Special Feature-Elizabeth’s Birth Story, Jan 2012
The Birth of Asher…The Story from the Photographer’s Perspective.The Following Story is special since it describes the day that our OB-Gyn Elizabeth Ross, gave birth at home. We are honored at Mother to Mother to have been there to facilitate that process. Homebirth Rocks!
I have begun this post about 5 times. its really hard to know where to begin. I had one of the most awesome experiences of my life- where do you start? a couple of days ago I was able to watch and document a tiny person being brought into this world. It was a blessing and a unforgettable day.
I first met Elizabeth, Elliot and Isla when we had a family session over a year ago. There is no way I could have avoided falling in love with them! It’s impossible. Ask anyone! Since then our families have grown close and have had the good fortune of sharing some great times. I was thrilled when they announced they were expecting…. but BEYOND thrilled when Elizabeth asked me if i could photograph her home birth. I immediately said YES! I had no previous idea how badly I had wanted to document a birth until she said something.
Of course trying to ‘schedule’ a natural birth-photo-session is a bit more tricky than my other sessions. Even though we had a pretty nicely laid out plan- we really had no idea when she might actually go into labor or if it would even work to have me there (hubby away right now, part time job etc etc). So we played it all by ear. Week after week, day after day….week after due date…..nearly 2 weeks after due date. I was beginning to think that she may have already had the baby but didn’t want to tell me. Maybe they had to suddenly leave the country….2 weeks late! If i hadn’t have been checking up on her nearly every day I might have thought the latter! nevertheless, on Tuesday morning I got THE text. “Today is the DAY!”. It was perfect. I didn’t have to work. and I had plenty of time to find somewhere to take Fia, I charged my batteries, cleaned my equipment and felt totally prepared. I had planned to take Fia to a friends house in Point Loma later on when she was further along. At 12:27pm Elizabeth said she was progressing slowly. about 8 minutes apart and the midwife was not there. She seriously thought she might not have the baby until the next day with how slow it was progressing. So i had some time to kill. Around 1:00 I left the house to start heading in the direction of Point Loma. I texted Elizabeth at 1:16pm to let me know when I should stop texting her and start talking to her hubby (like if it got bad and she was tired of me bugging her). I got a text back ‘NOW. I have her phone. Elliot’. Now?? what does that mean!? Now to stop texting? Now to come over? So i wrote back ‘should i come over?’ and got “Yes. Now. Please”. ok. My heart really started to race at this point. I’ve been looking forward to this session for months now. Thought I had it all planned out. but now i’m a block from her house and I have my 4 year old in the car. I decided I would just go ‘check in’ on them and see where she was. The minute I walked in the door I knew exactly where she was. um. wow. There were midwives running around, and my beautiful, mellow friend was screaming at the top of her lungs. a sound i will not soon forget. I think i had literally forgotten how painful giving birth is until I heard her scream (and i never went as far as her w/o some help). I didn’t know what to do. Her mom rushed past me and Fia and briefly said ‘hi! the baby is coming!’. I had no time to mess around if I wanted to document anything. I just kept thinking ‘how in the world did this happen so fast!?’ I put a movie on for Fia and quickly left the room. I asked where their daughter was. she was napping in the next room! I had to kind of laugh. To this day I have no idea how that child stayed asleep during all of this but it was truly a gift from the heavens. It all happened so fast i’m not sure they would have had time to take her anywhere! and it was a blessing that Elizabeth’s mom could be there for her.
When I went into the bathroom Elizabeth was in a lot of pain (obviously), was a little delirious (as expected) and I honestly wasn’t sure if i should start shooting or even be there. Even though I had been asked to be there I still felt like I had just walked in on something VERY private and very intimate. I instantly felt very unsure and thought perhaps I should leave. everything was happening so fast and I didn’t want to get in the way of the midwives (there was not much room), I wasn’t even sure if Elizabeth consciously knew i was there and I had forgotten about how vulnerable you are when you are birthing, I also felt bad for Fia who had no clue what was going on…..I literally thought all of this in the span of 5 seconds when I saw the chaos of the situation. but then I really realized what was happening- a new life was about to enter this world! and i knew i had no choice. I had to document it. I just let it go and stayed out of the way. I would shoot for a bit and then go check on Fia, shoot then check. I was briefly sitting with Fia when I heard ‘its a boy!!!!’. Fia seemed fine at this time so I ran in there to capture this amazing moment. baby Asher had just been welcomed into this world and was about to be placed in his mama’s arms. Ut was one of the most amazing experiences ever. There are not words to describe the strength and bravery I witnessed that day in my beautiful friend, Elizabeth. I know she is phenomenal. She is also beyond smart, quietly self confident, eloquent and full of grace. I adore her and feel blessed to have her in my life. but this week this fine lady has moved up several notches to absolutely, positively- extraordinary, crazy-amazing-brave and resilient. I saw what she went through to bring this baby into this world naturally and safely. I didn’t just hear about it -I was there. and Ii tell you- it makes a difference. the pain and fear that I saw in her face not minutes earlier flooded out of her the minute this baby was placed in her arms. To be able to capture these first few moments still makes me cry. I will never forget it. to see and feel that moment of ‘it was all worth it for this beautiful creature’ is not easily forgotten.
Asher Nicklous Ross was born at 1:46pm on January 31, 2012.
I’m assuming Asher changed his mind suddenly. very suddenly. perhaps he had to really think about it for a couple of weeks then suddenly realized ‘yeah! im ready to do this. NOW!’ i think the Ross family might have a great force on their hands. 🙂
Elliot, Elizabeth, Isla and Asher, there are not words to express. how do I thank you for allowing me to be a part of one of the happiest moments of your life? to be able to document this day will never leave my heart. i love you more than ever and only hope i can continue to document your beautiful life together. Namaste! xo