Updated: May 18
*there is nudity in this birth story*
So...this isn't the typical birth introduction scenario story that we all are accustomed to.
It's like the universe gave me this one.
Instagram has brought several people into my life and I can't help but laugh.
It's surreal to meet people who follow your work. However, to have never personally met them before and all of the sudden you're working with them...that's something else.
Zuleika & Christian moved from Italy & were looking for a birth photographer here in Dallas.
This is where is gets weird.
Out of the blue, I just happened to make plans to visit my midwife the night before I met them.
I hadn't been up to the birth center for, personal time, in a long while and wanted to catch up.
I only had a half hour to converse before her clients showed up for their appointment.
After the time passed, in walk two people. They made eye contact with my son and started gushing over him. Their presence was warm, but more importantly, it was genuine. Shortly into their meeting, my midwife comes in and says "they need a birth photographer".
*turns on the inner birth nerd switch*
While meeting with them, I asked them to check out my work and website before agreeing because my work is moodier and a lot more intimate that other birth workers in my area. I let them know that I would respect their preference if I wasn't what they were looking for. We said our goodbyes and that they would reach out ASAP.
Not even an hour later, Zuleika sent a text to me saying how she actually knew who I was but didn't realize it. I only recently started sharing pictures of myself on my business page so it didn't click with whom she was speaking. We scheduled a formal meeting for the next day. We went over their plans, their dreams, their expectations. A birth page had reposted some of my work and she ended up following me.
I then realized that this encounter was kismet and there was no longer a need for apprehension or uncertainty.
This was happening.
& she already wanted to work with me before she even knew who I was.
It's kind of what artists dream about.
After having a formal meeting at a coffee shop, we went over what their birth plan was and the rest folded into place.
Days after that meeting, she went into labor.
I arrived to find her in the thick of labor.
The part where tears fall without sounds from throats.
My heart immediately softened and shared that space with her and Christian.
The midwives were sharing it as well.
She was at a 7 and finding ways to progress faster.
Stairs are used to help open the pelvis to allow baby to move downward.
We made our way back into the room.
Sometimes there isn't a "plan" to follow to make progress happen.
A lot of the time, we take the cue from mom to help her do what she is feeling inside of her.
Christian encouraged Zuleika to sway with him during the next few contractions .
She wanted to make her way to the water to rest and labor.
Water is so powerful.
It can soothe, mend and encourage all at the same time.
As tears emerged from her eyes, we were silent.
Just being with her and where she was at.
It got to the point where she was getting discouraged due to baby not wanting to come down anymore despite best efforts.
We knew she was ready for further progress by the transition signs but her cervix would not thin out.
After almost 24 hours of attempting to deliver naturally, Zuleika & Christian made the decision to transfer to the hospital.
At this point, she was not getting any relief whatsoever.
She wasn't mad or angry.
I've never seen anyone accept changes as calmly as she did.
We arrived at the hospital late in the evening and drugs were administered.
I mean, do I really need to say anything? Look at how relieved our mama looked!
She was an absolute champ. Even the anesthesiologist was impressed with how strong she was. She came in at a 9 and was close to having her sweet baby.
Christian finally took a breath of air.
As soon as she smiled, his entire energy relaxed.
The doctor recommended she get some rest and hopefully by the morning she would be ready to have her baby.
Things started accelerating around dawn.
She was ready and the nurses were assembled.
After much pushing and encouraging...with the little strength she had left, her son was born.
Covered in the blood that made him, he was placed on her chest and she reached for him.
Everything waved over them.
She was relived.
A deep rooted happiness.
As the NICU team assessed Brodie, her midwife looked onward and Dad was comforting mama.
Coming back to the bed, I found Zuleika in that phase of exhaustion and shock.
She fought so hard. First time births can be so difficult and hard to navigate through. It is hard to express what to expect when you've simply never experienced it. Every woman is different in her pregnancy, birth and how she deals with the changes in her body but she was a champion regardless of how her plan went.
She delivered her baby safely and she fought hard for it.
When I came back to do the postpartum photos, I found the entire family in such a beautiful mood. Everyone was rested and feeling so much better.
Zuleika was glowing and dad was breathing all the sighs of relief.
This little boy is the cutest thing I have ever seen.
And even cuter is the badass birth mark on his face.
I am so in love!!!!
Together, they travelled to the states and had their baby surrounded by supportive people.
It was kismet that I met them, but it was extraordinary that I got to work with them.
They have left a lasting impression in my heart.
Congratulations Spears family.
More importantly though, congratulations to you Zuleika on being born as well.
May motherhood give you everything she has to offer to further you in life to be all you can be for yourself and Brodie.