Around two weeks prior to estimated due dates I start to get anxious. Will I have a babysitter, will I be able to go to events planned, will I be getting up in the middle of the night to rush to a delivery? The logistics behind birth photography are kind of a nightmare, especially now that I have 4 kids. But births like threepeat BB mama and warrior, Erin, reminds me to stay in the game even though it’s riddled with anxiety and exhaustion. The raw emotion followed by the bliss. It’s a high I will never find elsewhere unless I’m the one laboring. And documenting those sweet love filled moments like Erin so beautiful in her freshly postpartum state gazing at her husband skin to skin with their new babe. LOVE!
At just about 42 weeks, LAST Monday, Erin tried to evacuate this baby out of her. She didn’t want an induction but when it’s your third baby and you’re knocking on the door of two weeks “late,” you’re not tryin to stay pregs forever. Assuming it would be a day time birth I had to line up 3 sitters to cover my time before Adam was home. Hours ticked away but unfortunately Erin’s cervix did not. Soon it was dinner time. Then bed time. Then a text came at the 22nd hr of induction that no progress had been made besides utter exhaustion so Dr Bowen sent her home. (I love that man. Errybody loves that man.) A few day’s later they did a Non Stress which was great and measured the babe at 9.7lbs (and our US tech is always on the money!) and set another induction for the following Monday but with prayers she’d go sooner!
Nearly 43 weeks, Erin checked in bNorth at 6am with an open mind for God’s perfect alignment. She said she had tried it her way and failed so let His will be done. They tried an artificial water break this time which meant she wasn’t leaving without baby in arms and officially on the hospital’s clock. A few hours later contractions induced by the pit had her rocking and rolling during some hydrotherapy. Mark and I chatted and I told him that after all the stress of waiting for this birth I WAS NOT MISSING IT. So once my sitter arrived I went ahead on the road even though he hadn’t asked me to. And whaddya know? Ten min later it was about to be my turn at the drive thru window to get a sandwich and he says, “She feels pushy.” Ducked right out of that line and floored it in true Mothership mode in under 20min. You guys. There were NO spots in that damn hospital lot. None. I circled. I begged for someone to pull out. No one listened and I had to sprint with cameras slapping against both hips, backpack of lenses bouncing on my back. I made it to the room to see her bottom up with a head the size of a tennis ball crowning. Enough time to lean on my knees and not die from lack of breath and muscle cramps. Alas! I made it! When I stopped panting to see the room all laughing at me, I took the only available space at Erin’s ankles, which is not ideal as I try to avoid the not so modest money shot. Erin is actually a nurse at bNorth in the Mom/Baby unit so she was totally cool with my position.
The control this BA mama had. I mean his very large, practically 3mth sized head, was fully crowned to eyebrows for minutes. She didn’t let out but a soft moan. She didn’t tense or rock or even move! She just let her body do it’s thing as the rest of us watched in complete awe. Dr Bowen eased him out bit by bit and we were shocked at his very short umbilical cord! You’ll see in the images that she couldn’t even get him near her chest! Eventually they laid together in bliss that she was finally no longer pregnant and his hands rested near her necklace reading “Fearless.” No doubt, 100% accurate. Little butter ball was 9.12lb and 21 1/4 inches and so calm. Things progressed naturally with the recovery until Erin started complaining her cramps were unbearable. Then she couldn’t even hold Asher because she was crippling in pain. He went skin to skin with Mark while we watched Erin turn white and her BP drop from 120/75 to 60/40. The most amazing nurse that ever was, Kate, alerted staff and the room quickly filled.
A Dr assessed via ultrasound that Erin’s uterus wasn’t able to clamp down for what could have been multiple reasons such as, 3rd pregnancy and big baby. Instead of hemorrhaging, her body was developing multiple very large clots. She was still alert enough to communicate and yelled she wanted to push, which was alarming since she had already delivered the baby and placenta over an hour prior. I stood near the foot of the bed watching as she pushed this explosion of clots and blood out. I’ve never seen anything like it and it was so much that we actually jumped and gasped, “oh my God!” The nurse weighed the blood loss in at 1850cc. Now let me put this in perspective for you. With delivery she didn’t even lose 100cc. That means in one moment she expelled 62ish ounces of blood! WHAT. Once she was stabilized again and comfortable on morphine, we were able to get close again. As you’ll also see in the slideshow her Fearless necklace had flipped in the chaos and ironically now read, “REST” as she laid loopy and barely awake. She said she had it made in prep for this birth and once he was here, she’d claim rest over herself. Well, that was one way force yourself to do it!! Shoot, girl!! Since it had then been hours since the birth and she hadn’t made it to breastfeeding, the superhero nurses, used Erin’s draaaained body for her and fed Asher. I just loved watching that. Her coworkers and friends now part of her village.
Welcome Asher, you sure did live up to your name of “blessed and happy.”
***Some images are a bit more graphic in nature than I usually share but Erin was all, share it all! I don’t care! 🙂 So if you’re not a birth junkie, you may want to look away as the rest of us find it incredible beautiful what our bodies can do!!***