Ever since I became fascinated by midwifery and home birth some 8+ years ago, this has been a dream of mine – to photograph a home birth. I have even thought about becoming a doula or a midwife myself. The experience of birthing at home is absolutely incredible, so I was ecstatic when an expecting mother in nearby Montoursville hired me to photograph her second homebirth. It was a good taste of what it is like to be on call. Ahead of time, my 4 year old side-kick and I made a social visit to see the route in the daylight, as well as to get to know the family – so that it I would not be a stranger walking into and disrupting the process of labor. It was good to see the house, the space, and spend a little time with the three other young kiddos in the home.
On birth day, when I arrived before sunrise, the father was busy filling up the tub. Lisa from Meadowsweet Midwifery, based in MiIlheim, Pennsylvania, and her assistant were there ready, observing and waiting. Laboring mom was leaning on her bed with the contractions, in labor land, making very musical sounds when the surges came and went. Her mother and husband rubbed her back and brought her sips of water as needed. She was so calm and serene through the nausea and pain. It is hard to watch someone in discomfort, only being able to quietly witness and document, trying to remain unobtrusive but occasionally asking a question or offering a word of encouragement. She really was amazing and strong. It brought back so many memories for me of my own two home births! Little Josephine was born smoothly underwater; the awe in her father’s eyes was wonderful to see. There was so much love in the room.
Technically, this was a challenging situation with very low light and no do-overs. I purchased a fast 35mm prime lens ahead of time, to add to my arsenal and was glad to have it.
Many thanks to this wonderful family for inviting me into this intimate experience in your lives. I will not forget it!
After the newborn exam by the midwife and everyone was all settling in, it was decided I would return in a few days, until everyone had a chance to get to know each other and rest a bit. All the siblings had a colds and weren’t feeling their best. I spent a couple hours four days later shooting some additional images of the family. What an honor! Best wishes to this crew.