A celebration; that moment when life begins.
From the time a woman knows that she is pregnant, everything changes. The way she looks at the world, the way she works – nothing is left to chance anymore. Decisions are thought through more carefully, and much consideration is given to the all-important birth plan. While it is a given that a mom may not always get the birth plan she hopes for, Bianca and Brian are proof that sometimes, if you plan properly, you can get exactly what you wanted.
Bianca and I bonded at a networking meeting – Hello Boss Creative. It was here that she first mentioned the idea of having her birth photographed. I have to admit I felt quite honoured to even be up for consideration. It is usually a private moment and would be my first birth shoot that I would photograph. Actually, I’m not sure that the word ‘honoured’ describes it accurately enough.
Meeting with the birth team the week before the birth really helped. I had a chance to find out exactly what was happening, and also find out what my parameters were. This is important, because at the end of the day, although your job is primarily documentary, it really helped to chat to the team and discuss lighting conditions etc. With any shoot, preparation is key, so this was not a meeting that I would have missed for anything.
Bianca completely took ownership of her labour. When I arrived, she was already in the birthing pool, rocking around as each contraction hit. She made it look so easy. She would just stop talking for a bit and then carry on as normal once each contraction had passed. An absolute pro.
While her hubby, Brian, filled the bath with water in the beginning, the doula did some massage. When things got intense, Brian stepped in, holding Bianca throughout all of the tough contractions, never leaving her side once. I have some beautiful pictures of his hands on Bianca’s lower back, and one of my favourites is a picture where you can see Bianca’s face with just part of Brian’s face. Right there, kissing her head, and just being the best support that he could be.
I was impressed with how well Bianca managed her pain and overall labour. There was no Hollywood-style screaming. If there was ever a birth that needed to be filmed with the sole purpose of eliminating fear in first-time moms, this was have been the birth to film.
I couldn’t believe how privileged I was to witness such a special moment. The contractions increased in intensity, the humming got louder… and then Ayla appeared. It was one of the most beautiful events to behold.
For me, it was lovely to see the emotion on Bianca’s face, and be there when they found out that it was a little girl.
This was the first birth that I was fortunate enough to photograph. I had no idea how long it would take or how everything would pan out. I was scared that I would get in the midwife’s way. As it turns out, Bianca popped out a baby in less time than it takes the average family to get ready for school in the morning! I arrived at her place at about 10pm….and if I remember correctly, little Ayla made her appearance at about 11:10 pm. Her total labour time was about 5 hours. Bianca’s birth team were so professional, and allowed me freedom of movement….I think that we all worked quite well together.
I chose my words carefully when I used the words ‘eliminate fear’ earlier. Too many women are seen as targets once they are pregnant, and find themselves listening to every terrifying birth story out there. Add to that the way labour is represented in your average movie or sitcom, and you realise that there are very few positive birth experience stories that can prepare women for their own birth. Ante-natal classes help, but not everyone chooses to pursue this avenue.
Ayla entered this world in the calmest and most peaceful environment. Mom got to relax surrounded by her whole family that night. Bianca had the birth that she wanted and had prepared for, and that is the most important outcome. While a home birth may not be for everyone, if you are considering it, this is the story to pay attention to.
This is not the story of just one birth though. It is a triumph after many losses. Ayla is unquestionably one of the most wanted babies in the world… but I am going to place a link to her blog page and let Bianca share those stories.
A day or so later, I had a friend request on FB… The message said ‘I figured you’ve seen me naked, so we should probably be facebook friends lol’.
Love this lady’s sense of humour! I’ll include a link to her blog here: