Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Baby Amarys | Birth Photos

On February 28th, at 8am, I got the call I had been waiting for. Melissa, a good friend of ours, let me know that today would be baby's birth day! Melissa and Brent have three beautiful boys and on this day they would be welcoming baby number four. Melissa is a lover of all things birth related and is a doula and aspiring midwife. She had hoped and prayed for a home birth, but due to having insulin dependent gestational diabetes, to the hospital it would be. She had mentioned that this was all great professional development having such a variety of risks in her pregnancy and just such a variety of births (C-section for breech, adoption, VBAC):)

She had a fabulous support team which included her husband Brent, her mom Nancy (a maternity nurse), and her midwife Cathy. Her kids, in laws, and best friend were also in and out during the labour, offering love and support. I will try not to include too much information as it is Melissa's story to tell, but I have been given permission to share photos and a bit of that wonderful day and evening.
I went to Melissa's house in the morning where she was relaxing and fueling up for the day ahead. Her mom was there cleaning and two of the boys played with my boys. Melissa made some phone calls, took note of contractions, and just relaxed. I left an hour later so she could go on a walk and then, I waited:) It's always hard to know how a birth will go. Melissa anticipated that it would go quickly, but this baby's journey was nice and slow and steady.

We were all excited and I was just hoping and praying that I would be able to capture the birthing journey in a way that was non intrusive. I didn't want to be in anyone's way and I didn't want the click of the camera or the flash of the camera to be noticeable in any way. Melissa had mentioned that last time she was very aware of noises and light and needed them to be to a minimum. For any photographers out there, I was using our Canon 5D with the 24-70mm f/2.8 the entire time. I used the 580 EXII external flash (ceiling bounced) when needed during the wee hours of the morning. Otherwise, I just worked with whatever fluorescent lighting there was:)
The next time I saw the whole family was at 8pm at Surrey Memorial Hospital. In came the midwife, Melissa's mom, Brent, the three boys, and Mel's friend Rowenna. The boys spent time watching mom get checked in and read some books. There may have been a few timbits involved too:)
The boys spent most of the time in the next door waiting room (cubicle) but freely walked in and out of the room to see mom and dad. Melissa was doing really well and just had her mom or Brent apply counter pressure to her lower back.
Melissa started on the bed getting her IV drip and then proceeded to the birthing ball. Once her IV was done, she went to the bath tub where she would spend the next two hours or so.

Melissa talked with us in between contractions, and during them she used her hypnobirthing techniques to stay calm and relax. She was so relaxed, I was falling asleep:) The picture below show her face tensed up which rarely happened so I knew she was getting close!
Around 12:30am, Melissa had to be given her second dose of antibiotics via an IV. This was difficult as she had to get out of the tub. We had all hoped she could deliver before the second dose. As soon as she got out, it was clear that her body was ready to push. They attempted the IV while she was sitting in the bathroom but then moved to the bed/birthing stool as it wasn't going to work at that time. Her mom and Brent held on to her, and in between contractions, Melissa and Brent rested their heads together and it was just so beautiful.
Melissa then laid on her side to get more comfortable. She was being a superstar and asked for what she needed and talked with her midwife about what she should be doing. I know this isn't about me, but this part was the hardest for me. I just needed to know that everything would be okay and I was actually just sitting on a stool, trying to stay calm, and saying a prayer or two:) At 1:54am, after about one hour of pushing, baby's head was out and in the next push, out came the baby! I was so excited and openly started sobbing.
Melissa's mom, Nancy, looked to see if it was a boy or girl and then started jumping up and down. Obviously they would've been so happy with another boy, but wow, is was so exciting to see that they had just had a baby girl!! Melissa said she had a feeling it would be a girl, but apparently she felt that way with Ayden and Riley too:) Below is the first kiss from mother to daughter, I was ecstatic.
Below, mom and dad are looking at their brand new daughter to make sure that she fit her new name. They then announced that her name was Amarys Lukadia. Melissa cut the cord herself and just held baby Amarys for two hours, skin to skin. During that time, we waited for the placenta and for Melissa to be cleaned up before the kids came in. Brent went and told the kiddos that they had a baby sister and they were so excited. Amarys started breastfeeding around 2:30 am and didn't stop. She breastfed for a good hour before her blood sugar test which came back with great results! Yippee!
By the time the boys came in, only Ayden was awake. He was in a bit of a tired daze but truly amazed by his little sister. He held her hand and it was so sweet. The little boys just stayed asleep on the pull out cot next to the bed.

