Hello Liam! A St Boniface Birth Story

Sharing this little guys birth story with you seemed like a perfect way to spend this chilly day today. I met his mama Samantha on a super hot and sunny summer day, and she floated in like a breath of fresh air. We sat and chatted about her birth and what she was hoping for, and just clicked! I was so excited to work with her at her birth, and thrilled when she told me she felt the same.

Through our prenatals, Sam was so open and willing to learn. She and her partner asked tons of questions and it was so heartwarming to see how invested in making this a positive experience they were. They had been lucky enough to secure a Winnipeg midwife, and had a great birth team surrounding them.

The day before her due date, Sam messaged me to let me know some things were slowly happening. The little man had decided to be extremely punctual! She laboured at home throughout the day with the help of friends and family, finding the perfect balance of rest and work. That evening after dinner contractions were picking up and they decided to have the midwife come and assess where things were at and what her next step might be. It was suggested that some rest might be the best thing, and around 10pm they tried to settle in for some sleep before the contractions picked up even more.

As babies tend to do, the little guy laughed at their plans and instead labour picked up significantly! After only a bit of rest, they made the decision that maybe it was time to move to the hospital. I grabbed my things and headed out the door to meet them. We were all so excited as we could tell the birth was getting closer!

At triage around 3am they were greeted by the best news- Sam had laboured so well at home that she was now 5cms already and was being admitted right away— no wait time! Those of you local to Winnipeg know how rare it is to get into a room right away, so this was a major feat! We were super excited for her to get settled into her room and let her amazing nurse know that she was ready for her epidural once the anesthesiologist was ready.

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Listening to his heartbeat never gets old

While waiting, Samantha did an amazing job of breathing and moving through the contractions. She was able to meet the beginning of each one with a refreshing breath and move her hips to keep the energy flowing without tensing up. While she was eager for her epidural, she was such a rockstar at waiting calmly and listening to her body in the meantime. By 530am the anesthesiologist arrived and was able to get her epidural in place and working. Yay!

Within an hour, she was feeling relief from the rushes and was able to lay down and get some sleep since she’d been up all night so far! Our wonderful nurse was able to grab us a peanut ball so that she could lay on her side and put her pelvis into a great position to open up space for baby to move down. Sam did great at moving from side to side to keep things moving for baby in between sleeping and even was strong enough to be able to walk to the bathroom on her own. Rockstar!

At 8am another exam showed up that she was still sitting at 5-6cms. Hmmm. Contractions had definitely picked up and we were a bit surprised not to see more progress! However, we know that dilation isn’t the only progress happening during labour, and the rushes were still coming frequently so everyone felt good about giving just a little nudge in the right direction. The resident at this point decided to break her waters, and we all had a laugh afterwards when the nurse made fun of his “typical doctor” nonchalance of not thinking to put anything extra underneath her afterwards and leaving the nurses to clean up the mess.

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Throughout the whole labour and birth there was such a vibe of happiness and fun through the room. Yes we were here supporting Samantha in her hard work, but she maintained such an amazing positive attitude and excitement that it was contagious, and we spent much of the time trading funny comments with each other and the nurses.

After having her waters broken, Sam decided to try to sleep for a bit more to see what would happen. Sometimes with waters intact, what happens is that there is not a lot of pressure on the cervix, which makes it a bit harder to dilate. The hope was that now, with continued movement from side to side, the baby’s head would encourage that cervix to keep doing its amazing work.

And it did! By shortly after 11:30am, just over two hours after having her water broken, Sam described her contractions as having changed and feeling different. She decided to have another check and it felt a little surreal to be told that she was not only fully dilated, but also baby was at a +2, which means baby is really low already and is an amazing place to be able to start pushing, saving you so much extra work! Like I said, rockstar birther here!

While we waited for Samantha to have a stronger sense of pressure and urge to push, we chatted about what was to come. There was such a contagious feeling of anticipation in the room, and I admit I got a little teary listening to her talk about how amazed she was that he was almost here. The energy in the room was filled with such love and excitement. Shortly after noon her midwife joined us back in the room. And then before we knew it, Sam felt ready to push and help bring this little guy closer to her. She continued being that amazing inspirational birther who smiled through contractions and in between would joke with the nurses about how long it would take her to push. They started with saying under two hours, but after the first couple pushes, her nurse jokingly challenged her that she was sure she could have him here in under an hour. Rather than add pressure, this seemed to keep the mood light and fun. During one contraction where Sam was told not to push she joked that she didn’t want this to count against her total time since she wasn’t pushing and that wasn’t fair.

