A Redemptive HBAC in Nashville by Kailee Riches

Kailee is an incredibly talented birth photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee. When she submitted this birth story to us, we were drawn to both the big and the small moments she captured. Birth photography is much more than those "wow moments." It's the telling of stories through deeply layered shots and through the smallest details that many of us would miss. And while many birth photographers are embracing the use of bounced flash, Kailee demonstrates that you can still tell a beautiful story without using one. These images are evocative, powerful, and healing. 

If you want to learn more about birth photography, we at Birth Becomes Her, suggest you explore our Birth Photography Toolkit. We love helping new photographers learn and grow!

Birth Photographer: Kailee Riches

Website: www.kaileeriches.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NashvilleBirthPhotographer

Instagram: instagram.com/kaileerichesphotography

*HBAC Home (vaginal) Birth After Cesarean

The peaceful HBAC of Magnolia Jaymes, words by Momma

Magnolia Jaymes was born July 21, 2016 at 4:45am in the warmth and comfort of our own bedroom. What a dream it was!! She was, and is, absolutely perfect. Her birth was everything I wanted and more! It was powerful, sweet, encouraging, and redemptive. 

You see, her big brother's birth was a little traumatic and was nothing like we had hoped for. With big brother Amos, we had planned and dreamed for a home birth, and in the end we were coerced into the hospital. Fear was placed in my mind and I caved, thinking I couldn’t do it. It was dangerous, my body wasn’t capable, etc… None of these were truths. We had a horrible experience and not only ended up in the hospital but with a cesarean section. Don’t get me wrong, all births are beautiful in their own right and should be celebrated when the outcome is a healthy baby!! But a c-section is far from what we wanted and knew was possible. 

Fast forward to our second pregnancy. I was ready to tackle it. I started mentally preparing for it after the birth of Amos. Daily positive affirmations, constant research and readings on v-bac’s, exercise, chiropractic care, and prayer. I even had one of my very talented friends make me some birth affirmation cards to hang around my bedroom. They were beautiful. I knew what I wanted and I knew what my body was capable of. So we planned our home birth, picked our midwife, and let my body do its thing.

On Tuesday, July 19th I started having contractions about 15 minutes apart. I thought it was warm up labor or Braxton Hicks, nothing serious. They stayed consistent throughout the day but not unbearable at all. Just to be safe, I had my mom come pick up Amos, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle an ACTIVE 2 year old if I was in labor. Good call… ;) By Wednesday morning the contractions were about 10-12 mins apart and they hurt! But again, not unbearable so it must not be labor, right?? I tried to rest, went and got my adjustment, and rested some more. About 3pm they were about 8-10 minutes apart. I decided if this was going to turn into true labor (if… ha!) I needed to walk it out, so I headed to our local massive antique store where I could push a buggy (more like bear down on during a contraction) and not be around a ton of people. In the midst of one of the contractions, a worker came up to me and asked if I was okay… Umm nope, I might be having a baby, but yes ma’am I’m fine.

I called my midwife around 7. I told her no rush; it might not even be active labor. She got to our house around 10:45pm Wednesday night and came in to check on me. I was 4cm… So yep, I was in labor! But the nature of my contractions told her it was going to be a long night and that we MAY have a baby by lunchtime or early afternoon. Yikes! I was told to try to get some sleep in between contractions and to wake her if needed. Not happening… I tried, but holy moly the contractions just kept on coming. Surely this is moving along, I can’t do this for another 12 hours I thought. About 1:30am I woke up my husband and basically yelled for him to get up, get the birth pool set up and to get the midwife. I was NOT messing around, haha. Midwife came to check and sure enough, 9cm… GO TIME!!

Dale called our doula (his sister) and our photographer and we prepared the room and the tub for the entrance of our perfect baby into the world. Labor is intense, painful, both long and short, but incredible despite. The contractions were intense and there were a few times that I thought I couldn’t keep going. In those times I remembered one of the birth affirmations… “The moment you’re ready to quit, is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. Don’t Give UP!”

