The footling breech homebirth of Nylah

 

LS6A1954WMSkye was just a few weeks from her due date when her beloved father died. She planned to say her goodbyes and work through her overwhelming grief, before tackling the next challenge that lay before her of bringing her baby into the world. But on the day of her Dad’s funeral as she walked into the service, she felt her waters break.

Determined to give her Dad the farewell he deserved, Skye wasn’t going to leave before saying goodbye. Someone passed her a disposable nappy which she sat on throughout the lengthy service, with amniotic fluid gushing with every surge. She gave her heartfelt eulogy from her seat, explaining to the congregation why she couldn’t stand up. And at the conclusion of the service as her family and friends gathered to support one another, Skye, her husband Matt, youngest daughter Tahlei and best friend Kat quickly headed for home. It was at this moment when I first spoke to Skye. I could hear the urgency in her voice as she explained that things were moving along quickly and she wasn’t overly confident about making the 30 minute drive home. A contraction hit while we were speaking and I could hear the heaviness in her breathing, and by the time the contraction passed I was walking out my front door.

When Skye and her family arrived at home, the first midwife Dan, was already in the driveway unpacking his car. I arrived very soon after, followed by the second midwife Maria. We were all moving quickly, there was no time for chats and introductions as all the equipment was carried in and the birth pool filled. Skye was beautifully managing the surges that were rhythmically rolling in.

When the pool was barely half full, Skye asked if she could get in. Dan agreed but suggested that Matt should hop in also to help raise the water level. She knew her baby was just minutes away but it was on the next contraction when things suddenly became interesting. Skye reached down expecting to feel her baby’s head emerging but instead she felt two tiny feet. Dan began talking Skye through this unexpected breech delivery of her baby and Skye became very quiet and calm. It felt as if the whole world stopped in that moment. Dan assured Skye that she would be able to deliver her baby and all would be well but Skye didn’t need convincing. She just confidently replied “I know Dan, I’ll push her out”.

Within 40 minutes of Skye arriving home that day, her baby was in her arms. Nylah arrived quietly and gently, with nobody handling her until she was completely free. She lay against her mother’s breast, gazing at the world around her and her adoring family. They knew why she had chosen that day to join them, she was their sunshine on an otherwise rainy day. Skye’s mother and older daughter Caelan arrived soon after and the emotion of the day was palpable.

Sometimes mothers tell me they are scared of the uncertainty of birth. Unsure if they will be able to manage the intensity of it. I try with all my might to convince them of the strength within them, a superhuman strength they have not yet encountered in their life. To see a woman on the most difficult day of her life, draw on this strength left me speechless.

It was greatness. X

 

 

The unplanned homebirth of Archie!

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Jaime and Trevor had a plan. It was an ideal birth plan that involved labouring gently at home for some hours, during which time they would call their friend Bec to come over for extra support and they would call me to come and take some labour images at home, and finally they would call their friend Annie to come and stay with their daughter Isla when it came time for us to head to the hospital. It was a good plan but baby Archie was having none of it.

I received a call from Jaime as I was putting my kids to bed for the night. She sounded happy and fresh, and just wanted to update me that she was having some contractions which felt quite strong but were still irregular as it had only been an hour or so since the onset. Jaime is a midwife and I knew that she would know the right time to call me, so I told her to keep me posted over the next hour or so, and started getting myself organised for the long night ahead. I was starting to feel nervous an hour later. Something that I couldn’t put my finger on was making me feel like I needed to start moving but I was still waiting on the call asking me to come over. Suddenly my phone rang and it was Trevor saying that I was welcome to make my way over to their house whenever I felt ready. I didn’t waste any time and left immediately. When I knocked on the front door and was greeted by Trevor, I asked how things were going and he replied “Yeah good, I think we might need to head to the hospital soon!”

I peeked into the bathroom where Jaime was labouring in the bath and could see that she was deep in her zone. Her friend Bec was holding her hand and Trevor was whispering affirming words. I quietly knelt down in the doorway and it was a few minutes and a couple of contractions before she looked in my direction and gave me a half smile. I knew then that we wouldn’t make it to the hospital. The contractions were intense and coming almost on top of each other.

