I wasn't even sure where to begin with picking favorites for 2017! I was privileged to journey alongside so many incredible families last year both as doula and photographer. Many of them were repeat clients and two were my own sisters - talk about emotional! New or repeats, all my clients have become so dear to me, each with such a unique and amazing birth story. Words fail, so here are a few pictures to give you a glimpse of 2017.
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I met Sarah and Francis early on in their pregnancy when they were looking for a doula and was so honored when they asked me to join their birth team! We met several times to talk through their birth plan and desires for this birth. An avid crossfitter, Sarah was hoping for a natural birth, and I had no doubt that she could do anything she set her mind to! However, as I find myself reminding my clients and myself so many times, the only predictable thing about birth is that it's unpredictable! And Baby Maizy had her own plans for her grand entrance to the world. Read Sarah's story in her own words below!
The morning of April 5th I had my 39 week appointment and my doc asked if I wanted my membranes swept..."Sure" I said, not completely sure what that meant. Throughout that entire day at school, I knew something was happening, I remember texting my husband saying weird stuff was going on "down there" :) He told me not to get my hopes up. Around 11 PM that night I was woken up when the contractions kicked in and they kicked in hard. I went from about 10 minutes between contractions to 7 to 5 in about 3 hours. We finally went to the hospital around 5 AM and I lasted about 2 hours there with no epidural. At that point I had been laboring for about 8 hours and my contractions were CRAZY! They lasted about 90 seconds and were SUPER intense. I had originally planned to try without any drugs, but I was so exhausted from being up all night and my body said no way we need some help. That is when the waiting started. And we waited....and we waited...and we waited. Every single doctor and nurse who came into the room said oh we are right on track you should have this baby this afternoon...afternoon came and nothing. Joyanna arrived in the morning and was there for ALL of the waiting. I can't imagine how boring :) but she never batted an eyelash and was there for anything I needed. She was so good about helping my husband help me.
Around 5 PM I think I hit my emotional breaking point. I was so tired, I had slept about 4 hours total in the previous 36 and thinking about getting to the actual pushing part seemed like the hardest thing I would ever have to do and I wasn't sure if I had it in me. It was really hard for me to realize that I might not be able to do this. I am a crossfitter and had worked out up to the day I went into labor so I thought I was totally strong enough for anything. Admitting to myself that my body had different ideas was really hard and I believe around that point I threw up and the tears started. At 9PM my doc came in and said that my cervix was becoming swollen because of the amount of pressure being forced upon it by baby's head and I was probably not going to be able to become fully dilated. It was at that point where a C-section was decided and they started prepping me. I am going to be honest, I thought that I would feel like a failure for not being able to have my baby the "right" way, but at that point I just wanted her to be here and be healthy.
When they gave me the drugs, I almost immediately started shaking, and as they wheeled me back they shaking got way more intense. My husband was amazing and right there holding my hand the whole time and within 8 minutes of them cutting into my belly Maizy was here. After they showed her to me, Francis went with her. I didn't want her to be alone, and thank GOD for Joyanna. She stayed right by my side and held my hand through the shaking and 2nd half of the procedure.
Seeing Maizy for the first time was magical. I am tearing up as I write this and think back to those moments. The minute they laid her on my chest she calmed down and looked right at me. I still can't believe that she is mine. The emotions a mom goes through on the day of meeting there baby is super hard to describe and I think every mom goes through them all. I went from excitement, to impatience, to fear, to intense fear, to total exhaustion, to the most intense love ever. At the end of it all I felt this little twinge of failure, I had not been able to bring my baby into the world the way women are supposed to, but when it is all said and done I would not trade my experience with anything because I got my little nugget :)