8:25am I received a text from Mama that said she was more than positive this was the start of labor with contractions at 30 minutes apart. She told me shed give me a call if they progress. She kept me informed but around noon she told me she is either getting used to them or they’ve subsided. 

8:41pm I received a call from Mama that her contractions were about 6 minutes apart. She just wanted to give me a heads up but did not want to rush because she was handling them fairly well and still had to spend some quality time with her daughter before she is no longer a single child, drop her off at the in-laws, and get all checked in through triage. We ended the call with a contraction and after hearing how intense they were I decided it was best to get my childcare to my house STAT. 

9:16pm she texted me telling me that she definitely didn’t stay at her in-laws and was heading to the hospital to get her epidural. My childcare was headed to my house and so I threw everything in my car and as soon as I could leave bolted to the hospital. A 40 minute drive turned into a 30 minute drive when her husband updated me that they couldn’t give her an epidural and were prepping her for delivery. 

GUYS. I have never missed a birth. My heart sank. My stomach did flips. I panicked for all of 37 seconds till I realized that this beautiful baby boy is doing just what he needs to do and will come when he is ready, and that is all that matters. 

10:32pm. I left everything in the car except my keys and camera. My arrival was straight out of the movies. I parked my car with only my camera and keys in hand and the doors practically swung open for me as I bolted to labor and delivery. I ran to her room to the sound of the staff applauding my arrival while I could hear Mama pushing (this may be a complete over exaggeration). I caught my breath and went to town shooting some of my FAVORITE images to date. 

Theodore was born 4 minutes after I walked in the room and was caught by his mother and father then laid directly onto his mother’s chest for the most beautiful golden hour I've ever witnessed. The room overflowed with oxytocin as Mama cried tears of joy and spoke sweet words to her new baby. 

“We did it baby!”

“I can’t believe I did it!”

“Mama’s got you Teddy. Mama's got you’

Mama discovered her inner warrior on this night. Read all about her perspective here.

Birth Photographer: Katie Mathis Photography

Midwife: Mallorie, Valley Women For Women

Birth Location: Hospital, Mercy Gilbert


Her contractions were 5 minutes apart and it was time to head south to witness this little girl's birthday. I love the rush to get to the birth. Coffee in hand, snacks near by, and music blaring while keeping my eye's peeled for those sneaky Arizona undercover cops. As soon as I (safely) arrived it seemed that those contractions slowed down a bit. Pitocin was being set up as Mama scrolled through the list of movies to watch. Patience was necessary as things slowed down and picked back up again. It was a roller coaster of a day but when it was go time there was no slowing down. With the grandparents, siblings, and two younger children out of the room the nurse helped Mama through the first 10 minutes of pushing. Right when her full head of hair was almost completely out the nurse called for the doctor & seconds later he arrived to guide baby girl earthside.  


2016 was a wonderful year for me. Personal growth as a wife, mother and photographer. In 2016 I captured 19 births starting in April all the way through December. Each and everyone was unique and beautiful. My eyes have been open to every angle of birth. After many hours spent culling and reculling, I have decided on my top images to submit for the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers birth photography competition. There are four categories I have entered in; labor, delivery, details, and postpartum. 













The beauty of this contest is that it brings exposure to birth, allowing the world to normalize all different types of birth. As January Harshe (from says:

"I do not care what kind of birth you have... a homebirth, a scheduled cesarean, epidural hospital birth, or if you birth alone in the woods next to a baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices, and that you were respected." 


She knew she was going to have her baby fast but no one expected this fast. Within 5 minutes of my arrival her baby's head was out. A beautiful peaceful break gave Mama the opportunity to reach down and meet her new baby, not knowing if it was a boy or a girl. With the next contraction baby was earthside and had the most perfect cord wrapped around it's neck, twice. A little unraveling and the baby was safely in Mama's arms. Between all the excitement and oxytocin everyone forgot to check the sex, finally mom lifts up the towel, gives a gander and says "It's another boy!"

World, meet Joshua. Joshua, meet world.


I woke up to the sound of my ringtone blaring in my ear. This is the first time that I've been woken up for a birth since October so I was extremely well rested, prepared, and eager to do 90 on a 65. At 8:10am I got in my car and by 8:30 I arrived to a beautiful brick home with children playing outfront. This birth was not of my own client but another birth photographer/doula's client that was in need of backup. Without too much knowledge on what was expected to be shot, and most importantly not to be shot, I went to work. I snuck in quietly and whispered "Hi, I'm Katie." We exchanged smiles and she went right back into contracting. The room was dark and the sounds were soft. Mom was supported by her husband, midwife, and myself with breathing mantras, gentle touches, and then some pressure releasing touches for some instant relief. From the birth ball, to the bathroom, to the birth tub, this mama was patient and kind in allowing her body and baby work together in finding the perfect time to come earthside.  

