My client Tasmin got in touch with me about Birth Photography last August (2019) when she was around 4 months pregnant. We chatted a little over messenger & then we met for coffee in October with her partner Matthew. These initial meetings are all about asking questions, having a chat and getting to know each other & see if we're a good fit. We talk about prior pregnancies and births, your health, baby's health, where you plan to give birth & how and the specifics of what you'd like/not like documented. I always like to see my clients at least twice before delivery so I went back and saw Tas & her family again in December at her house as she was planning a home delivery & a reccy is always a very good idea before the big event! I met Tasmin's other two children & we went over her birth plan again & the steps needed to be taken to contact me eg waters breaking, contractions starting, double checking phone numbers etc
Fast forward to a sunny Sunday in January, the day before Tas' due date & I woke up with a premonition & messaged her at 8:55am to ask how she was. Tas replied at 10:52am saying she had a dull ache but no contractions but to be ready for a phone call (I think I'm psychic!!). Having not heard anymore by lunchtime, (Tas went off into town to do shopping) I tootled off to my mother in laws 70th Birthday party with all my camera equipment & in a separate car to the rest of my family - standard procedure when I'm on call!
At 7:52pm I messaged Tasmin again just for an update. "Still nothing major, a few odd contractions but they stop when I sit down" so I advised her to grab something to eat and rest up. At 10:57pm contractions were 50 seconds long & getting more painful, so I decided to make my journey to Eastleigh which at that time of night was a clear run from Christchurch!
I pulled into Tasmin's road at 11:50pm at the same time as another lady. I grabbed my bags just as she asked if I was the midwife. "Noooo, I'm the Birth Photographer". She replied with "I'm Tas's Mum" as we stood and waited for the buzzer to be answered. After a few minutes of ringing the buzzer and there being no response we went around the back of the apartment block where occasionally the fire door is left open. To our luck that night it was and we dashed up the stairs & into the flat. As soon as we opened that front door we heard Tas scream "Mum, the baby's coming, I'm in the bathroom".
We found Tas on the bathroom floor. "Mum the baby's coming right now". For about 5 seconds I ummed and ahhed between grabbing my camera or helping deliver the baby. As Tas screamed to "just catch it", I grabbed my camera and did exactly what Tasmin had paid me to do and document her baby's birth. Behind me, Tasmin's two little children appeared hearing all the noise. I reassured them and told them Mummy was just fine and that baby was almost here. 90 seconds later there she was!
Matthew got on the phone to 999 operators as the midwives hadn't yet arrived and for the next ten minutes we got talked through the motions of checking baby over and making sure Tasmin was ok.
I left Tasmin and baby to be checked over in the bathroom by the two midwives on their arrival - space was extremely tight and there was a cup of tea waiting in the lounge for me with my name on it!
Once moved into the lounge, Tasmin's daughter requested to cut baby's umbilical cord which was so beautiful to see.
You'll have noticed form the photo's that Tasmin and Matt had the birth pool ready in the lounge and it remained untouched due to the speediness of it all! Although Matt did joke he may fill it up and have a beer in it later! As baby was checked again, life continued around them all. Netflix was on the tv for the children, tea and coffee being glugged and a beautiful, calm air settled around us all.
Precipitous labour (fast labours) can be just as hard emotionally, physically and mentally as a long labour. I know for Tas she was disappointed that she didn't get her water birth and felt cheated that her third (and maybe last) birth didn't go as she had hoped - that something had been taken from her. I know that her having her birth photos really helped her to see how remarkable her birth was and to view it through a different set of eyes, birth photography can be a really helpful tool for healing emotionally afterwards - and what a story ... her Mum delivering her own granddaughter!!
Welcome to the world Effie-Rose !