I had been waiting all day for the call. My birth client went into the hospital at 5 am to begin the induction process. Usually, I wait until mom reaches about 6 centimeters before I leave for the hospital, and with an early morning induction, it ranges between about 1-4pm, but at 6pm that night, she still had not progressed. I checked in with Dad, and he told me that they had "backed off the pitocin level a bit because they didn't like her levels."
Then at 8pm my phone rang and he said, "They are taking her in for a C-section right now." I asked quickly, "Emergency C?" "Yes," and we hung up. I jumped in my car and got there as fast as I could.
I knew they were not going to let me into the OR but I knocked on the door of the delivery room area and checked with the nurse just in case and she directed me to the waiting room where I met 4 nervous grandparents, 2 aunts and a 6 year old cousin.
After about 20 minutes, a nurse came out and waived me over. She walked with me to the nursery where my client's husband was standing with a healthy pink baby wrapped in a blanket.
"We still don't know the sex," he told me and I glanced up at the nurse who started to laugh.
Because Mom had not yet received an epidural, her C section had to be performed under general anesthesia, so she was still asleep and had missed the whole birth. Dad wanted to wait to find out the sex of the baby together once she woke up. I grabbed a few shots of them together and the grandparents peering through the nursery window as the baby got measured and weighed. The nurse informed Dad that Mom was being wheeled into recovery, so he left to check on her, and the nurse drew the shades on the window.
The nurse began to unwrap her to give her a bath. There we were, me, the nurses and this tiny baby girl, that nobody but us yet knew was a girl. I shot like crazy, every moment Mom and Dad were missing of their sweet baby's first hour. It was all on me to give it back to them.
After all of the clean up protocol was finished with the baby, the nurse told me I was welcome to go hang out with the family again. I politely declined. (Rather, I laughed and said, "Heck No! Those people will eat me alive if I don't give them the sex! I'm staying right here!)
Eventually, Mom was awake and ready to meet her little one. I walked with the nurse and the rolling crib carrying their baby to the recovery room and proceeded to get all of my normal shots.
Mom later told me, "I am so glad we had you here or we would have missed so much."
Many people are surprised when I tell them I am a birth photographer. They assume that they would never want to hire someone to photograph something so potentially graphic. However, I also have many people tell me later that they wish they had those moments captured, and some who, like this Mom, miss the whole thing altogether. If you are on the fence about birth photography, I highly recommend that you do a little research and decide if perhaps it is right for you. You will be so glad you did.
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