She needn’t have worried though! At 1:07pm, just 42 minutes after she started pushing, she seemingly effortlessly birthed her baby boy into her midwives hands and the whole room teared up. He went directly into his mamas arms and snuggled up like he’d been there forever. Smack dab in the middle of his due date, and he was here in his mamas arms, being lovingly cared for and loved by her and daddy.

They spent the next couple hours getting to know their gorgeous baby boy, starting breastfeeding, and inspecting all of his tiny details. It was decided that he had daddy’s feet, which caused laughs, but otherwise he is the perfect combination of them both. The room was practically buzzing with excitement and overwhelming love that was so contagious. Welcome to the world Liam!

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winnipeg birth photographer

 

To find out about having doula support or having your birth documented, reach out today. Send me an email or click through for contact options here.

 

Winnipeg Fresh 48 Photography | Newborn Photos

We've all seen the Winnipeg Fresh 48 newborn photos of our generation- a scowling newborn, fists up or swaddled tight, on a pink, white or blue background. And as generic and nondescript as they are- we still love them. Why? Because these first hours matter! These are photos of our babies, before they began to change. Before their fresh birth looks changed to newborn looks, then to infant, and all to quickly toddler looks.

As time goes on, we're getting better at documenting infants. We snap on our phones or head down to a studio at a couple weeks old to create gorgeous Anne Geddes-esque recreations. But how many truly good fresh squishy newborn photos from those early days do you see? Not enough! We always start with the best of intentions, but the reality is that after you've gone through birth, many parents are too tired to remember to pull out their camera or even their phones for more than a quick shot to post to Facebook. Months later you scroll their your phones going "but I swear we took more! How is there not a single photo of me holding her?" Raise your hand if you've been there!

In-hospital pictures in some form aren't new. Check out the "Fresh 48" style photos of my own birth (33 years ago today! Let's all dip our toes in the nostalgia pool for a second.) The 80's touch is great. We knew even back then that these memories matter. And now we have so many more options for capturing these shots in ways that we'll *want* to remember as the years go by.

New parents often say they don't want photos taken of themselves in those early hours and days postpartum. You're finding your groove, exhausted, and the last thing you want is someone posting your postpartum bedhead to Facebook without your knowledge. You want the photos of yourself to bring positive memories, not stress.

This is why I have absolutely fallen in love with Fresh 48 photography. Winnipeg Fresh 48 gives you the chance to document these moments without having to be the one behind the camera. It means a professional photographer who has specialized experience with the birth and postpartum period, who knows just which angles to use to flatter everyone and provide you with memories that will last a lifetime. Winnipeg Fresh 48s mean actually being in those newborn moments with your baby-- and not just in the form of a blurry selfie!

A Fresh 48 session takes place the day or or the day after birth typically-- it gives you a chance to get freshened up, brush your hair and put on makeup if you'd like to (or not!) and change into something new. Then your photographer comes to you in hospital or home and gets a chance to freeze those emotional, raw and love filled first moments.

An average session takes just 45 minutes, and they are one of my favourite things to document. Squishy newborn details; fingernails, tiny baby lips, curled up legs and brand new feet. Mom and baby's cuddles and feeding, dads loving looks and careful holds. New siblings reactions to "their" new baby. These pictures tell a story of a moment in time that you won't ever get back. You don't get much more special than that!

Unlike the bland, unflattering hospital photos from our past, your Winnipeg Fresh 48 photos are warm, expressive and detailed. Take a look!

Ready for those heart filled wonderful captures from your baby's early days? Shoot me a message today and let's talk!

Hello Henry | Winnipeg Cesarean Birth Story

I met Lea and Mark last year just as fall was settling in. Their easygoing natures and warm personalities were such a breath of fresh air. As we got to know each other, I fell in love with their trust in the process of birth and in the story their little one was cooking up for them. If I could come up with one phrase to describe their vibe to the upcoming birth it would be settled. It was just a lack of fear or stress. They knew what their preferences were for the birth, and they prepared for it thoughtfully with both prenatal classes and a doula. But they also had a fantastic relationship with their care providers and between being well informed and holding a trust in those providers, they were prepared and open to whatever path they needed to head down.

