The birth story of Layla is the longest one I have attended now in my career as a birth photographer, surpassing the previous record and making a new one at 25 hours straight on the clock. And I didn't even arrive until Mama had already been laboring for 14 hours. Poor thing. What began as a planned homebirth with Certified Midwife, Eileen Denomme of Woven in Love Maternity Services, turned into a non-emergent hospital transfer and ended in a cesarean section. My first hospital transfer and first c-section experience. Relief in meeting her daughter for the first time after such a long and exhausting labor was written all over mom's face. At least dad got to nap here and there after all of his support while she labored at home. Both parents and sets of grandparents were enamored with the new bub and were giving lots of love and cuddles when I left the hospital and the new Mama finally got some well-deserved sleep after all of her hard work. You know, until Layla decided she wanted to nurse.
A little bit like calling all tissue Kleenex even if it is not that brand, I can't help but call all instant film prints Polaroids. This can sometimes lead to confusion when I talk to clients about giving them Polaroids from their portrait session, birth, or wedding. While I DO have a Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera that I use for shooting Impossible Project Silver Shade film, I usually mean the peel apart film pictured above. Manufactured by Fujifilm. The two are quite different - both develop within seconds of shooting, but the peel apart film gives you a regular 3.25" x 4.25" print AND a usable negative. This rocks my face off because I love leaving the prints with clients for an immediate memento while they wait on the rest of their film to be developed and processed and it allows me to bring the negative home to scan into a digital file or print. With FP-3000B (the high speed black and white emulsion), there is usually more detail retained in the negative, particularly in the highlights. Sounds like a bunch of babble to those unfamiliar with film or photography in general, but it is a total geek point for photographers. I love it.
I always look forward to working alongside Stacia Proefrock and her team members. Bethany's labor and delivery was no different. From crocheting and knitting pow-wows in the living room to giggling in awe over a video of a very pregnant woman belly dancing while snacking on peanut butter sandwiches, it just feels like being around family. Medically trained and competent family, of course. One of memorable parts of this birth story for me as an observer was how Bethany kept apologizing while she was in active labor. Even during transition she apologized for being obnoxious with her vocalizations and needing water. I wonder if she has a little bit of Canadian in her somewhere, eh? (You know I love you, Neighbors!) Actually, I take that back. Now that my memory is jogged and back in that little room, the most memorable thing to me was how she kept saying, "Okay. Okay. Okay." Not that she was saying okay - but that she was using it as a method of self soothing. And I know that's what she was doing even if it was a subconscious thing because during her maternity portrait session and during our few phone conversations while I was on-call, I remember her using the same tone and word to console and comfort her two year old when she bumped herself or was upset. Hearing her say that to herself while her daughter was sound asleep in the other room just hit me. I loved it. And I'm glad that I remembered it now even though I didn't write it down like I told myself I would. Bethany was surrounded by the love and support of her mother, sister, niece, husband, friend (doula), and the midwives. Their positive and healing energies were palpable as she labored. Sisterhood is a powerful force. Don't worry, Jared, we know you were her rock through it all! And now you have little Jonah so you aren't outnumbered by females anymore. Love you all. Truly.