I love Brent's smile above, just taking in the sight of his baby daughter. Everyone came in to see the newest little addition and it was just so beautiful (hmm...how many times have I said `beautiful' in this post?!). Melissa had made a hat for her and it fit perfectly. We noticed her perfect little dimple which melted me. Later on she would be weighed and we discovered she was just 9lbs 1oz!! So exciting as Melissa had worked so hard on having a healthy diet to control her GD (her last baby was 10lbs 2oz). By this time I was pretty exhausted and I left around 4am.

What a beautiful journey. I am so thankful that I was able to take part in it. Welcome to the world baby Amarys, you are so loved!!

22 comments:

Tania Grim said...

Wow i think Im going to cry ! Im so excited for them. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful experience.

Carol said...

What beautiful coverage you captured of their special day!

Caryn Ouwehand said...

AMAZING photos Louise! Wow.

Rachel said...

Wow, what a great story, and you did an awesome job at capturing this excitement! I love the name they gave her too :)

Dana said...

BEAUTIFUL and AWESOME in every way. I was choked up all the way through. You really captured the emotion, beauty, and natural/normal-ness of the entire occasion. I am thrilled!

kelly ens said...

SOOOO gorgeous Louise! Great job on capturing this miraculous time!

Stephanie said...

I cannot imagine more worthy moments to capture. And done so well, Louise.

Lindsay said...

wow. so amazing! beautiful post!

Tiny Tutus said...

Beautiful!! Tears came to my eyes, Congrats to the family!!

Jackie said...

I was going to say - seems 'beautiful' is the theme of this post! Once again, loving the father's smile on his newborn baby! Looks like mom and her support people did an amazing job - good job capturing this journey, Weezer! Hopefully everyone is catching up on their sleep! :)

sara said...

Thank you Louise. It is so amazing to be able to see my beautiful cousin go through the whole process of bringing this baby into the world.

The pictures are amazing. And now I'm crying... ;)

Megan said...

Tears in my eyes just reading this...beautifully captured.

melissa said...

Louise, you've gone above and beyond what I was hoping for when I asked you to photograph this birth. Your eye is amazing and the style of artistry you have is absolutely perfect for capturing the unpredictable and beautiful moments of birth. And life in general, actually! Thank you so much, it was wonderful to have you there not only as photographer but also as my friend.


My mom says to say thank you also, and that she likes you best of all my friends because you think she looks young....
=)

lori said...

I am not only slightly moved, but I have full-fledged tears streaming down my face. Gorgeous coverage of such a sacred and joyful event! Thanks for show-and-telling what you did, and we'll await more of the story-line from Melissa.

ms emili louann said...

Gorgeous photos, absolutely! Thank you for sharing such beautiful talent.

amy frances said...

Hip, hip, hooray.

Rachel Clear said...

Amazing job, Louise. Seriously.

These photos are breath-taking, and it was awesome to hear a bit of the story.

You're a good friend. :)

Jen said...

Amazing work, Louise! I'm a slobbery mess over here. So happy for Mel and baby and so glad you were the one to be there and document the birth. What a great experience for you, too.

Rob-o-SE-yo said...

thanks so much for taking, and sharing these lovely pictures. wow!

tamie said...

Thank you, Louise, for these stunning photos. What a precious gift you've given not just to Brent and Mel but to all of us who can share in their joy from afar. Thank you thank you!

Anonymous said...

I don't even know anyone involved and I was so moved by the story told here. I, too, have tears streaming down my face. Congratulations to everyone involved!!

melissa said...

Louise I'm going through old posts in the middle of the night and I just never get tired of looking at these photos you took of Amarys' birth. It makes me want to do it all again. =) It was the best day ever, thus far, and I'm so blessed to have had you document it. xxoo