Updated: May 18
Last Wednesday, a sweet girl named Brixtyn was born.
Get some tissues because this blog spot has 22 hours worth of the most delicate and intimate photos. Participating in this birth had me on my toes. Amber proved to be incredibly patient and strong during her birth. Her labor began the previous day.
– 5 AM –
Amber and Chaz notified everyone that it was time to head to Baylor for their scheduled induction. By 7 am, she was admitted into a generous room that accommodated everyone present. It was roomy but not so spacious that you felt disconnect from what was happening.
Amber was in early labor for a while before the doctor came to assess her progress. Chaz’s parents were in the sitting area being supportive and making sure that Chaz had everything he needed to comfort Amber. Amber’s mother was also there ready to aid when necessary.
Once Amber was settled, her nurses and doctor started her induction and we all began the waiting game for their daughter.
-10:30 AM –
After a few hours of laboring the doctor came in to check her progress. From her experience in delivering, she predicted that Brixtyn would not be arriving until 8pm to 12am that night.
The disappointment in Amber’s face was immediate. Although she did not waver in notion, it was easy to tell that her expectations were not what she had hoped for. Especially considering that a week prior, she was at a 3. Now, she was back at a 1 with no progress in the hours she spent laboring thus far. With Brixtyn being her first baby, everyone was encouraging her not to be dismayed. Babies run the show and can take as long or as short of a time that they want. Specifically first babies.
After another half hour, I could tell my presence was distracting her. She never said it but it is a natural response for women in labor. The last thing I wanted her to worry about was how long her birth would take to document. That should be the last of her concerns. Picking up on her body language, I offered to leave and return when she had progressed further along. I needed her to be as relaxed as possible for her and Brixtyn’s sake. If mom isn’t calm and relaxed, baby isn’t calm and relaxed.
I return around 630pm. Chaz informed me that Amber had asked for an epidural and was feeling great.
When I went to grab a cup of coffee, I came back to find their room full of excitement. Everyone stayed and shared their company for a couple of hours.
As 9pm was creeping up I had a suggestion for Amber & Chaz. I highly advised them to take the opportunity to be alone for a while. In a matter of hours, their lives would no longer be just them. Their time was precious and as excited as everyone was, I knew that having these moments would be their last until their sweet girl arrived. This stage of their lives was in transitory. All of us have a right to be selfish with that time.
After their time together, the nurse advised all of us to get as much rest as possible. We knew that things would pick up sooner than later and Amber needed her rest. I retired to the waiting area in the room and Chaz went out to the waiting area to update and spend time with the family while Amber slept.
We wake up to the neighbor patient screaming during her delivery. It wasn’t exactly the best situation for Amber to hear considering she was feeling pain despite her epidural. When she told me she was hurting, I retrieved the nurse. She checked her and alas we were only at a 7. Understandably frustrated, Amber tried to sleep a little longer after her medicine was increased.
– 3:50AM –
I pulled the curtain back to see that Amber had sat up to feel more comfortable. It wasn’t helping. She was in transition. Vomiting is a sure sign that delivery is near. She was still feeling a lot of pain. She was actually feeling the contractions without being able to move her lower half because of the epidural. She was miserable. Not being able to feel her legs since earlier that morning was starting to irritate her. There was very little she could do. She had been informed that if she was not fully complete then they would have to consider a C-section. The baby and Amber’s safety would not be compromised.
Unfortunately, the staff was spread so thin due to there being four babies being delivered in a row on our floor. Despite this, the staff was as professional and empathetic as possible. We had to wait for her doctor to finish delivering another baby before it was her turn to be seen.
I am not exaggerating when I say that Amber was amazing through this part of her labor. Counting on the epidural and it not working for her, she powered through those waves. Pitocin can be so strong. When you can feel contractions despite a numbing agent, then you know that agony is real. Borderline suffering when you cannot move your lower half to ease your discomfort. With her not being able to take anymore medicine, we tried the best we could to help her. I had advised her to own the pain and to not fight her biology. Fight the flight or fight response and just be. Relax her shoulders, loosen her jaw, blow air through her lips, and rock when the waves peaked. She did this until her doctor came in the room to check on her.
The doctor informed us that she was still stuck at a 8-9. Her body just would not cooperate for Brixtyn. She wanted to try one more measure to give Brixtyn a chance to move down. She had Amber push.
After pushing as hard as she could, her energy was fading quickly. The medical team acted fast and began to prep her for surgery. As this was happening, the family came in to support Amber and Chaz.
As they wheeled her to surgery, Chaz’s demeanor changed. He smiled at the love of his life when she looked at him but when she wasn’t looking he was concerned but didn’t show fear. He was strong for his girls. When they pushed her around the corner, we were told to wait and that someone would come back and get us shortly.
One of the nurses came out and grabbed us. It was time to meet Brixtyn.
They met her so fast. It was a beautiful blur.
The shock of meeting the love of your life for the first time. The perfect stranger that you know inside and out.
Mama was rightfully exhausted. After 22 hours of patient, hard work, she finally met her. The emotional aspect alone was enough to even exhaust those of us who simply witnessed.
Little Miss Brixtyn weighed 8 pounds 1 oz. Her full head of hair was precious. She was calm and the rosiest pink I had ever seen.
Skin to skin was attempted for a little while. Chaz gave Amber and Brixtyn initial space to bond. His girls had worked so hard to finally meet one another. He gave them a moment before joining them. As much as he wanted to hold his daughter, he wanted them to have one another first. It was the most selfless gesture. Amber got to be with her baby as soon as possible but was so fatigued she asked the nurse to take her. She had zero energy to hold her for longer than a few minutes. Despite being this tired, she held her for as long as she could.
Chaz really impressed me. I have seen some in sync couples in my line of work. However, this is the first time I was able to witness something like this. Chaz’s concern for Amber was enormous. He refused to leave her side. Amber was so weak from her long labor. She could barely open her eyes.
After waiting for Chaz’s demeanor to relax, the nurses advised him to hold his daughter so she could bond with at least one of them while the doctors were finishing up the surgery. Reluctantly, Chaz left Amber to see his sweet girl.
His reaction to her was priceless.
After surgery was finished, the doctor came around to be present with her patients.
This doctor was incredible, guys. In my 6 years of shooting, I had yet to see a doctor as compassionate, empathetic, kind, humble, tender….(you get the picture) as her. I’m serious. In my experience on this side of the lens, doctors will come in the room as their patient is pushing and send the patients on their way. Not this doctor. She was hands on. Genuinely in love with these people she was able to call her patients. I’ve never seen anything like it. To not only respect her medicine and practice but to love her people was refreshing to see. Brixtyn was in the best hands she could have been in.
Their doctor brought baby over to mama once she started to feel a little better.
[[Grab the tissues]]
Round of applause for this woman in making sure Amber and Brixtyn were not only safe but also loved. It is a rarity in the medical world. The amount of humanity and humility this woman showed should be the standard. There is not enough positive praise to be given with how this whole family was treated during their stay.
Amber, you are incredible. Not many people could have labored the way you did without losing their center. You were so strong for your daughter. She will be proud of you when she is old enough to know how hard you fought for her.
Chaz, your parents should be incredibly proud of you. You were solid for your family. Your girls could absolutely count on you in their most vulnerable moments.
It was then time to meet the ones who loved them most. A perfect end to a long and strong delivery from mama.
Congratulations, Amber and Chaz.
You both are amazing.