The Waterbirth of Enzlo

It's been quite a while since I've blogged a birth since I've been so insanely busy attending them. Anyways, I'm hoping to get back in the swing of writing birth stories again and this is one I definitely want to share.

A mutual friend tagged me in a Facebook post of a young mom to be who was hoping to go natural and looking to have a water birth. I got in touch with Hayden and sent her some resources, encouraged her to watch The Business of Being Born, and invited her to my upcoming birth prep class. A few weeks after taking my class Hayden and her partner, Lorenzo, decided to hire me as their doula. I was excited & eager to work with them because I felt I could relate to them in some ways. They were a young couple, with a baby on the way, hoping to do things "alternatively" with not much support or encouragement from their families (regarding the birth aspect). 

Around 11pm Hayden texted me that she was having some contractions that felt pretty intense and I encouraged her to rest if she still could. I got a few hours of sleep and in the middle of the night Lorenzo called and said they were headed to the Elmer hospital. 

I arrived at 4am to Hayden in her zone and Lorenzo helping her through contractions. They were listening to Pink Floyd and everything was totally peaceful. Her uncle was there photographing the birth as well, and we both sat quietly in awe of Hayden and her strength. 

When Hayden's mom arrived I could tell she was emotional to see her daughter in pain. I knew that she was bit nervous about Hayden giving birth naturally at first, but she immediately picked up on the vibe in the room and supported Hayden in any way she could. There are some births where the mamas need a lot of hands on support, but Hayden's birth required me to hold space. Lorenzo and Hayden's mom supported Hayden physically through the contractions with the power of touch, while I emotionally supported her and did my best to create a calm environment. With this much love and support Hayden's oxytocin was flowing. 

At 5:15 am the midwife checked her and she was 8-9 cm dilated and the baby was at a +1 station.  After this, Hayden and Lorenzo just laid in the bed together, cuddled up as one unit and there was no doubt how totally in love they were with each other. Hayden started to cry as the music kept playing and it was just one of those moments that leaves everyone in the room speechless. 

Around 6am she got into the tub and felt the urge to push. At this point nothing was comfortable and she was ready to meet her baby. The sun started to rise and filled the room with fresh light. At 7:40am Hayden birthed her beautiful baby boy the exact way she wanted to in the birth tub. Lorenzo and Hayden's moms eyes were filled with tears as soon as they saw him. 

I was so happy for Hayden and Lorenzo to have the exact birth they had envisioned and plan for come true. It was an honor being apart of their birth team for such a beautiful birth. It fills me with joy knowing that they will inspire their friends to learn about the benefits of having a natural birth and how much of an empowering experience it can be. 

All photos are owned and copyright by Wanderlust Birth + Photo. Please do not use or copy without permission. 

The birth of Francesca 8/15/15

I met with Darlene & Joe shortly after I delivered my son. Darlene was the first to inquire about my doula services after my maternity leave would be over in September.  I could not wait to work with them after leaving our consultation! Even though she had a great experience for her first birth, she knew how important it was to have a doula and was also looking forward to the birth photography. Darlene had wanted to switch to Elmer Hospital in hopes of a water birth, but was unable to because of insurance reasons and had to make the best of Virtua hospital in Voorhees. 

I wasn't even on-call yet and I heard my phone vibrate around 3:30am on August 15, 2015. Luckily, I was awake! To my surprise, it was Darlene, who wasn't due for another 4 weeks...

"Samm... contractions are about 4 mins apart for the last hour or so. Calling the hospital now." 3:38am

"They are intense now. Difficult to breathe through and I am needing to remember to relax... and its taking a lot of effort to do that." 3:58am

"Heading to virtua soon..." 4:09am

When Darlene checked into triage the resident asked her multiple times if she wanted pitocin or an epidural even though she had made it clear she wanted to go natural from the beginning. She was afraid that the medical staff was going to be unsupportive since she was unable to develop any time of relationship with a care provider prenatally. But, after she got upstairs and into her labor & delivery room they left her alone for most of the time.

Once I got to the hospital I saw that Darlene was doing an amazing job. She was able to hold full conversations in between contractions and she was in control of her birth space. Her labor progressed beautifully and although she was exhausted she stayed strong. The support from her mother & Joe was unbelievable and I was able to do more photography. 

Darlene's mother was a doula (no, she wasn't a certified doula, but she was definitely a natural), she knew exactly what to do and what to say and what she needed throughout the entire process. It was beautiful seeing such a bond between mother and daughter. In all the births I've been to, I've never seen anything like it!

Around 11:00 am or so, Darlene asked to have her water broken artificially after being 6cm for a few hours. After her water was broken the contractions got much more intense. An hour later she started having the urge to push, she started pushing uncontrollably in hands and knees on the bed. When the nurse checked Darlene she asked her to stop pushing since she was only 7cm and did not want her cervix to swell, but Darlene could not stop pushing. The nurse looked at me and said call the doctor! But, there was no time... Darlene pushed her baby out & into the nurses hands within a matter of minutes. It was the nurses first catch ever!

It was great being back in the birth world and such a beautiful birth to be apart of. Thank you Darlene & Joe for letting me be apart of your big day!

Monika & Bart, Sunset Beach Cape May

Last weekend I headed down to Sunset Beach, Cape May to shoot my doula clients, Monika & Bart's maternity session. They are expecting their first little one in a few short weeks and I am so excited to be attending their birth. We got there just before sunset & I am so excited with the way their photos turned out. They just loved on each other on the gorgeous beach and I just happened to be there with my camera, shooting away. The weather was beautiful, the sunset was beautiful, everything was beautiful! One of those evenings that I remember just how much I love what I do. Here are some of my favorites from their sunset session. 

45w.jpg

World Breastfeeding Week 2015 featuring Nicole K

"World Breastfeeding Week means that we have a week to focus on getting out information to the public as to why breastfeeding is normal and natural and the preferred feeding method for all children.  If we can help to normalize breastfeeding just a little bit and un-do some of the damage done in the United States with views towards public breastfeeding then we have achieved a lot!"

" What I love the most about breastfeeding my little girl is the bond that I know we have.  At 10 months old now, although very distracted when we are out and about, she gets so excited when her she knows she is getting her "milkly!"  I also love that I know she is getting so much nutrition everyday" 

" I think the most important thing is to be confident and nurse in public to help normalize breastfeeding.  Also, the support from healthcare professionals is crucial!  Doctors, nurses, etc need to support and educate on the importance of breastfeeding and get proper training and be able to recognize that they are not the breastfeeding experts and always defer to the experts (Lactation Consults) in the hospital.  Also, any mom who is breastfeeding in the hospital should be scheduled before discharge with a lactation follow-up with an IBCLC of their choice. "

"The greatest challenge was the first few weeks of nursing as my baby had a posterior tongue tie and nursing was extremely painful.  I was 100% dedicated and determined and I did not care how much pain I was in in order to provide the best nutrition for my child.  After all...I just got through natural child birth!" 

World Breastfeeding Week 2015

What does World Breastfeeding Week mean to you? 

"This World Breastfeeding Week, WABA calls for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work. Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed."-worldbreastfeedingweek.org

Over the month of July I photographed several mamas in the South Jersey area and asked them what breastfeeding meant to them. Why is it important to normalize breastfeeding? What does it mean to be able to breastfeed in public? How can we make breastfeeding a better experience for working moms? Each day this week I will feature a mama and her personal experience with breastfeeding because everyone's journey is significantly different. Thank you to all of the mamas who participated.