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I had the absolute honor of supporting Phil and Katy through the birth of their second baby as both their doula and birth photographer. Despite a few extra restrictions amidst Covid-19, our hospital system and amazing midwives allowed my presence in the room being a certified doula, for which we were all so grateful!
Katy’s labor began with her water breaking a few days before her due date. Contractions did not quickly follow, but Katy did an amazing job of listening to her body and giving baby a chance to descend a bit more while laboring at home. After close to 24 hours of waiting and relaxing, it was decided that they would head to the hospital to get the party started!
We hung out and chatted for an hour or two as baby stayed cozy inside, and Katy stayed pretty comfortable. Katy tried out the breast pump for a bit with minimal success, but eventually made the decision to go ahead and bring out the bigger guns by starting a tiny bit of Pitocin to encourage things along. Despite having hoped for an unmedicated labor, Katy rolled with the punches and did not let the change in plans affect her attitude and focus.
It didn’t take long for the Pitocin to kickstart Katy’s labor, and we worked to create a dark and peaceful environment in the labor and delivery room as her waves began to intensify. Phil was such a rockstar birth partner–he clearly knew just what to do to help Katy relax and focus. And even when he didn’t, he was a great listener! 😉 Phil led her through her favorite guided imagery and meditation prompts by candlelight, which was truly so peaceful and beautiful.
Katy continued to power through the intensifying labor waves, finding a good rhythm and progressing well over the next few hours with Phil continuing to guide her through her focus and relaxation techniques. By evening, Katy was nearing transition and kept working hard to maintain her rhythm despite a staff shift change and several frustrations with baby’s heart rate monitor needing to be constantly adjusted. Just when these frustrations were really starting to get to her (or…maybe that was just transition getting to her ;)), Katy’s midwife popped back in to offer some extra encouragement.
It was not long after this that Katy started to feel the urge to push! Her midwife was so supportive in helping her push at her own pace and in whatever position felt best. No bright spotlights were flashed on, and no one made a sound. Katy did an incredible job of listening to her body and following her instincts as baby made her way earthside.
As baby’s head emerged, the midwife let us know that baby’s cord was wrapped tightly around her neck, and explained very calmly that with the next push she would need to “somersault her out” rather than have dad catch her as originally planned. And with the next push, she did exactly that–all while maintaining complete focus and calm, which allowed Phil and Katy to also remain calm and in the moment.
Due to the nuchal cord situation, baby needed a bit of extra time to pink up and cry. Thankfully just a few seconds later, the NICU team got her to perk up and she started crying a good healthy cry!
Phil and Katy did not find out baby’s gender during pregnancy, and they had planned for Phil to be the one to announce the news upon baby’s birth. It was SO special to get to capture the moment Phil shared the news with her in such a sweet way. It almost made me want to keep my own next baby’s gender a surprise so that my husband and I could get a moment like this. ALMOST. 🙂
I love supporting ALL clients through labor and delivery…but it just makes my job even sweeter when I get to witness a couple that genuinely loves each other. You can’t fake/pose these moments!
Birth photography combined with doula support will probably always be my absolute favorite aspect of my job! Every now and then the stars align and I get to be a part of a birth team made up of seriously skilled providers AND a seriously cool birthing couple, and this was one of those births for sure. It was such a joy to document Audrey’s birth day for her parents to look back on (and be able to show Audrey!) for years to come.
For more info on birth photography in the Greater Lafayette and Indianapolis area, check out my birth photography page!