In January Lea and Mark found out that their little one was breech. They talked about their options with their doctor, and agreed that they would follow baby’s lead. If baby decided to stay bum down, the safest delivery for both Lea and the little one, would be a planned cesarean. A few weeks later when baby was still breech, they proceeded to plan their cesarean birth. Of course this wasn’t Lea's first choice, but I loved her understanding and security with the path they were heading down. It wasn’t the experience she would have picked for their birth, but she was confident they would make the best of it, and knew that it was the right decision. In so many births where the parents feel satisfied, I hear that common thread— regardless of the type of birth, or what happened during it— what makes the most difference is that the parents had a voice and were able to make their own informed decisions. Lea and Mark did, and I am so proud of them for being able to look so calmly through their options and choose the right one for them.

Right away, Lea began speaking with her doctor about her preferences for the birth and the possibility of having me attend, and thankfully her amazing provider was on board. We talked about what else to expect for their birth, and made plans for their special day, February 16th.

As is the case so much of the time, their little one had other plans! Despite being the one day Lea said she didn’t want to have a baby, she started having contractions on February 14th. We laughed a bit about the irony, and they made plans to go to the hospital and be checked out. After a couple hours it was confirmed that she was in labour (gee thanks, she could have told you that!) and they would be meeting their baby tonight!

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I headed over to meet them, and could feel the excitement in the room when I joined them in triage. Mark updated me while they started getting Lea set up with her IV, and we were able to confirm that both Mark and I would be welcomed into the OR for the birth. I was so happy to be able to continue supporting and documenting their journey! Often doulas and birth photographers are not allowed into the operating room for cesarean births due to a one support person limit at both Women’s Hospital and St Boniface Hospital. Thankfully this tide seems to be very slowly turning, as care providers and nurses are seeing the benefits and focusing on how they can improve the experience for these families as they welcome their babies. And we are SO thankful!

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Scrubs on and ready to go, we counted down the time until they came and got us for the birth, excitement building as each minute passed. Finally we went down the hall and waited in recovery. When they came to get Lea she made it to the door before running back in to give Mark a hug— their last as a family of two! I’m pretty sure I grinned like a fool.

Once in their birthing room, it’s like time speeds by. Mark comforts Lea, whispering in her ear and keeping a reassuring hand on her. As they await the birth, Backstreet Boys start playing on the radio. Lea laughs and they tell me that in a previous surgery she had, one of her requests to make the experience better was to have Backstreet Boys playing in the background. What serendipity that it randomly came on now, just as they were meeting their baby!

Before long, we’re able to peek over the curtain and Mark announces that they have the most beautiful baby boy! He looks big and strong, has the most annoyed look on his face (what a shock to the system birth must be!) and is absolutely perfect. He lets out his first cry, and I’m pretty sure all of us tear up.

The emotional moment as we hear baby cry for the first time <3

They take him over to the warmer to get his first checkup, and Mark gives Lea a continuous update on how he’s doing and what’s happening. It’s been months and I can still hear his voice in my ear as clear as day, proclaiming over and over how perfect their son is, voice dripping with emotion and love. Finally they have him wrapped up and bring him over to show Lea her son for the first time. It can be hard to see when you’re still lying down but Lea immediately starts to talk to him and is able to reach her hand out and touch him. I feel so blessed to be able to witness these amazing moments.

   

Mark sits down to cuddle with baby while they wait for Lea to be ready to go back to recovery. She can’t see their little guy, so he makes sure to continue giving her all the details. I love how much he makes sure at every moment to keep her involved. It can be so isolating to lay on the table covered by the drape while so much is going on around you, but Mark continues to reassure Lea and recount for her everything that she can’t turn to see.

Finally it’s time to go back to recovery, and like some kind of miracle mama, Lea is able to sit up right away and wastes no time getting to know each detail of her son. She talks to him and rocks him like a pro when he fusses, like she’s been doing this for years already. They latch him on for his first breastfeed and start to learn together. I watch quietly, lending a hand when needed, but mostly just being witness as the three of them transition so well into their new role as a family of three. It seems like such a natural move for Mark and Lea, and I think how lucky baby boy is to have their soothing personalities in his life.

Time flies by as they take in each detail and soak up the newness of this amazing new personality. He's content to just sit and hold mom or papas finger, knowing he's safe and loved here.

   

I am so honoured to have gotten to know Lea and Mark and to support them as they become parents. I can't think of two more deserving people, and I know Henry will be a very loved little boy. Welcome to the world little Henry!