The other day someone asked me why I love photographing births so much, or why I even photograph them at all. There are a lot of reasons why I love what I do and particularly this type of session.. During a birth the strongest of bonds are being created within a matter of seconds but will last a lifetime. To capture that, to convey that type of message.. a moment or message that lasts an eternity but is born in only a fraction of time.. that is what makes my stomach flutter and my heart skip a beat for birth photography. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to spend their days at work relishing in others’ joy and happiness?
With that being said, births are a lot of hard work and unfortunately I don’t get to shoot nearly as many as I’d like (for now). However, not long ago I had the absolute pleasure of capturing one family’s birth story for their sweet baby Sofia and I am so grateful to them for allowing me to share some of their images. I love sharing any of my birth session experiences and photos because I think that it’s one of the most amazing, incredible, difficult and beautiful things we can experience in this lifetime and I just want people to know and feel that there is much more to birth and birth photography than just a baby crowning.. It’s about life and love and everything in between
I am also grateful to this family for allowing me to share because I think that water birth is such a wonderful option to bring your baby into this world and perhaps there are some misconceptions or misunderstandings about the benefits that such a birthing method holds for mom and baby. Since baby Sofia entered this world through the water, I thought what better time to talk about these things than now right? I would also like to preface this blog post by saying that I absolutely believe there is a right type of birth for each person and what works for one person will not necessarily work for all. In the case of birth, sometimes that means in a hospital, at home, in the water, in a bed, without pain medication and even with lots! While I will be sharing some light facts on water birth, it is important that you consult with your health care provider when deciding what birth plan works best for you and your family.
(a few images below from our maternity session together)
Because the way we choose to parent our children is such a sensitive topic for some, and a source of judgement and scrutiny for many, I think one of the most awesome things about water birth is that it can occur in a number of birthing settings – it can happen in a birthing center, your home, and even in the hospitals now as many have birth tubs in their facilities. According to the American Pregnancy Association, birthing in the water can hold a number of benefits to both mom and baby for the following reasons.
- Water is soothing, comforting, relaxing.
- In the later stages of labor, the water often increases a woman’s energy.
- The buoyancy lessens your body weight, allowing free movement and new positioning.
- Buoyancy promotes more efficient uterine contractions and better blood circulation, resulting in better oxygenation of the uterine muscles, less pain for the mother, and more oxygen for the baby.
- Immersion in water often helps lower high blood pressure caused by anxiety.
- Water seems to alleviate stress-related hormones, allowing the mother’s body to produce endorphins, which are pain-inhibitors.
- Water causes the perineum to become more elastic and relaxed, which reduces the incidence and severity of tearing and the need for an episiotomy and stitches.
- As the laboring women relaxes physically she is able to relax mentally, concentrating her efforts inward on the birth process.
- The water provides a sense of privacy, which releases inhibitions, anxiety, and fears.
Birthing in the water also holds benefits to baby in that it provides comfort due to its similar characteristics of the amniotic sac, in addition to easing the stress of birth and providing a feeling of security.
However, despite any benefit that birthing in water can have, it is important to consult with your health care provider (OB/GYN or midwife) to ensure that this is the right option of birthing for you!
All statistical information aside, Sofia’s birth day was an amazing, serene and beautiful summer day. I couldn’t be happier or more proud to be part of it all One week later Vasili and I returned to take her newborn photos of baby Sofia. Between her gorgeous lips and beautiful shaggy blonde hair, I think it’s safe to say she’s inherited both of her parents’ incredibly good looks
And without making this post too ridiculously long (or did I miss that boat long ago? ), I would like to end this by saying thank you so much to Sofia’s mom and dad for allowing me the honor, blessing and privilege of capturing them along their journey of growing from 2 to a family of 3. I am so thankful to have you all in my life and look forward to many more amazing adventures that we may hopefully share in the future together.