Photographing a home birth is such a unique experience. Rules and expectations are out the window and it's perfectly fine and normal to use a blowup kiddie pool as your birthing tub and to have your dog on the bed. The absence of the regimented sterility of the hospital environment created a really loving and comforting birth experience for both mom and dad.
This birth story is a relatively quick one, mom labored for only about 8 hours, but most of that was fairly mellow, I'm told she even slept. But when active labor hit, it was intense for mom and when it came time to push, poor mom was pushing for a long time. As ready as everyone was for her to arrive, this baby was in no hurry to make her appearance. She was already 8 days past due!
Mom was able to spend time in the birthing tub, but eventually the midwives thought it would be safer to bring her onto the bed. When little baby O was finally born, I got a little teared up because this family was just so glad to have her here. I was also surprised how hard it is to watch another woman suffering the pains of childbirth.
Birth photography is such an beautiful experience no matter what, but the part that really moves me most is capturing a woman when she is both at her strongest and her most vulnerable. She has incredible endurance and power, moving this entire person out of her body, wracked with spasms and uncontrollable pains. Nobody, short of surgical intervention, can hasten the process, and nobody can lend anything more than emotional strength. So this woman, this goddess, is doing one of the most powerful things that a human can do - delivering to us another human. And then, within all this is her absolute vulnerability. No matter how much we strive for control, eventually we must give ourselves over to nature. It is a truly remarkable thing to document and to celebrate. Birth photography makes sure that there's a record of that time, those moments of both strength and subjection.