Monthly Archives: June 2016

I got “the call” at 2 am, as it often happens. I was actually awake because the weather was crazy that night and my dog had woken me up to go outside. Stacey wasn’t sure if she was really in labor, but wanted to alert me because she knew that I had a mountain bike race planned for the morning (which ended up getting cancelled because we got almost 3 inches of rain). We agreed she would just keep me posted if things started to pick up. About 10 minutes later she called me back and said her contractions were 2-4 minutes apart, and though she wasn’t uncomfortable, they decided to make their way to the hospital because they lived about an hour away.

I met Stacey and Eric at the hospital around 4:30 am, and it didn’t take long for her labor to pick up speed. She had planned to use hypnobirthing techniques during her labor, and didn’t need a lot of support during active labor. The room was peaceful and quiet, filled with the scent of diffusing lavender, a book of messages to reflect on during labor, and a string of birth flags that had been passed around a circle of women and had made appearances at several births.


After a lap around the hallway, Stacey decided she wanted to get in the tub, and labor continued to quickly intensify. Her two other children had been born in the water, and though she could labor in the tub, she knew this baby would be born on land. Birth is such an intense time emotionally and physically, and having done it a certain way two other times, knowing this birth would be different was weighing heavy on her heart with the unknown at times. She stayed strong and graceful with Eric right by her side, and her birth team reminded her that different is different, but it doesn’t have to be bad. Stacey labored in the tub until she started pushing, and then made it out with about 10 minutes before her baby was born. She tried a couple of different positions while pushing and then decided on being on her hands and knees in the bed. Right as the shoulders came out someone said “look down at your baby”, and she did, and then he was out and went right to her arms. I stayed in the room for a little while, and then ducked out to let them bond before coming back and taking a few more photos.


This birth reminded me that we are often creatures of habit, especially when we are in situations where we are vulnerable, like birth. Yet so often I get the honor of witnessing women rise above the fear and emerge from it victorious, and the birth of Theodore was no exception.




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As a birth photographer, I love seeing that the art of birth photography is really taking off in bigger cities across the U.S., but here in Iowa we’re often slower to follow suit, and the demand for professional birth photography has been no different. Because it has yet to become a mainstream concept in the Iowa birth culture, people often reply with “why would anyone want that documented” after asking what it is I do. And let me tell you, building a birth photography business in a geographic area where people don’t always understand the “why” of birth photography, is not the easiest thing to do. So hang with me here for a bit, and listen as I try to convey the “why.”


For many people, when they are planning a wedding, one of the most important aspects of that planning is choosing an awesome wedding photographer. After all, your wedding day is usually filled with emotion, and adrenaline, and details, and nuance, and by the time your big day is over and you have a chance to catch your breath, you think “what a whirlwind.” But it’s okay, because you hired that awesome wedding photographer to recount the story for you, to give you a tangible memory to carry forever. If you stop and think about it for just a moment, the birth of your baby is no different; it’s a formative day in your life that will forever change you, one that you don’t get to recreate- which brings me to my top reason of why you should hire a professional birth photographer: because memories fade. Birth is so intense, and often laboring women are so inwardly focused, that they emerge on the other side of birth with hazy recollections and missing chunks of time. So we try to piece together the day as best we can. And those supporting laboring women are often focused on doing just that, and don’t think about paying attention to the little details and interactions that are taking place. Having a birth photographer present frees up support people. They get to put down the camera and join in the story that they are so much a part of.  A birth photographer will be able to document and connect you to the complete visual story as it unfolds; their job is to anticipate and see the emotion, and adrenaline, and details, and nuance. You get to look back and remember the expressions on your partner’s face as they hold their baby for the first time, to remember the moment your now oldest begins to navigate siblinghood, to recall all of the essence contained in that tiny baby that will change so fast, and all of the in-between.

IMG_0554IMG_7776Birth is part of our culture. Storytelling is part of our culture. Birth stories matter. I feel like we are living in a time where birth culture is changing, and I believe that visually documenting and sharing birth stories can help to inspire positive change. Birth photography isn’t just for certain types of births, or certain types of people or families, it is for anyone who chooses it. It’s for hospital birth, and home birth, and Cesarean birth, and adoption journeys, and surrogacy stories, and it’s for people who know that they don’t get to bring home a baby- those that have chosen birth photography knowing they’re documenting an end and not a beginning. Birth photography is for those who aren’t afraid or ashamed to show the strength and resiliency of women and families.

IMG_5647IMG_0069I asked several people their “why” for choosing to have their birth documented, and here is some of what they had to say.

I knew after my first birth that I don’t remember everything during labor, and I wanted my photographer to be able to document that for me. I’m so glad I did because it gave my day a timeline, and my 3 year old said so many hilarious things that she wrote down for me. I was in the zone, so I didn’t notice any of it.” – a mom

“After NOT hiring a birth photographer for our first child, we realized how little of the moment we really remembered. Emotions are running so high and everything is such a whirlwind, so I knew before we even decided to get pregnant again that the next time we had a baby we were having a birth photographer to document it. It was the best decision we’ve ever made. Now I get to look back and be a part of the moments from our second child’s birth and relive it. It’s great.” – a mom

“At first I was not very interested in birth photography and was a bit skeptical, but once she was in labor and things got going, our photographer respected our privacy while capturing everything. It was a great experience and the end result had everyone in the room crying because of how beautiful it was. “ – a dad


The day will come when your children ask you to tell them the story of the day they were born. What will you remember? What will you have to show them? Hire a birth photographer and don’t leave your memories to chance.

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