If you asked me how my home birth was, you would not hear me say, “My home birth was beautiful.”
Instead I very honestly would tell you, “It was extremely long, incredibly painful and very, very messy. I can understand why drugs were invented and why people take them.”
Between endless hours of back-breaking contractions, I kept repeating, “This is ridiculous. How can there be 7 billion people on the planet.”
I couldn’t see why anyone would voluntarily choose to do this more than once in their lifetime, let alone 7 billion times.
People told me eventually I would forget and the hormones would win again, but I refused to believe that I could ever forget what that day felt like. And I announced that I was quite happy with one.
Yet here I am, one year and 5 months later, just like everyone said, wondering… if, maybe, should we?
So I was excited when Rose sent me an email asking if I would photograph the birth of their second baby girl, who would be born at home some time in March. It would be a good test. How would it feel to see someone else go through labor? And what was a home birth like the second time around?
I was also excited because I have never seen a human being born. I have seen cows, sheep, and dogs… but not a human (I had my eyes closed the whole time during HAH’s birth.)
And I got a small taste of what it must feel like for doctors and midwives. For once in my life, I had my cell phone almost always charged and I almost always knew where it was. And at gatherings with friends, I would announce, “I can’t drink tonight, I’m on call.”
But then it didn’t happen. The due date came and went. I started filling up my calendar. I had photo shoots scheduled every day. Arann got sick, so I was working all day and on solo parenting duty at night. Until finally at the end of day two of photographing flowers in SF, I got the texts:
4:12pm “I think we are in early labor, midwife is coming over. Will text again.”
4:57 “Come now!!”
I was in San Francisco.
The family was in Oakland.
For those of you not from the Bay Area, 5pm on a Thursday means… Fat chance.
I only had to drive 10.5 miles.
It took me one hour.
When I finally arrived at the house, Rose’s mother let me in and said, “The baby was just born, come on in.”
And this is what I saw…
While I was disappointed to have missed the birth, it was probably for the best because I got to experience all of the joy and none of the work. Which means I can confidently say that it was the most beautiful home birth, I almost saw.
Thank you, Rose and Jonathan, for inviting me to be a part of this amazing moment in your lives. It was such an incredible honor and I am so excited for your family. And, as Rose said to me after the birth of HAH, “Have fun falling in love.”