A week ago I photographed the labour of a kind-hearted mother who was attempting a VBAC homebirth. With her consent, I’d like to share her experience with you. The slide show below contains images of labour, but there is no nudity or graphic images. The expressions of emotion may be confronting for some, and hopefully stir the emotions in all.
As a women, I’m deeply emotional about seeing another woman journey through labour towards the inevitable birth of a child. I find myself immersed in their journey too, as each contraction builds, peaks and subsides. Every sound and movement of their body builds in urgency. Knowing with each minute that passes, no matter what level of pain or exhaustion was occupied at the time, a new life is a minute closer to shining a light on all that is. Knowing that this baby’s gift of presence will instantly heal such pain and distract all burden’s from the mother’s memory. I can’t help but become swept away in the mindfulness of the event. And I love even more so how I can walk away from such a shoot, no matter how long it went for, and feel re-aligned with the true priorities in life. Life itself.
On Wednesday the 28th March at 8:30pm I received the message that Samantha’s water’s had broken. And so it began, the preparing, the packing, the anticipation. At 1:30am the phone call came and in 45 minutes I was there in her dimly lit lounge room with my camera ready to work. Contractions were frequently every few minutes and Samantha’s calm character saw her through each one with resolve that she would meet her baby soon. Kat, her midwife watched closely with an expression of contemplation and a look of reassurance. The waves washed on through the morning hours. Her daughter awoke around 4:30am and joined us. She sat peacefully on her father’s lap and observed her mother, Kat and me. The mere presence of Samantha’s daughter seemed a relieving distraction to her in between the contractions and I caught many a loving smile.
On and on Samantha laboured, throughout the day and into the evening. Her enduring physical effort and emotional strength would surely cripple the resolve of any trained athlete. With a posterior baby, her ongoing committment to seeing this natural experience through to the end was an amazing demonstration of a women saturated in the goodness of her primal element.
A mother can choose to birth in a certain way with certain preferences, but sometimes you can not control the journey that ultimately must be taken. Every option was pursued and effort was made to birth safely at home, but sometimes existence has other plans. Plans must be changed to keep things moving forward, that’s life. Samantha accepted that and her baby was born in hospital via Cesarian at 11:13pm on Thursday 29th March 2012. A beautiful baby boy was born healthy and well. His parents named him Keeley Sage.