Photography by Andrea Breci @ Green Feather Photography
The Night Before
It was a chilly Fall day, 3 years ago next month (whoa where has the time gone?!!). Adrian and I decided to have some friends over for a dinner party- one last hurrah before our lives changed forever and we became a little family of three. We talked, laughed and dined on delicious spaghetti having a wonderful evening. The guys had some drinks (we are not big drinkers!) and the wine flowed for everyone except yours truly (ok I actually had two sips but this was the only time during my pregnancy!). My due date was still 9 days away so we didn’t think twice about Adrian drinking…and drink he did!
Around 9PM I started feeling a little queezy and figured that I’d just had way too much to eat. Little did I know that I was having my first contraction! The party continued and the guys were suddenly polishing off an entire bottle of Jack Daniels. I really had no idea what was happening and so didn’t think twice about him partying the night away. Our friends left around 11PM and Adrian promptly went into the bedroom and immediately passed out. I laid in bed but couldn’t sleep. I noticed that my “queeziness” continued, but seemed to be coming and going. Reality was starting to sink in that this might be more than just eating too much! I didn’t want to wake up Adrian until I was sure of what was happening, so I opened an app on my phone I had installed a week earlier called “Contraction Master” and started keeping track. I haven’t had the heart to delete the app even today- I love looking back at it for both babies and remembering that exciting time!
We’re Having a Baby!
After about an hour of monitoring, I suddenly needed to waddle to the restroom. I sat down on the toilet and I literally heard a “pop!” sound…my water had broke! All that I could think was, “thank goodness I’m on the toilet right now!” My second thought was, “Oh $#!* Adrian is drunk!” I flew out of that bathroom, flung open the bedroom door, flipped on the light and said something to the effect of, “Get your @$$ up because I’m in labor!” I was suddenly a VERY annoyed mama-to-be knowing that drunkie over there probably wasn’t going to be much help to me like I had envisioned. I’ve never seen anyone sit up so fast in my life, and have certainly never seen Adrian move so fast! He kept saying on repeat, “We’re having a baby!” like he was in some kind of drunken trance while he wildly threw his “clothes” into a bag (we later discovered this consisted of about 12 pairs of boxers…and nothing else). Luckily I had packed most of my hospital bag a few days earlier.
We knew that he wasn’t going to be driving us anywhere, so he called his sister to drive us to the hospital (thank goodness she answered!) and by this time it was shortly after 1AM. I had read about people using Depends after delivery, so I had bought a bag which came in really handy as water was spilling out of me with each contraction. Once your water breaks it doesn’t stop! About an hour later, after loading the front seat with towels and piling into the car with all of our baby stuff, we arrived at the hospital. On the way there, I texted my other SIL who is also an amazing photographer to let her know the time had arrived as we had planned months before for her to be our birth photographer.
A Surprise Awaits!
We arrived at the hospital and I let the nurse know that my water had broken at home. They hooked me up to all of the monitors and then checked to see how far along I was. Everything was going smoothly and so I whipped out the amazing birth plan that I had worked so hard to make (please feel free to laugh at my completely naive photo below!). A minute later I should have crumpled it up and thrown it in the trash because all of my planning was about to go out the window. The nurse gave me a very puzzled look and said, “I think I feel the baby’s butt!” So to be sure, she did an ultrasound and then confirmed by asking me, “Did you know the baby would be breech?!” I’m sure the look of shock on my face answered that question! I remember asking if they could just turn her because I really didn’t want to have a C-section and that was a no-go. Apparently once your water breaks, it’s too dangerous to try to turn the baby, so C-section it was!
We waited just a short while for them to prepare. I’ve been told that up until this point, Adrian pretty much blacked out- luckily he was sober enough to remember the actual birth! I had contractions as I walked to the OR and I was about 7cm dilated by the time I laid down for surgery. It was a slow night at the hospital and I was the only soon-to-be mama in labor, which meant that I got a lot of attention, a lot of quiet space to labor in and my SIL photographer was allowed full access to the OR. When you have a c-section, you are awake the entire time. I remember being so excited to meet this baby girl, just running on full adrenaline. I couldn’t believe the time had finally come!
What seemed like a very short time later, Lana came screaming into the world. She was just as beautiful as I’d imagined and knew how to make an entrance from the very beginning! She always does her own thing, even to this very day and I couldn’t love her spunk and determination more.
Why a Birth Photographer?
I have a really horrible memory. We can definitely credit the kiddos for part of this (no sleep!) but I kind of think I’ve always been this way. That’s reason #1 for hiring a birth photographer. This was one of the greatest moments in my life and even now almost 3 years later, I look back on these photos and can remember exactly how I felt in those moments. I was super lucky that my SIL is a photographer and agreed to take pics of this historic occasion…birth photography is usually not cheap! While 100% worth it for the reasons I’m about to share, you CAN find more affordable options by using a family member (I did this with baby #2) or a brand new photographer who may not be charging full price yet in order to gain more experience. You can also tell your partner to consider this your push present, seriously these photos are some of my most cherished possessions in the world.
I’m about to say something profound and so true: this was not only the birth of a child, but was also the birth of a mommy and daddy. In this case daddy was drunk haha, but regardless, I knew he would be busy holding my hand or otherwise assisting me in the birth of this babe! Not only did I not want him trying to wrangle the camera (not to mention he’s not the best at taking photos…shhhh!) but I wanted him present, in the moment, soaking all of the craziness in. I wanted to see his face the first time he held his child and the look on his face as the baby was getting delivered- priceless.
One thing that I really love about my photos, is that I am able to see things that I didn’t get to see during the actual birth. The drape was up during my c-section (yes they didn’t follow my detailed instructions lol) but I’m not entirely bitter since I have these photos to look at for always. There are so many tiny details that would have been missed otherwise. I’m able to see what was happening on the other side of that curtain, of course dad’s face, the clock on the wall pronouncing her time of birth and also things that happened afterwards. For example, while I was getting stitched and mended, Adrian went with Lana to get weighed, measured, footprints, etc. but I didn’t get to see this in person. I’m so glad that I didn’t miss these firsts because I have these beautiful photographs to look at now.
This day changed my life, for the rest of my life. This is THE moment that I became a mom and I can and do look back at it SO often. I have a million more photos I would love to share, but this post would be ridiculously long. These are photos that I will cherish forever and I’m so glad I am able to share them with you. Did you have a birth photographer on the day that changed your life forever?
P.S. Special thanks again to my SIL Andrea Breci of Green Feather Photography for taking these gorgeous photos. 🙂