Happy Birthday Tiger Babe Brooker Fisher

Midwife: Marinah Farrell, Certified Licensed Professional Midwife

Photographer/Doula: Katie Mathis Photography, Birth Photographer


"On the night you were born,

The moon smiled with such wonder

That the stars peeked in to see you

And the night wind whispered,

'Life will never be the same.'"


Aven's Birth Story

On this night two years ago I stirred with fear that I would go into labor while Evan was gone. He was home that night but had a flight to catch at 1pm the next day and I knew I was in early labor. For all you birth junkies out there (or just curious folk) my outer sac had a tear and I was leaking fluid, I was bound to start active labor in the next 24+ hours.

With fair warning that labor was going to start I made sure to call my parents so they could make it to the birth. My mom tried to make it to my first birth but missed it by 30 minutes since the drive from CA to AZ was 8 hours and I only labored for 7.5. They lived about 3 hours from me in Philly and I couldn't chance her missing it again.

I tossed and turned all night in hopes active labor would start. I woke Evan up at 7am in tears. Then I woke my midwife up, who so graciously flew into Philly to be with me for my birth, for some motivation & extra help. We decided to strip my membranes and send all my love and good vibes to my baby girl. Two hours later I had my first contraction.

I felt my entire uterus squeeze and I knew it was time to work. So I squatted and chanted to myself "knees wide, open your floor, breathe deep." That lasted all of three contractions before I needed fresh air. We bundled up, walked outside, and that's when it hit me. "Today is November 15th. Today is my Mother-In-Law's birthday. Holy crap. Today is the only day my birth photographer can't make it because she has a wedding." I don't recall the disbelief being the reason the pain was so surreal or the freezing temperature, but my contractions were close and long and we decided the best place was back in the house.

The house was warm but loud. My dear dad, bless his heart, had no idea what kind of serene environment I needed. Nor did my two and a half year old. So upstairs we went to create that lovely birthing space every birth junkie dreams of. Sweet music, diffusers going, candles light, pretty bralette and robe, bath running. It was so beautiful that I almost forgot Evan's flight was taking off in 3 hours.

Evan. My love. My rock. My birth partner. He knew exactly what I needed and I only wish I had been able to document it better to remember those moments. He helped me embrace each and every contraction. He danced with me. Held me. Gave me counter-pressure when and where I needed it most, but our time was up. It was time for him to go. I will never forget this moment. I was in the bath, Evan sitting on the edge staring at me with his whole body, giving me everything he had, squeezing my hand and whispering "Sorry, I'm so sorry. I have to go now." My heart sank.

Evan's phone rang and he left the bathroom for a minute. He came back in and told me they are delaying the plane for maintenance!! The entire team and staff already boarded and coincidentally the plane needed maintenance?! I believed it then but I see you now, whoever you were, I see you.

It was go time. I believed in me, my baby girl believed in herself, and together we believed in each other. With the help of a little bag breakage I went from contracting on my bed a few times to "I have to poop." And we all know what that really means, all meaning everyone but me because I was convinced I was going to poop while pushing and I refused to do so. I got up and went to the toilet, tried pushing and very quickly found out I was wrong-wrong-wrong. I screamed for help and all at once, my mom, husband, midwife, midwife's assistant rushed in with the birthing stool, and moved me from the toilet to the stool before pushing anymore.

Evan's hands were ready but his eyes were telling me he was in wild disbelief this was actually happening. I stared at my mom and told her I couldn't do it, she stared right back with her eyes full of tears and told me how I could and am. One more push and baby girl was out into her daddy's hands and onto my chest. She was here! And Evan caught her! We waited for the cord to stop pulsing completely before Evan cut the cord and kissed us goodbye. Thankfully someone from the team was waiting outside so Evan could leave right away. I don't know what actually happened when he boarded the plane but I picture a standing ovation.

The next two hours of recovery was quite a blur for me. I believe the lack of sleep, rush from oxytocin, and pressure of having her before he left threw me into a grateful haze. I had this beautiful healthy baby girl and all I could say was "oh. my. god", over and over.

Aven Kate Mathis was 9lbs 8oz & 23" tall. She was spoiled rotten for two years & is now running the house with her sneaky ways and sweet heart.