Updated: Jan 31, 2019
I believe in vulnerability. The way I embrace this way of documenting is by respecting my clients awareness. Allowing them to be who they are and honor the way their life is to the best of my understanding. Trying with the utmost tact to not intervene. Especially with birth. I am passionate about the women who have the strength to call deep on their courage.
Our world can be vulnerably numb. Being able to attract a raw sense of unprocessed reality with the sacred permission of my clients, is why I love what I do. The opportunity to show them their incredible journey through their amazing photographs. Through 11 hours of labor, the May family engaged in a highly supportive and systematic birth.
We all arrived at the Grapevine Birthing Center around 9am. The full swing of labor had just begun.
Her watchful midwives observed patiently in unity.
Ashton leaned into the contractions that she allowed him to enter in.
The backing he offered through out the surges were essential to the connectedness they shared through each one.
Noah witnessed the events transpiring with eager eyes and ears.
There was a way about Brenda that left you smiling. Even in pain, she was somehow able to withstand and be present with her surroundings. She would joke about avoiding the pain of full squats during contractions by being on her toes. Eventually she caved to the will of the contractions and allowed her body to move in the way it needed to.
The climb in labor is always intense. Watching smiles fade into silent head shakes. The hand of her talented chiropractor aided her pelvic alignment to encourage a swift drop for baby to come down.
The wives began prepping the tub for her.
Water is powerful. A force of nature colliding with an even greater force of nature by bringing forth life together. Ebbing and flowing in unison through thriving waves.
Hydrating at every chance.
That look right there.
That forced reserve.
That inward discussion between reacting and responding.
To fight the natural instinct to protect and solve the situation at hand. To restrict the desire to intervene on your partners behalf. To need the pain to stop for her. However, going through this for the second time, he knows the force of birth takes no pity on any woman. He knows that force is beyond her and yet is her. He watched the love of his life helplessly but more importantly respected her odyssey. That energetic support reverberated as she came closer and closer to bringing Joaquin into their arms.
Brenda’s mother was there the entire time. Her presence was supportive as she watched her daughter and her husband move through the events of her labor.
In my years of shooting, normally when the grandmother moves in for the emotional support, the baby is soon to appear. Instinct is not lost on humanity. Especially during labor. While Brenda was shaking her head no from side to side in silence, she came in and loved on her daughter. Touch, alone, can release endorphins and encourage the body to power forward.
Suddenly she began to become who she is meant to be all over again. A mother. She bears down and lowly groaned in her primal instinct. All at once she begins to say “I can feel him. He is here.” Kim instructed Ashton to support her where she needs to be supported most to ensure the safety of not only the baby but also his wife. Everyone in the room became engaged. After her saying, “I can’t” and feverishly fighting the waves, she surrendered to them.
And then she brought life into the water.
Nature is powerful.
Encouragement is powerful.
Trust is powerful.
Intuition is powerful.
Instinct is powerful.
She is powerful.
His presence filled every empty space in the room.
I had told one of the midwives that she should probably lock the door during the last throws of birth. We needed Brenda to focus on Joaquin’s arrival. Instinctively, he tried to get in to be with his mother when she was expressing the true nature of the end of her birth. When we unlocked the door, he immediately came in. His look of concern and apprehension should be framed. How precious is that? Boys love their mothers, entirely.
Noah met his little brother for the first time.
Women are incredible. Birth is the most violent and beautiful journey to endeavor. It leaves you with every emotion possible. To be a vessel and then to suddenly not be a vessel is the most intense experience. Supportive and loving souls are paramount. The birth journey doesn’t end the second the baby arrives. It really is only beginning. Compassion and patience can heal the long term effects of birth. Fortunately, Brenda had only benevolent people surrounding not only her children but her as well.
We had bets going around saying what we thought he weighed. The majority of us were completely off the mark.
Joaquin weighed a whopping 10.5 lb
Her midwives drew her an herbal bath. Herbal baths promote healing for not only tissue but also her energy. This bath is more importantly intended to stimulate bonding between the mother and the newborn after such a profound entrance. To end their journey on a tranquil note. The physical effects are almost moot to the emotional effects of birth on both individuals involved. Emotional, spiritual and psychological care can ripple through the most important time of their lives.
Congratulations May family for your newest addition to your beautiful life.
More importantly, thank you Brenda for being valiant in sharing your birth story so other women can maybe have the courage to birth their own way.
__________________ Birthing Center: Grapevine Birthing Center
Midwives: Kim Daly & Danielle Mason