A Home Birth Story...

I met Wes + Cat in 2011 at a campus ministry in college. I thought they were quirky, unique, and really seemed cool. Turns out, I was totally right, in all the best ways. They had been married for a few years already and were preparing for an adventure in teaching over seas. We stayed in touch through events that year, but went our own ways later on. I would see here and there some exciting pictures on facebook which told me a little about their lives teaching on a tiny island. Little did I know that on their return home after two years, they weren't alone! Little Baby had already start growing and they were making preparations to bring their child into the world.

Cat contacted me asking if I was interested in shooting a birth. I was excited and readily responded "Yes!". I had a slight feeling that Cat was pregnant but wasn't sharing the news yet, but I forgot about it as time passed. I then ran into Cat a few months later at a local Starbucks and gave her a hug and said hello. I mentioned this to a mutual friend and she said "Oh, so you know she's pregnant now, right?". Actually no, I hadn't noticed. I'm not sure how that happened but I somehow did not notice her baby bump on her tiny frame. A little later on, Cat contacted me again and told me the initial inquiry was for herself and asked if I was still available...oh, and by the way, it's a home birth. Yes, yes, and yes! I knew they were "quirky"..

I recently had a family member who gave birth to her little girl at home as well, so I was fresh on the idea of home birthing. And, as it turned out, Cat and Wes had hired the same midwife who worked with said family member! So I was elated to meet this woman, who must surely be a superhero (which I later found out was absolutely true).

So Cat and I caught up over coffee and we hashed out the details. It was decided that we would move forward with a maternity session and a few weeks later, be ready for the baby!

So to start, here are a few maternity photos! The story of the birth picks up a little further down...

Two Weeks & Two Days Late...

Cat texted me and said labor was starting! So I gathered my things and got ready for her follow up texts.

I arrived at their home around 2pm to find Cat in the birthing pool, watching Pride and Prejudice in between contractions. Wes was by her side every second, timing contractions, bringing water, and the occasional Samoa Girl Scout cookie.

Around 2:30 the midwife arrived and said Cat was about 4 cm and had a while to go. We all settled in for what we thought would be a long day. The midwife and her apprentice left to check on another mother-baby and that's when things became interesting.

Cat's contractions quickly worsened and there wasn't much of a comfortable position to be found. Wes continued to give aid in any way possible and timed the ever-quickening contractions.

By 4pm Cat was in pretty bad pain and suddenly, her water broke. We phoned the Midwife who was a little surprised that things had moved so quickly. She was on her way and we were told to hang tight. Cat was getting closer and closer to having the baby, but naturally was hesitant to start pushing until Brenda arrived. And at this point, Wes and I were very hesitant as well, since we were the only ones there to "catch" the baby.

Fortunately, Brenda and her apprentice arrived and Wes did not have to go that extra-dad mile in delivering his own child. We were all very happy to see that Brenda was able to fight off traffic in time!

The process continued slowly and painfully. Cat pushed and baby was still not coming. After multiple heart-tone scans, Brenda called the paramedics in case they needed to take Cat and baby to the hospital.

The baby's heart rate was dropping and then rising back up and then dropping again. At the right moment, Brenda called it and they rushed Cat to the hospital.

After arriving, and some crazy details, including almost delivering on the highway, sweet little Shepherd made his dramatic entrance into the world! He and Cat recouped and both were declared safe and just fine.

This little baby boy had a rough entrance but is doing just great with mom and dad at home!

As a photographer...

It was truly an honor, which I have said over and over, to be asked to be a part of such an incredible milestone in someone's life. It blew me away to be allowed into this intimate and life-changing moment for Cat and Wes' family. I have never been this up-close and personal with anyone's birth, but I would say yes again in a heartbeat! Life is truly beautiful and such an incredible miracle.

Praise the Lord for His gift of life and the gift of this little boy and his family!

 

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