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
*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.