I had only been there about 10 minutes when a strong contraction swept over Jaime and her waters broke. She knew it was time to do something but was at that point of transition when things seem very confusing. She got out of the bath and Bec gently suggested maybe we needed to call an ambulance and I quickly agreed and got my phone. Right at that moment there was a knock on the door and I ran downstairs to find Annie who had come to mind Isla (who was sleeping soundly through all the action)! Annie’s expression of wide eyed excitement grew when I quickly told her that we were about to have a baby. After a couple of minutes on the phone to Emergency Services I handed them over to Annie so that I could get back to capturing this birth and making sure that every time Jaime opened her eyes she had someone smiling at her and reassuring her that we had this.

What ensued was some of the most incredible moments I’ve ever been witness to. Jaime reached a point of realisation that her baby was coming quickly and she got herself into an optimal birthing position. Bec prepared to catch this precious baby boy and Trevor didn’t miss a beat with the encouraging words of confidence that all would be well. Annie relayed the advice coming through the phone to Bec, and it was only a couple of minutes until she was passing beautiful baby Archie through to his mama. The ambulance crew arrived about 5 minutes later but by then we were all laughing at the lack of emergency and the perfect baby who was crying and turning a lovely shade of pink.

Archie’s birth affirmed in me just how natural this process is. How women who are well supported and feel safe, progress so beautifully and instinctively know how to birth their babies. It is with such a grateful heart that I am allowed to share this birth with all of you!! X

 

 

Another Birth Photography Workshop for 2017!

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Birth Photography is an exciting and rapidly growing genre that requires unwavering passion and dedication. It gives back so much in unparalleled experience, inspiration and friendship. It is a genre that I love with my whole heart and can’t imagine ever giving up.

In this workshop I’ll be sharing all my knowledge and personal experience of working as an exclusive birth photographer for the past 4.5 years. During this time I’ve photographed almost 70 births, been awarded AIPP NSW Documentary Photographer of the Year, built strong relationships with hospitals, midwives and obstetricians and worked on some other interesting birth related projects. I pour my heart and soul into my work and approach every client with openness, respect and pure intentions. This way of thinking forms the base for all of my interactions with families and medical professionals and is what I attribute my success to.

I’ll be covering so many important topics at the workshop including:

Birth space etiquette and how to build relationships with medical professionals

*Respecting the birth space

*Approach and demeanour

*Knowing when to press the shutter and when to refrain

*Respecting the partners

Understanding birth in it’s many forms and being prepared for what you might encounter                                                                                                                                                                                     

*Home birth, Hospital birth, Birth Centre birth, Caesarean and intervention birth will all be discussed

The technicalities of shooting in low light, tight spaces and in a sometimes fast paced environment -I will be showing examples of successful shots and also some of my failures.                                                                                                                                

*Shooting in manual

*The equipment you will need for high quality images

*Being prepared to change settings quickly

Building a business through word of mouth and social media

*How to ensure your clients are always happy

*How to use social media effectively

Living life on call and juggling family life

*Keeping in touch with your clients

*Being prepared for birth at any time

Doing your best work and the benefits of generosity in business                               

*Maintaining a grateful mindset

*The importance of investing in your business

*Putting out your best work every time

The workshop will be held on Sunday the 20th of August in the heart of Newcastle NSW. It will take place in a beautiful, light filled commercial space and will include morning tea, a delicious healthy lunch and we’ll finish the day with champagne and cheese to celebrate the exciting new direction of your life! Workshops can be very heavy with information and can sometimes leave you feeling a little overwhelmed, so I will be going through things slowly and you will have the ability to ask questions and take notes all throughout the day.

The workshop will run from 9:30am until 4:30pm, followed by an opportunity to speak with me one on one, and ask any lingering questions at the end of the day, as well as chat with the other attendees and build personal relationships with people who share your love of birth.