I pushed for about 30 minutes in the birth pool and just couldn’t get in the right position. They encouraged my to try the bed. I was pushing and she was right there and I could feel it… My midwife looked at me and said “Are you scared its gonna hurt?” I nodded yes to which she responded, “You’re right, it is going to hurt. But only for a minute and then you are going to have a beautiful baby. So when you are ready, lets do this”. I was ready to meet this baby that I had so longed for, so I laid there, closed my eyes and had a little ‘come to Jesus’ moment. I thought to myself, “you can do this, your body is capable and she is ready. On this next push, you are going to meet this beautiful baby!”

So on that next push, I gave it everything I had, mustering up all my strength. She was coming!!! I felt her head with my hands and continued to push! Finally her head was out and with a couple small almost effortless pushes the rest of her followed. Immediately she was placed on my chest. She was perfect and I was in awe! I couldn’t have wiped the smile off my face if I tried. Dale was almost in tears and I couldn’t stop saying ‘we did it!’ to which he responded, “No babe, you did it!”

He was right, I did. And it was the most amazing thing I have ever done! And what a wonderful, precious gift we were given. I am beyond thankful for our beautiful Magnolia Jaymes and for the gift of being able to have such an amazing birth experience. I mean you guys, I had a home birth after cesarean (HBAC)… And it was awesome! Welcome to the world Magnolia Jaymes Brown!!!! You are going to do amazing things.

Celebrating Doulas - 20 Incredible Images

What is a doula? There isn't an easy definition because what a doula does varies just as much as the birthing people she or he works with. Doulas are there to hold our hands, to reassure us with their words. They can suggest new positions or alleviate pain through counter-pressure and hip squeezes. Doulas laugh with us, cry with us. Doulas encourage us to find our own voice and to use it. Here at Birth Becomes Her, we're thrilled to celebrate doulas. World Doula Week begins with World Doula Day on March 22nd and goes through March 28th annually. These images are just a few glimpses into the work doulas do for their clients. As birth photographers, we get to see you work long hours and we get to witness your passion and your professionalism. You inspire us, and we're honored to know you and capture you at your job. In honor of World Doula Week, we're giving all doulas and birth professionals a $25 coupon to use on our Birth Photography Toolkit. Our Birth Photography Toolkit is a comprehensive guide compiled by birth photographers Monet Nicole and Jennifer Mason based on their experiences at over 150 births. The ultimate toolkit for new birth photographers. You can use coupon code DOULALOVE until March 28th. 

This sweet doula was also in her 3rd trimester as she supported her friend during labor.  Photo by Jennifer Mason Photography

This sweet doula was also in her 3rd trimester as she supported her friend during labor.  Photo by Jennifer Mason Photography

Moment captured by Natalie Bee Photography. 

Moment captured by Natalie Bee Photography. 

Breastfeeding support, moment captured by Elliana Gilbert

Breastfeeding support, moment captured by Elliana Gilbert

Beautiful doula support captured by Jen Conway, Birth Photography and Doula Services

Beautiful doula support captured by Jen Conway, Birth Photography and Doula Services

Gorgeous image by Krista Evans Photography

Gorgeous image by Krista Evans Photography

Three doulas support mom during this labor.  Photo by KEDocumentary

Three doulas support mom during this labor.  Photo by KEDocumentary

Amy supports her client as she labors in the water. Image by Monet Nicole - Birthing Stories. 

Amy supports her client as she labors in the water. Image by Monet Nicole - Birthing Stories

I love seeing this doula support mom by doing her hair.  Photo by A Wondered Life Photography

I love seeing this doula support mom by doing her hair.  Photo by A Wondered Life Photography

Surrounded by Support. Image by Lulu Be Photography. 

Surrounded by Support. Image by Lulu Be Photography

I love the teamwork here: doula, midwife, and husband - all serving the laboring mom. Woman-centered birth! www.is-photography.net

I love the teamwork here: doula, midwife, and husband - all serving the laboring mom. Woman-centered birth!
www.is-photography.net

 Mama (who is also a doula) laboring in the bathroom with her doula Joy. Image by Rachel Utain-Evans. 

 Mama (who is also a doula) laboring in the bathroom with her doula Joy. Image by Rachel Utain-Evans

Hip squeezes and doulas can be game-changers! Image by Caitlin Angel Photography. 

