"WHY NOT HOME " A PRIVATE SCREENING | PHOENIX BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER

When I get the opportunity to meet and speak to a bundle of women that appreciate and are interested in homebirth, I take advantage of it. I respect all births, but homebirth is what is right for me, so when others feel the same I love to indulge myself in conversation. 

So when Midwife Jetta Anderson and I first saw the movie at a local screening, we talked about the opportunity to host one of these ourselves. So off we went to plan. It was a lovely Arizona evening that couldn't have resulted in more technical difficulties if I tried. Thankfully, we finally got it running with the help of both of our husbands. The film was amazing and opened many eyes to the beauty of having or supporting a homebirth. 

When we hosted last month, you could only watch the film at a private screening. Today I learned that everyone is now able to view this film in the comfort of their own home! Yes! You can buy the digital copy for $22.99!

MORE THAN YOUR PLAN | PHOENIX, AZ BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER

My warrior birth mama wrote a little something on her birth (that took place less than 24 hours ago) and is graciously allowing me to share it with all of you. I know you'll enjoy it.

"More Than Your Plan"

By Janet Wilt

 

With my firstborn, I was petrified of a natural birth. I told myself 6cm and then I'll get the epidural. For a first baby, she was a piece of cake. I got to 6cm, went through transition while getting my epidural, and actually pushed on a whim while I couldn't feel my legs. The episiotomy wasn't scary. I smiled the entire time, cracking jokes like it was no big deal. I had my daughter without feeling a thing. I thought it was ideal. 

Two years down the road, I wanted the same for my son. 

But in the back of my mind, I always wondered if I was missing out on a "real birth experience." Was I missing out on knowing the feeling of something women have been doing for centuries without pain relievers? 

I was scared. I was terrified. I don't like being or feeling vulnerable or weak. So I decided I wanted the same path my daughter took with my son. 

At the end of the day, it's not about your plan. It's about their plan. 

I waited around my home for my contractions to be closer to hospital admission standards - just like I did with my daughter. I told my husband - don't let me get the epidural before 6cm - just like I did with my daughter.

This wasn't my daughter.

When we arrived at the hospital and went into triage, I was already 6cm dilated. Labor had progressed quicker than I anticipated. I had painful back labor. I became the woman that walks into the hospital in labor and demands "give me the drugs."

That was the plan. 

When we moved into a laboring suite, the nurses did their best to draw blood, send it over to be analyzed so I could get my precious epidural. All the while, someone else was leading the charge. This little boy was moving on. 9.5cm dilated. I had transitioned and there wasn't time to have an epidural - I was having a baby. 

This wasn't the plan. 

Fear. Pure terror and fear. I felt weak and helpless. "This wasn't the plan," I moaned as if that would have convinced my body otherwise. 

But maybe it was meant to happen this way. I now know the strength and power of my body. I was able to feel every stretch, every pull, and every victorious push until I was able to deliver my son directly onto my chest.

Immediately after his birth, I felt... alive. I mean, I was ecstatic with my daughter but I was so concerned about moving around and I felt fragile. What a difference! After his birth, I wanted to hop up and be as involved as I could. The amount of sheer adrenaline I had coursing through my veins was incomparable. I truly felt all the rush of being a superhero mother. 

I am enormously thankful my son was headstrong and wanted to come out according to his own plan. I now have two wonderful experiences to be able to share with my children. With my daughter, I learned to make a plan and take my time. With my son, I learned to roll with the punches when the plan changes and trust my own strength. Who knew two little babies could teach their own mama such valuable life lessons? 

THE BIRTH OF BABY THEODORE | PHOENIX, AZ BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER

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

THE BIRTH OF BABY HEVANI ROSE | PHOENIX, AZ BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER

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.  

IAPBP BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY IMAGE COMPETITION

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. 


LABOR

"Determination"

"Determination"


DELIVERY

"Emerge"

"Emerge"


DETAILS

"Entwined"

"Entwined"


POSTPARTUM

"Rapture"

"Rapture"


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 BirthWithoutFearBlog.com) 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."