Baby Dean: An Unpredictable Birth
Sometimes we plan for and count on things turning out a specific way, and despite all of our best efforts, plans change. This first time momma labored beautifully with so much strength, and ended up with changed plans that she handled with so much bravery and acceptance.
If labor and childbirth could be described with only one word, most days I'd probably give it this one:
As you watch this story unfold through images, I hope you'll experience some feelings of compassion, feel the strength and love of this family, and have a better understanding of the vast and wide differences from one birth story to another.
The hardest part of labor is typically when you are approaching the point of transition, the point when just about every single mother is either saying in her own mind or out loud, "I can't do this" while the pressure rises. Contractions pile over one another, and intensity reaches heights that the previous contractions were leading up to. This is the moment we all feel like we can't go on, but it's also the time frame that tells us from the outside that your baby is almost here with us.
In hindsight, I could see she was experiencing transition. At the time though, I didn't recognize it in these tough moments because she was handling it so well. Like CRAZY WELL, guys. She was asking for relief, and we tried as much as she felt she could during that incredible hard work she was doing.
Remember what I said about plans changing? The plans for this birth story changed in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Momma was hoping to find some relief from an epidural, and this specific hospital requires any guests (Dad included) to step out for the roughly 20 minute process of administering it to take place. We waited in the waiting room together which turned into 20 minutes too long. Dad disappeared the second time he got up to peek through the door and I was one minute behind him when I realized he wasn't coming back. We both entered a chaotic situation where mom was being wheeled back for an emergency cesarean. I was quickly getting my camera ready to hand to dad to bring into the OR to capture moments (I would go back, if allowed, but this is a rare allowance). However, we quickly learned that Momma would be put out completely and that neither of us were going to be joining her. I imagine the empty room where a bed wasn't expected to clear out was a lot harder for Dad to witness than it was for me, and it was hard for me. I think we were both in a little bit of shock at what had just escalated and just held space there waiting for updates. He was so strong for them both, patiently waiting and overjoyed when updates would come back that both were doing just fine.
We were told Momma would be out for a bit, and baby would be joining Dad here in the room as soon as possible. Oh how relieving that moment must have been for him...
Like any brand new daddy, he was careful and protective, and so in love with his little man. Smiling, happy, laughing, in awe of this little life that he could call his.
Next to skin to skin with Momma, baby's temperature thrives when their skin is up against another's. This is the best thing Dad could be doing for his little man, and it made me so proud to see him doing so with so much pride and joy.
I wasn't hired for videography for this particular birth story, but when baby was brought to Dad I couldn't help but ask if he was ok if I took some clips of him with baby since Momma wasn't able to be here for these moments. I also expected some grogginess from her when she did return to the room. Dad said he thought she would really love that, so I captured some clips in between photo taking to surprise her with this little film below of Meeting Baby Dean:
Momma was waking up while she was wheeled back into the room and finally able to meet her baby boy for herself. This room was full of so much love for him and each other, there's no denying that.
Being a breastfeeding momma myself, and watching the clock roll by before Momma had returned to the room...there were definitely moments of anxiousness I was feeling about baby not having that normal time with Momma to latch on and have milk. If it came down to it, I would have been more than willing to step in, if asked, to help this family in that way. Thankfully, Momma got to have that time herself and it made for some of my favorite first latch moments.
This next moment was a fascinating one that shows just how strong a mother's instinct is.
Grandma (on Momma's side) was in town waiting to get the call to head to the hospital. She knew they were admitted, but they wanted their space to birth together without distractions. I saw her walking into the room and we quickly learned that she "just had a feeling" and headed over. This all occurred during the middle of the night, so for her to act on instincts like that when she would probably normally be sound asleep was a really cool thing to witness. She just knew. That instinctual superpower always amazes me and I love that it was a part of this story.
Love filled the room in these moments, and nothing else mattered. Their baby boy was here and he was as cute as can be.
Little cutie getting all checked out. Weighing, measuring, counting fingers and toes. He is perfect!
I'm so honored to have been welcomed into this space to document these first moments. To be able to share this story, showcasing that every #birthmatters and is worth documenting, even ones that don't go as planned. I want this Momma to know how strong she is, and to know just how important those moments of labor were for both her and her baby. Despite things leading up to a cesarean, the exact opposite of what she wanted, she did right by her little man and was a true example of love.
Thank you, Drescher Family. I hope that you know how beautiful your family is, and what an honor it was for me to be welcomed into your birthing space to document and to (hopefully) show you compassion and support as your doula. This was a unique and new experience for me, as it was for you as well. I can't wait to see your little man grow and you continue to be the fantastic parents that you are.