Hip squeezes and doulas can be game-changers! Image by Caitlin Angel Photography

She stood by moms side for hours, as mom labored and waited for twin #2 to come out. Eventually she took moms hand and offered words of reassurance when it turned into a c-section. Image by Life Unscripted Photography.

She stood by moms side for hours, as mom labored and waited for twin #2 to come out. Eventually she took moms hand and offered words of reassurance when it turned into a c-section. Image by Life Unscripted Photography.

A gentle touch and an encouraging word. Image by Beloved Bits. 

A gentle touch and an encouraging word. Image by Beloved Bits

Her tear and her doula's gentle touch says everything. Image by Bonnie Hussey. 

Her tear and her doula's gentle touch says everything. Image by Bonnie Hussey. 

Holding back her hair, holding space. Image by Esther Edith. 

Holding back her hair, holding space. Image by Esther Edith

From the doula (Jess Edwards, https://honeybirddoula.com/) herself: "In true doula fashion; entertaining a wild sibling awake past her bedtime from the excitement of labor. As soon as we heard calm pushing from the next room we dropped our rooster act and went to witness her little brother's gentle arrival. And the wild child made not a peep (nor a cockadoodledoo) during the magical moment. Such an intuitive little gem!" Image by An Infinite Moment Photography. 

From the doula (Jess Edwards, https://honeybirddoula.com/) herself:
"In true doula fashion; entertaining a wild sibling awake past her bedtime from the excitement of labor. As soon as we heard calm pushing from the next room we dropped our rooster act and went to witness her little brother's gentle arrival. And the wild child made not a peep (nor a cockadoodledoo) during the magical moment. Such an intuitive little gem!" Image by An Infinite Moment Photography

I love this image of Mama bouncing on ball while Doula uses rebozo. Image by Catherine Brown Photography. 

I love this image of Mama bouncing on ball while Doula uses rebozo. Image by Catherine Brown Photography. 

Cut Through the Fog of Using Social Media in Your Birth Photography Business

The world of social media is vast and ever changing.

Just when you think you have a handle on how to use it effectively, the rules are updated and you're back to square one.

Tackling the ins and outs head on, Monet and Jenn have found their place in the online world. Their images are regularly viewed thousands of times and they have figured out how to turn their raving fans into clients that sustain their business and life.

The Social Media Marketing Toolkit takes an in depth look at a successful and manageable approach to using Facebook and Instagram in a birth photography business.

Specialized for Birth Photographers

Birth photography is an emerging field that provides its own unique challenges with social media. Photos are being reported and accounts suspended.  Facebook is changing and Monet and Jenn have learned to change with it - while growing their businesses. 

Post Your Most Effective Images with Confidence

Certain photos will naturally draw your audience in more easily. Once you've learned what to look for you will instantly recognize which images to pull from your galleries and probably even have more awareness as you're shooting any future births.

Create a Community that Resonates with Your Brand to Increase your Engagement

Posting beautiful images isn't enough, learn how to find out when your followers are most active and likely to respond to your content. Monet also outlines her specific approach to writing captions that appeal to both her artistic sense and her wider community.

What you get:

45 gorgeous full color pages of birth photography-specific tips and action steps you can start using right away

A 30 day planning calendar to build up your momentum and set you up for long term success

Real life examples of posts Monet and Jenn have used

5 specific things you can do to turn your fans into potential clients

A detailed walkthrough of creating a Facebook ad to attract new clients in your area

Over 40 of Monet and Jenn's favorite hashtags for Instagram

 

 
The Birth Becomes Her Social Media Marketing Toolkit will help you know how to effectively use Facebook and Instagram to grow your birth photography business.

The Birth Becomes Her Social Media Marketing Toolkit will help you know how to effectively use Facebook and Instagram to grow your birth photography business.

Topics include choosing the right photos, writing actionable captions, and converting your fans into bookings.

Topics include choosing the right photos, writing actionable captions, and converting your fans into bookings.

 
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Social Media Marketing Toolkit for Professional Birth Photographers

Social Media Marketing Toolkit for Professional Birth Photographers