1. Your Partner Can Be Actively Present
One of the easiest things you could do is to have your husband or partner snap a few pictures throughout your labor and delivery. You’ll get home, get settled in with your newborn baby, and decide to finally look through the photos on your camera. What you’ll quickly realize is that yes, some moments were captured, but they do not feature your partner at all. Your husband is nowhere to be found in these pictures. You don’t have the moment he held his new baby for the first time, his reaction to the birth, your moments as a couple together…I could go on and on. There’s a big missed opportunity here and you most certainly won’t be able to recreate it. Plus, let’s not forget Cesarean deliveries. If your doctors okay a photographer to be present during the c-section, you do not want your husband anywhere but at your head, cheering you on, and supporting you.
Enter the birth photographer. Instead of your partner playing 2 different roles in the delivery room (photographer and support system), they can now focus on you and the baby 100%. My presence in the delivery room is respectful of the process and staff, while also focusing on documenting the fleeting moments of your baby’s birth. The look on a father’s face as his baby is being born is one that cannot be missed on camera. Remember mama’s, you’ll be busy contracting and pushing. The portraits captured will be your reminder later. Sure, you’re doing the majority of the work when in labor and delivery, but let’s not count out the importance of a partner in the room. Your family is growing, and having someone by your side is part of that birth story. Allow dad to soak it all in, allow him to feel proud of you, allow your new family to all be captured together without worrying about nailing your camera settings or battery life.
2. Leave It To The Professionals
There’s no easy way to say this…I’ll just blurt-type it out: You do not want a hobbyist shooting your child’s birth. Sure, having your aunt or cousin in your delivery room might sound like a good idea, but imagine if their camera gear failed or if they were to get queasy from the realities of birth? If the room were too dark for their camera gear, what would happen? It’s incredibly important that your birth photographer is not just a curious birth enthusiast. Your photographer should be well versed in the different stages of birth, be familiar with HIPAA privacy rules, know how to respectfully communicate with hospital staff, be familiar with labor timing and when to arrive at the hospital, when to shoot and when NOT to shoot. Safety for you and the baby are of the utmost importance. You wouldn’t hire an accountant to build your house, or a hair stylist to maintain your lawn! Leave it to the professionals.
3. Over Time, You’ll Forget Details
There are these tiny little details that surround birth and a hospital stay that simply pass you by. Whether it’s exhaustion, bliss, or just time moving too fast, you’ll miss some small moments that you didn’t realize were happening. I’ve received countless messages from mothers and fathers that refer back to images from their birth story that they don’t remotely remember happening. Why risk forgetting so many of the details, when you can have a birth photographer present to document the big and the small? Sure, the main event is your labor and your baby’s birth, but the magic is in the middle. Some of my favorite images from my own children’s births are detail shots: my focal points and affirmations taped to the walls, eating a snack in between contractions, styling my newborn baby’s hair into a mo-hawk, my husband’s reaction to their birth weight. Understandably, these things can blur together as time goes on. These photographs are the sweetest reminder of those hours and days working on delivering your baby.
4. I’m On-Call For The Last 3 Weeks Of Your Pregnancy
Yep, you read that right. I’m on-call for 3 weeks for your birth! Starting at 38 weeks, my schedule will revolve around you going into labor. Babies don’t really care about our schedules, so your due date is just a jumping off point. I’ve gotten “I’m in labor” calls as early as 33 weeks and as late at 41 weeks. If you go into labor before the 38 week mark, I still do my absolute best to get to the hospital ASAP. During my on-call time, I try and stay within the Birmingham area and be strategic about my driving with other people and needing childcare at the drop of a hat. Sometimes I have plenty of time to get childcare set up, get home, have a meal, and then head to the hospital with plenty of time to spare. Other times, the call comes in and birthing mom’s are in the late stages of labor.
What about scheduled c-sections? Why does being on-call matter with cesareans? Remember, your baby doesn’t care about your schedule! Plenty of babies have been born before their expected c-section, and last summer was one of those times for my client. Mom went into labor 2-3 weeks before her scheduled c-section! Luckily I was able to be there in the delivery room, because I was on-call!
But, what if I’m not able to make the birth? This scenario is not my favorite, but it has happened. The unpredictability of birth can be both wonderful and frustrating. Nothing makes me more anxious than the thought of missing a birth. Be it sickness, natural disaster, family emergency, even an incredibly fast moving labor/delivery…these things do happen. That’s life. Fortunately, I do offer a back up photographer if I am not physically able to be at your birth. I’m happy to say that this is a rare occurrence. I’m absolutely honored to be present at your baby’s birth and do not take this responsibility lightly. Let me document your life changing; your baby’s birth cannot be retold.