I was supposed to photograph the birth of Sarah and Oceane’s first baby back in 2015, but little Dominique had other plans. While his mamas were trying to ascertain whether Sarah was actually in established labour, Dominique suddenly arrived before they even had time to call me! So when they again booked me to photograph their second baby’s birth, I was so excited to get a second chance at being with this beautiful family on such a special day.
Oceane was still a couple of weeks from her due date when her waters broke whilst they were out for breakfast. I had plenty of notice this time as Oce still had a full day and night of work to do before they would be meeting their baby. I arrived in the evening to find one of the quietest and calmest birth spaces I’ve ever worked in. Oce is a midwife so she understood the importance of minimal light (hence no flash on my camera), quiet voices and gentle music.
Whilst Dominique slept the night away in his bedroom accompanied by Oceane’s mum, the three of us had a blissful few hours together before the midwives arrived. Watching the way these two mothers worked together through labour was like watching a stunning film play before my eyes. They moved together so effortlessly, rocking through the surges. There was occasional excited chatter about the long awaited day having finally arrived, and how they would soon be parents of two!
It was almost dawn when baby Gabrielle came swimming into her mother’s waiting hands. A perfect baby girl! It may have been the squeals of excitement in the room, but Oceane’s mum awoke and came rushing out to kiss her daughter with pride, and Sarah carried Dominique out to meet his baby sister. The porridge was soon bubbling away on the stove while the midwives finished their paperwork, and the sun rose on a new day and a new life.
When starting out in the journey that is birth, all that can really be hoped for is a healthy baby and a healthy mother, but sometimes you also get the perfect birth experience. The smile on Oceane’s face following birth was one of pure empowerment. It was the smile of a mother basking in the knowledge that her maternal strength had carried her through and given her little daughter the gentle birth they had dreamed of.
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.
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!
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.
The day before beautiful baby River arrived was Easter Monday. I spoke to Claire and asked her how she would feel about me traveling to the Hunter Valley to spend an impromptu night away with my 5 sisters, since she was not quite due yet. Claire is one of the loveliest people you could ever meet and of course she said “Go Kate! Have fun. If I need you, I’ll call.” I assured her that I would only be an hour away, I would have all my camera gear with me and would be ready to drop everything the second she called. As I had dinner with my sisters and sat around until well after midnight chatting, I had a feeling. I found myself checking my phone every 5 minutes. Sure enough, just as I was closing my eyes for the night, the phone beeped, and I was up and out the door.
I arrived at Claire and Nath’s house to find Claire well into established labour. The beautiful Belmont midwives were being amazing and attentive as always and little Orlando was helping support his mum with gentle pats on the arm and soft words. Claire’s mind was so focused on that baby, she didn’t show a moment of hesitation or doubt and it wasn’t long before baby River was delivered in the birth pool and thrust up into his mother’s waiting arms. The beauty and peace of that moment took my breath away.
The moments after River’s birth, when two brothers met for the first time, when a father embraced his two sons and when a mother put her new babe to her breast as the first rays of sunlight crept in through the windows…blissful, fleeting moments that I will never forget.
Last month I had the incredible pleasure and privilege of being invited into the sacred space of a home birth, to photograph the event. It was such a special environment to be a part of. When I arrived, Anne was in the birth pool labouring beautifully. Every person present was so happy and excited and the midwives showed complete care and competence. The love in this house was evident and the smiles were abundant. I feel so grateful to Anne and Pip for warmly welcoming me in, to be witness to such a gentle and perfect birth. And also to Sammy and Paddy for being the cutest big brother and sister on the planet.
Welcome to the world beautiful Aisling! X