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A healthy, natural and un-medicated birth at home, attended by midwives who are old friends, and the world’s best Doula (a.k.a the birthing woman’s husband). This birth was one of the most peaceful, restful, supportive, joyful, and emotional I have yet attended.

Last Year

Let’s start two years ago, when I attended and photographed the birth of this couple’s 6th child – a boy, Michael Victorious. (See that Birth story HERE). Then, one year ago Michael was, unexpectedly and without warning, diagnosed with Leukemia. It was gut wrenching. It was heart breaking. It was HARD.

It was in the midst of this marathon of seclusion from her family, and the uncertainty of the future, that a new little one came to be expected.

How do you open your heart to love again when you are so bombarded with fear and hurt? Somehow, you do. Baby Michael overcame, and there was Victory. Healing and excitement find a way back into the dark places of your life, and just like that a year has passed, and now we wait for another life to enter the world.

Early Labour

When it’s your birthday you eat cake. So do I encourage moms to bake/have a cake for once baby arrives? You bet!

Sensing that labour was beginning, this hard working mother of six (soon seven) called her ever helpful mother-in-law to come and take the other children, leaving her free to labour uninterrupted. Walking their country streets helped labour to progress and become more active. Going out for pizza was also helpful. The Midwives were called.

A good birth is one where the woman’s wishes are respected, where she is given choices, and were she is well supported. This Birth was that.

The labouring mother wanted to go rest – so she did. She wanted privacy and space – and she got it. There was so much calm and peace. There were so many moments of laughter that I couldn’t even share half the goofy, laughing images here.

The transition stage in birth is incredible. A birthing mother is pushed to the very end of herself and beyond. She is forced to empty herself of everything she has. As that birthing mother, it is the closest you will ever come to both heaven and hell at once. As an observer holding space, it is powerful and euphoric and amazing to watch.

We knew that baby was almost here when mom starting yelling “Hurry oh hurry!” (She is not aware of having done this). The midwives came running upstairs.

This is the moment when fear tries to take hold. This is when forgiveness bubbles forth. This is when mom thinks baby will never come, and I say “You’re almost there! She’s almost here!” My voice breaks through the chaos of the moment and imparts strength to the birthing mother. She told me later that it was because she believed me.

And so with great joy and pain, baby Elizabeth Mercy came forth earthside. Her mother, ever the encourager, kept saying over and over “WE did it! WE did it!” And I had to remind her that, No, YOU did it.

And there was much rejoicing and eating of cake.

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