“You may not get to have the birth you always wanted, but you can have the hair you want.”
Sarah reached out to me a few months ago about the possibility of me photographing her cesarian birth. I was excited. Both of my babies were belly births. Piper’s was an unplanned emergency that I have no photos of, and I don’t remember meeting her. Photography is such a gift in that it gives people the ability to relive moments they might have a hard time recalling. I would give anything to have photos from her birth. Parker’s was a planned. A wonderfully talented friend of mine came to take photos, and being able to have photos of his birth gave me the chance to reclaim the fact that I felt robbed of the birthing experience.
Sarah took control of her birth by coming to the hospital with her hair and makeup done, and that small fact about her has been on my mind every since. It has truly transformed the way I think about my own experiences.
Unfortunately, we had to stick with the new hospital policy. I was unable to join Sarah and Kent, her husband, in the OR to document Hudson’s arrival. We were all very passionate about telling his story, though.
In order to tell the story, to the best of my ability, I had to start from the beginning. The morning of their scheduled c-section came and I arrived at the hospital early enough to meet them in pre-op. It was important for me, as a mother and photographer, to capture those last few moments with Husdon on the inside, and I was so glad I made that decision. Sarah shared with me how she felt about this birth as opposed to her others. It was her last. She knew it would be the last time to carry a baby. Her last birth. She felt the weight of it all the night before. Being able to capture these intimate moments for them was an important job. I wanted, so badly, to give them these moments to hold on to forever.
Much like the importance of photos of brides and grooms getting ready, we knew we also wanted to capture the family in the waiting room. Kent and Sarah had never had the opportunity to see that side of their birth story, before. These images gave them the chance to see the anticipation from their family.
In order for Sarah to recover and bond with their baby, she and Kent decided to wait to have their other boys, Cole and Cooper, join them in the room. I was able to go in to document some of their golden hour before Kent went to get them, though, and I started to well up with tears no short of 12 times while I was in that room.
These first moments of bonding are essential. Being able to finally look at the face of the baby you’ve known for nine months on the inside is an incredibly powerful and pivotal moment in a mothers life. It’s as if you’re saying hello to someone you’ve known forever while being greeted by a face you’ve just met. The soft sunlight was coming through the window and music was playing from Sarah’s phone. They spoke to each other in whispers, and Kent couldn’t help but be in absolute awe of his wife. How could I not cry?!
Cole and Cooper were so excited to see their dad come around the corner. They knew it was time to meet their brother and see their mom, and I could hardly keep up with them going down the hallway.
I shed a few more tears during my time with this family. Sarah and Kent’s boys said the sweetest things, they couldn’t stop staring at Hudson, and the room was so full of love and excitement that I couldn’t contain my own emotions.