Welcome to the world, Rex!
As a documentary family photographer, I have wanted to photograph a birth for a long time now. I had not yet found the right opportunity to do so but then I got an email from Tara.
Tara found me through a wonderfully serendipitous chain of events. She is a nurse in a Napa hospital and happened to mention to a photographer in her ER one day that she was interested in birth photos. She doesn’t remember his name and I’m not sure who it could have been but she found my website and got in touch. We got on the phone together and discussed logistics and we immediately hit it off. I had never witnessed a birth before but had lots of experience with documenting other important events. Knowing this, she graciously took the risk and trusted me to capture the birth of her third child.
The Birth Story
I knew Tara would be scheduling an induction, so planning to be available could not have been easier. The morning after she was induced I went about my usual routine, checking in periodically.
I had just started fixing lunch around 11 when I get a call from Tara’s phone. It was her husband, Peter, “You should get in the car now. She’s about to get the epidural.” I immediately sprung into action. Threw some yogurt together to eat on the drive, gathered a few last minute essentials and ran out to the car where the rest of my gear was prepped and ready.
On a route that could get dangerously backed up, I was able to drive straight through at 11:30am and get to the hospital in great time. I arrived just as the anesthesiologist was finishing up her epidural.
After that, the vibe was very relaxed. Tara was feeling some nausea so we all just sat quietly and I snapped a few downtime images. Family filtered in and out to say hi, Peter went down to eat lunch and then I stepped out to eat a bit as well. Not 10 minutes later, about 2.5 hours after I had arrived, Peter bursts into the waiting room to inform me and the family that “it’s go time.” We leap to our feet and rush to her side. Tara chose to have her dad and sister in the room and Peter would be catching the baby and also cutting the chord.
Four pushes later, Rex was out in the world and on mom’s tummy. I moved around the room capturing all the little moments happening around me, careful of the medical staff and their tools so I wasn’t in the way. It was a lot of controlled chaos.
Gradually things calmed down, Rex began to nurse, and family came in to meet and hold him for the first time.
When they phoned their two girls who were waiting at home for news they told her, “Mom, you get a sticker because you did a good job!” So cute!
All said and done, I was finished in about 5 hours since I arrived at the hospital and was home in time for dinner.
Now I joke that I’m spoiled for all other births since I hear this is by far not the norm. I’ll take it though. I couldn’t have asked for better clients for a first time experience of birth than this family. These images will always be special to me and a priceless memory for them as well.