN you will be called. But you need to be ready, ready for anything.
On May 29th, I woke up at exactly 4:00am to a phone call from Dad. He told me "things were just getting started." Of course, I got up and started getting things together for the day since I was over an hour away from the birth center. I made my daughter's lunch and got some snacks together for me and then headed out the door with my camera and laptop in hand.
It was a long and dark drive that early in the morning but I was already feeling my body pump with adrenaline. I felt like a rockstar driving my Subaru into the sunrise.
I arrived at Starbucks just 15 minutes from the Birth Center around 5:30am. I sat there editing photos from a wedding 2 weeks prior. I was in and out of Marco Polo giving updates to some of my photographer friends and giddy with excitement. They kept me grounded and joined in on the fun. After about an hour, I got another call from Dad saying they were headed to the Birth Center.
When I pulled up, the parking lot was empty and the sun was rising. I had beat them all there. I checked the front door of the Birth Center to make sure it wasn't open, and it wasn't. I sat back in my car and got my camera ready. When I saw the Doula pull up, I felt relief, because for a second I thought I was at the wrong place. We hugged and she gave me an update of Mom and Dad. She told me that things were progressing and they would be there any minute. So when I saw that shiny Kia Soul pull up, I grabbed my gear and headed for that car.
I'm sure Dad was a little surprised to see me start taking pictures right away but his attention was on taking care of the laboring goddess to his right. She reached over and held the steering wheel with her left hand during surges and the door handle with her right. Her belly was hard but her face was soft and relaxed as the waves or labor came and went.
I kept taking pictures, knowing this was a chapter in this story that needed to be told. Dee, the doula, recognized the progression of Mom's labor. And in the absence of a Midwife, she suggested that she switch spots with Dad so he can catch a baby if need be. I soaked in the knowledge of those around me and when Mom's voice changed to a deeper more soulful groan, I knew it was time to stop taking pictures and switch to video. I'm so glad I did because that sweet little baby was born moments later into the arms of her Dad, from the passenger seat of a Kia Soul.