Strength in Support: Sara's birth story
Christmas Eve around 830am Sara called to share that she was having contractions since about 630 in the morning and they were about 10-12 minutes apart. She attended her prenatal appointment at noon where she measured 4-5cm and contractions were down to 7-10 minutes apart. At 230pm she called me to meet up at the hospital. I grabbed Kate, who would be photographing her birth, and we raced off to the hospital. I knew Sara’s previous deliveries had been somewhat quick so the adrenaline was kicking in and I was excited to have a dear friend by my side capturing the whole thing.
We arrived to find Sara, her husband, and her sister, walking out of triage. She was 8cm by this time. We joined them in settling in to her labor room. Sara started off in the bed. Hubby set her up with pillows to get her in a lounging position. You could tell this was number 4—dad was just doing what he knew his wifey needed. When a contraction came he paused and they took each other’s hands. Sister stepped up to hold the other. Sara quietly breathed through it with her eyes closed. Never wanting to take away from the support and connection that is already there, I moved in once she was all set up and asked if I could pray with her and comb her hair. In prenatal appointments we had discussed how calming and relaxing having her hair combed is for her. We all stayed near by to support through the coming contractions. When she seemed to be getting uncomfortable in the bed I suggested we try the tub.
We got it going and she was able to spend some time in the tub before that was too uncomfortable as well. As much as Sara enjoyed laying down, I noticed emotionally the discomfort was becoming more difficult. I suggested she lean in to Scott and let him hold her and sway through. We worked together and applied counter pressure to her back. She moved flawlessly. And each contraction she found a quiet space in herself and gracefully breathed through. The weighty thoughts that usually come near the end came and Sara voiced them to us, “I can’t do this, it hurts so much.” We all reminded her she was strong and was doing it, and doing it well. She clung to her husbands neck and let the noises come. When she attempted to tense up he provided calming words in her ear that allowed her to give back in to the work her body was doing with the contractions.
Her doctor checked her, and sure enough she was measuring at 10cm by 4pm. She did not like being reclined and requested to push standing. I encouraged her to listen to her body and that we would follow her lead. She said it would be the first time she pushed standing. Without hesitation, her provider got down on her knees and was ready to catch baby. A few pushes later Leah was born at 4:22pm. I picked up Sara’s leg and moved it over her placenta so that she could pull her baby in to herself. The room was elated. I looked over to see her sister in tears. The connection made during birth is so beautiful and her sister mentioned later how different it is attending someone else’s birth besides your own. I held Sara’s hair back as she stood there holding her sweet baby. Once we got her settled back in her bed, her provider was able to deliver her placenta a few minutes later.
Baby was clearing her lungs and wasn’t interested in latching right away so dad had some skin-to-skin time. The medical team worked to get Sara comfortable and the room cleaned up. They brought mom and dad mocktails too—one of my favorite treats to request on mom’s behalf after birth (it’s basically a pretty drink that tastes great and restores energy while hydrating.) We all voiced how proud we were of Sara and her smooth unmediated delivery. She was so focused and in tune with her body. And Sara was so thankful for her team of support. Sweet baby Leah eventually decided to eat and seemed to have a great latch right off the bat. We all took guesses as for her weight. And I got to hold her just before handing her over to the nurse to be weighed. Dad was on the money, 8.07lbs. Once everyone was settled in I left out with Kate and Sara’s sister. Sara and Scott would get to take Leah home the following day to have Christmas with Leah’s three older siblings. What a beautiful gift.
Birth Session Captured by :Katherine Anne Photography
Thanks dear friend for capturing this work that I love to do!