The cost for this full day workshop will be $650. All payments will be by direct deposit. Spaces for this workshop will be limited to 10 people so I would advise getting in touch as soon as you decide you would like to attend.

To register for this workshop and ensure you don’t miss out on a place, please email me directly at katekennedybirthphotography@gmail.com 

I look forward to meeting you and hearing about your passion for this incredible genre!

The birth of Zoe -a natural breech birth!

Mel’s pregnancy was relatively uneventful. Her baby was growing beautifully and Mel was fit and well. It wasn’t until the final weeks that things started to get interesting, when it was discovered that Mel’s baby wasn’t head down all ready for birth, but instead was sitting in a frank breech position (presenting bottom first). Mel was a first time mum so this situation wasn’t ideal, but as a midwife herself, she had enough knowledge to know that she could birth this baby naturally, but she would need to get her head in the game.

She attended the Breech Clinic at John Hunter Hospital where they went over everything and decided that she fitted the criteria to attempt a natural breech delivery. There was a chance this plan wouldn’t eventuate as any number of factors could have arisen, but with the unwavering support of her wonderful husband Ben, she decided to at least try for the natural birth she had envisaged all throughout her pregnancy.

As the weeks and days passed, we nervously waited for this baby to arrive. For Mel to achieve a natural birth she could not be induced and needed labour to begin spontaneously, but she remained calm and trusting of her body and baby as she passed the 41 week mark. Finally baby Zoe decided on the 10th of April, that it was the perfect day to meet her parents.

Mel spent most of her labour quietly contracting under the shower, with Ben tirelessly supporting and encouraging her, and her second support person Denise (also a midwife) ensuring she didn’t doubt her ability to birth her baby for a second. When she hit 2nd stage and baby Zoe was deep down and ready to be born, Mel moved to the bed where she could kneel and safely birth her baby without anyone needing to intervene.

It was only around 30 mins until beautiful baby Zoe arrived in a completely calm and controlled birth, with Mel gently breathing her out and no one touching the baby during delivery (which is the recommended approach for a successful vaginal breech birth).

I can’t adequately express how impressed and in awe I was at Mel’s courage and determination, nor can I thank her and Ben enough for generously sharing these rare and precious images, in the hope that they might inspire a healthier way of thinking around natural breech birth.

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JOY!

I have been so busy for the last 12 months witnessing amazing things! So many babies arriving into this world and so many families rejoicing in their arrival. In the crazy haste of it all, I have fallen ridiculously behind with my blog, but fear not! You can see snippets and slideshows and just general amazingness from many of the births I have been photographing over on my Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/katekennedybirthphotography

Here’s a little insight. A compilation of some of my favourite moments of birth. A testament to the strength of women and to the love of their partners. Enjoy!

Eddie.

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The first time I met the lovely Lucy, it was supposed to be just a relatively quick first meeting to discuss the impending arrival of her first baby and what she was hoping for in her birth photography. After coffees were drunk and lunches were eaten, we were still talking…and continued to for three hours! Lucy had recently finished a course in women’s wellness and she was absolutely pumped about her upcoming birth. She had so much faith in not only herself but also her birth team, and she was more than prepared mentally.

On the evening of Eddie’s birth I received a call from Lucy. She had been quietly labouring all day at home and things were progressing nicely. The incredible thing about that day was that Lucy’s Mum and Grandma (who live in England) were on a plane headed to Australia in the hope to be here to lend a hand when the baby arrived. They touched down in Sydney to the news that Lucy was in labour and they raced to Newcastle not knowing if they would make it in time for the birth.

It was a lovely sight when I walked into Belmont Birth Centre to see Lucy being supported by her Mum and Grandma and of course her hubby Shane. She hopped into the birth pool and with the gentle support of her lovely midwife Nancy, she handled her pain beautifully. In the end, sweet baby Eddie came out in a big hurry and surprised us all. Lucy and Shane were immediately besotted and entranced with this new little person. Their first family member.