The Homebirth of Arthur James | Greenville Birth Photography
Around 10 or so months ago, I made a casual post on Facebook looking for clients who might be willing to barter some items I wanted/needed. (I’m horrible at buying things for myself so this is the best way for me to obtain certain items. Ha.) Laura commented and we started chatting. We started out by discussing doing a trade for a couple of smash cakes. She apparently can make a pretty good cake and I needed some for a couple of 1st birthday sessions I had coming up. We did joke at the time about bartering for birth photography, but at the time it was just a fun idea.
Fast forward a few weeks of conversation and building a connection via Facebook messenger, I got a message from Laura…
So we got to planning. Luckily for the both of us her hubby is a pretty talented woodworker. And I was in need of a new table. We talked numbers, and trading, and all that fun stuff, but in the end I was going to get a beautiful new HANDMADE farmhouse table (and a few matching shelves) and she would get her birth documented. Really I won both ways. I mean I got to photographer her stunning birth AND got a table? I think I came out on top of that deal. (Sorry Laura!)
We continued to chat for the next few months and planned her maternity session. We decided on Poinsett Bridge. Usually I have met with my birth clients prior to booking, but in our unique case, her maternity session was our first time officially meeting in person. I’m not sure about her, but I felt an instant connection to her and her family. I was already really excited, but now I was even more ready to photograph this special moment in their lives.
Laura started texting me the morning of January 23rd with some mild contractions. I live about an hour away so I told her to keep me as updated as possible. The day went on and I didn’t hear anything so around 3 I decided to check in on her. Things had fizzled out at the moment but we kept our fingers crossed. The next morning she texted me…
“I’m officially in prodromal labor territory. I was awake all night with contractions 5-7 minutes apart that never picked up.”
I told her about the days leading up to my own son’s birth and how he really enjoyed teasing me. I offered to join her for a walk, since it was a beautiful day, but she decided rest was important and she was absolutely right. We crossed our fingers again and waited.
At 11:56pm on January 24th I got a text from her doula, Julie Byers. It wasn’t until she called me a few minutes later that I got the text. (Despite how loud my text notification is, I never hear it. It’s the phone calls that wake me!) Laura was doing great but the rest of the birth team (who was also about an hour away) were headed there. I jumped in my car and headed that way too.
It was a cool night and the hour long drive was mostly a one lane road that headed into Pickens. When I arrived to her house the rest of the team was already there. The moon was super bright and lit up the whole yard. Even as it played peek-a-boo behind some clouds.
When I went inside Laura was laboring in her bedroom. As the birth team from Hatched prepared for little one’s arrival. It didn’t take me long to figure out that her and her hubby were pretty big cat fans.
In addition to the rest of the birth team, Laura and Adam had three kitty-doulas.
Laura continued to labor through out her house. My favorite was when she would do this tip-toe jog around her bed at the start of a contraction. Hurrying to the other side of the bed just in time to lean and get some counter pressure from daddy. She jumped in and out of the birth tub a couple of times, and while she soaked in the warm water she seemed to be able to catch a little rest in between waves. She had gotten out again to move around, then decided to hop back in, hoping to possibly have a water birth. At the time she was just following her body and doing what it told her to do. While in the tub a cervical lip was discovered. The midwives knew exactly how to handle the situation and had her try a few different positions. She ended up getting back out of the tub to do some laboring in her bed and it wasn’t long before someone suggested laboring on the toilet. One of the best places to labor and to bring baby down. After being in her bathroom for only a few minutes we started to see her sweet baby boy emerge. Once he started to crown her husband helped her stand. He supported her as she took a rest and gathered all her energy up to finally meet their baby boy. With one big gush and push, Arthur made his splash into the world. Postpartum bliss started immediately as Laura and Adam soaked in every feature of their new baby. After doing some skin to skin with daddy, while Laura birthed the placenta, mommy and Arthur got to take a beautiful herbal bath and clean up. Watching them gently wash and love on their baby, while the rest of the birth team cleaned up and prepared mama’s bed with clean sheets, reminded me how grateful I am that we have this option. This mama just gave birth in her own bathroom. And she gets to rest and heal in her own bed. And this birth team she built is doing their best to make sure she is off to the absolute best start she can have as a fresh new mom. That is how birth should look. The setting isn’t exactly the same for everyone, but the support and love and care should be. Everyone deserves to feel like the badass birthing queen she is during labor, birth and after having a baby.