The night before baby Geneva was born, Katie gave me an update that she was feeling things happening, so I went to bed with a good feeling that I’d either be called into the birth center in the night, or later in the morning the next day. I got a wonderful night of sleep, and woke up to, sure enough—a call from Katie saying (through a contraction) that they were on their way to the center and would be there in about an hour.
The sun was peaking through the bedroom windows as I got ready to go, and I just had such a great feeling that this birth would be so amazing. I mean, they’re ALL amazing, but the feeling was just so tangible!.
I got to the birth center, and she was about to get into the tub. Katie hired me as a doula as well as a photographer, so I focused much of my energy on supporting her in labor. She found a lot of relief from deep pressure. Whether that be applied to her hips, her head, hands, legs—it all helped. Before her birth, we met up so I could get a good sense of what she wanted from her birth experience. She shared with me her first birth story and the main thing she desired from this birth was that SHE be in control of her pushing. With her first, she experienced a perineal tear and felt it could have been avoided if she had pushed when only she had the urge. So this time, she didn’t want anyone telling her to push.
She worked through contractions so gracefully. She wanted us by her side the whole time, and it created such a unified understanding that Katie could do this—she was so strong. As she worked through contractions on the bed, she began to experience some pressure and began to bare down on her own ever so slightly. Her midwife, CNM Carla Rouw, knew Katie’s wishes about pushing, so she asked to check her completion. Baby was coming down and the cervix was in fact completely dilated. Ever so gently, Katie began pushing. She followed the leading of her body and didn’t push anymore than the urge led her. It was incredible to watch her baby (who we didn’t know would be a girl or a boy!) slowly crown and go back into the canal, crown again, and slowly go back again. And the whole time, Katie was so incredibly strong! She never expressed disbelief that she could do it. Eventually, she had some really strong pushes that brought her baby out into the world.
The expression on their faces said it all! They were amazed, in awe, in love. How captivating it was, friends! The cord was short, so baby stayed on her lower belly while the cord finished pulsing. She reached down to feel the cord and found out their second baby was another girl! They were both so excited, and Katie even said, “A girl?! I really wanted another girl!”
The baby needed some extra help getting its lung cleared of the amniotic fluid, and with some assistance, was able to do that safely and without any fuss. It’s always so amazing to watch out-of-hospital practices surrounding these sort of scenarios. Staff stayed calm but also executed their duties quickly and appropriately. There was such a peace in the room.
After a couple of hours, Mom and Dad were ready to introduce their firstborn to their new baby, her little sister! Aspen came in and was so quietly excited—it was so sweet to watch. She climbed into her Mom’s lap and shared some snuggles. I gave the family some time to themselves, and came back in the room to find out her name—Geneva, meaning Juniper Tree. Aspen and Geneva. Isn’t that so sweet?! I hope you enjoy this series as much as I did documenting it!