I got a message first thing in the morning from Angel saying, "Baby dust activated" and was immediately so excited for her! She said she thought she had slept through the early parts of labor and was laboring at home for a bit. A few hours later, I walked into her room at the Midwifery Center at Depaul Medical Center in Norfolk. I walked in with a friend of mine, Michelle of Michelle Lynn Photographic Artist who had invited me to join her during the session to see if birth photography was something I may be interested in taking on in the future. When we arrived, the room was calm and silent, except for some Bob Marley music playing in the background. It smelled amazing from the essential oils Angel and her husband, Ray, were using. It was truly an incredible peaceful and beautiful scene to walk into. And it stayed that way the entire time. Calm, peaceful, in control. Angel was a pro at unmedicated, natural births already. She had a natural birth the first time around with her son.
Throughout her labor, Angel's husband massaged her and used various essential oil blends they had created for her labor. As I sat back and observed from behind my lens, I was in complete awe. Ray and Angel were incredible together. It was like watching a perfectly choreographed and rehearsed ballet. I'll admit that I cried several times watching them. I couldn't help it. It was so beautiful!
In the middle of active labor, this strong mama was still joking and laughing. The two excited parents exchanged inside jokes and sarcasm between contractions and had anyone in the room laughing and smiling right along with them.
One second she was laughing and then next she was back in the zone, focusing and working with her body to help move her baby closer to life outside of her body.
She worked hard. And he was right beside her every step of the way.
After begging and waiting and working for several hours, she was finally dilated enough to get into the tub. Angel kept saying, "Please, can I get in? Is it time yet?" and her patient, calm husband would reply with "It's not time yet. You're okay. " encouraging her to keep going.
As Angel worked through the hardest part of her labor, Ray kept saying, "Look up. Pick your head up. Breathe. Relax your shoulders. You're okay." Over and over again. They were both incredibly calm and in control. Occasionally one, or both, of them would well up with tears, and then make past another intense moment of pain and emotion. They completely trusted each other every single second of the way.
As she got closer to pushing, her midwife mentioned that the baby wasn't quite in the best position yet, so they moved to the bed and used a different position to help Baby Girl move into a better position for birth. Not long after that, Angel was ready to push and minutes later beautiful baby Scarlet was born.
Congratulations, Angel and Ray. You were incredible and inspiring. Thank you so much for inviting me to document one of the best days of your entire lives.
It's a day I'll never forget!
For those of you who may not know, I was second shooting this birth since it was my first one. The incredibly talented woman behind the camera at Michelle Lynn Photographic Artist was the first shooter. She was often angled to get shots of the mama-to-be so I was often on the opposite side getting the dad's reaction. It seems like I was almost able to tell the birth through his eyes and Michelle was able to share the story from the mother's side! I LOVE that about this session. These parents will have two different angles of the same moments! Be sure to head to Michelle's Facebook page and website to see more from this session! Thank you Michelle for allowing me to shoot beside you. I can't thank you enough for your help and encouragement!