A Light Filled Pensacola Homebirth
Photographer: Natalie Weber
Home birth hasn't been available in Pensacola for a few years. The last home birth midwife we had retired right about the time I was beginning to carve out place for myself in the birth photography niche. Earlier this year, a team of midwives opened a new practice and began offering home births again. So the birth of baby Alice was the first home birth and first water birth I had ever attended. It was incredible! I am so excited that this is finally an option in my area again. Here's the story from my perspective:
Baby Alice's due date was a day like any other. I got up early that Sunday morning to squeeze in a little work before church. I didn't think much of it being a client's due date...because honestly, it's pretty uncommon for babies to be born on their due date. Then, a little after 5AM, I heard a crash of thunder. I checked the weather and, sure enough, thunderstorms...Not that I was surprised. My weather app hasn't seen the sun icon more than a few days all summer.
But, as anyone that spends time in Labor & Delivery can attest, thunderstorms (and full moons) bring on the babies. Maybe today would be the day after all.
Around 8am I stopped working to start getting ready for church, when my phone went off. A text from Marin! She was in labor! Later John mentioned that her water had broken at 5:25AM...right about the time I was sitting in my office, listening to the sky rumble and betting I would be attending a birth soon.
Marin is also a photographer, so she's familiar with the impact that light has on an image. It's essential in any form, but the most coveted form of light for a photographer is natural light. Natural light yields the most beautiful skin tones and range of shadows, and Marin and I had been crossing our fingers for months that baby Alice would decide to come while the sun was still in the sky. Now, this doesn't tend to matter much in a hospital. Doctors like to be able see everything and light up the room like Christmas, effectively drowning out any window light that happens to be available. However, baby Alice was set to be delivered at home. In a kitchen with enormous windows. And with labor starting at 5:25AM I was pretty hopeful that she'd make it before the sun went down.
Despite the midwives' initial estimation of a delivery after dark, Marin just powered thru labor. I arrived, as requested, a little before 3PM and Alice made her way into the still beautifully lit world a little under 2 hours later!
Her timing couldn't have been more perfect. We even still had time to capture snuggles (and pizza) in the bed with the last little bit of window light for the day. And everyone made it home in time for the Game of Thrones season premier. I like to think that Alice must have know that her mommy is Sansa Stark's doppelgänger and didn't want to miss the show.
I think my favorite part was when the pizza delivery guys showed up, just as Marin was getting ready to push, with pizza boxes that said "JOIN THE FAMILY". Those perfectly unplanned (and slightly comical) moments add so much depth to a story. OH! And Marin's adorable mama, Coral. I can't even type her name without tearing up over her obvious excitement and awe over watching her daughter become a mother and meeting her first grandchild.
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