Last week’s birth has to be one of my favorites (excluding the births of my son, siblings and niece/nephews of course). A few months before my sixth birthday, I watched my mom give birth to one of my brothers at home. I don’t remember all of the details from that night, but I do remember sitting on my parents’ bed while my mom pushed my brother out in the birth tub. I was never scared, only excited. Over the next 14 years, I watched my mom deliver five more of my siblings at home. As a result, I grew up with a normalized view of natural birth and a deep appreciation for what home birth can offer. I also get really excited when women welcome their children into their birthing space because I know the lasting, positive impact it can have on how they will perceive birth when they’re older. Even better? Being able to photograph a birth with young siblings present so that they will be able to see the role they played on their brother or sister’s birth day, long after their memories get fuzzy. This was just such a birth.
I arrived shortly after 3am and was greeted by a wide awake three year old who had found her second wind just in time to help set up the birth pool. After she welcomed the midwife and doula inside, the excitement waned a little bit and she finally went back to bed. While Sarah labored through the early morning hours, her two girls slept. Her doula and midwife watched over and provided the physical and emotional support necessary to get her through active labor. With mementos and encouraging words from friends decorating the room and the Bliss Born hypnosis tracks playing, Sarah made it peacefully to the pushing stage of labor. Her three year old came back down when the sun came up and sat next to the pool to watch over her. After breakfast, her five year old came down for a kiss. As I watched the girls come and go, I was eight years old again, sitting next to my mom while she labored with my sister. These really are moments that will stick with the girls forever.
Not long after everyone in the house was awake, Sarah pushed out baby girl number three, Ary Joellen, in a room bathed with gorgeous morning light and filled with the love of two adoring big sisters, dad and everyone on her birth team. Welcome, Baby Ary!