When I met Heather, she was glowing. She didn't complain once about her bump taking up every inch of space on her small frame. I'm actually not sure I've ever met another first time mom so certain of having a photographer in the room and capturing it ALL. She told me all about her birth plan, her midwife, and how excited she was. Like most expecting moms, she had expectations. She wanted the "ideal" birth story that society has authored for women. It was going to be natural, and full glory. On the day she was admitted I went in and sat and watched for hours as Rob, her husband, comforted her through her pain. She was so strong. So fierce, and so determined. I have photographed a number of births, and I've never witnessed a mom more determined to have their birth story go according to their plan. She made it incredibly far without anything. The tiny girl inside her had other plans of her own though. Everyone in the room had a hunch things weren't progressing like she hoped - I think we knew earlier than any of us wanted to admit to her. We encouraged her to keep fighting and just take it moment by moment. The moment came when an emergency c-section was needed. I wasn't aloud in the operating room, but hopefully one day Bellingham St. Joseph Birth Center will change those rules. I came back after some recovery time to capture some fresh moments with Loretta (can we all swoon over that old fashioned name). I was a little nervous Heather would be bummed about how it went, but like so many mom's before her, she quickly realized none of the "how" really matters when we boil it all down. Not who pushed longer, harder, or without meds. Not what part of your body you gave birth from: pikachu, or incision. At the end of the day she had a healthy, beautiful, perfect baby girl to hold onto. I'm so thankful I got to capture these moments. The hard work of labor, and the priceless reward at the end. This birth story wasn't what Heather had envisioned, but from where I was standing it was still so incredible.
LORETTA MAY YOU BE STRONG + FIERCE LIKE YOUR MAMA