Vancouver Birth Photographer | Home Birth at Dawn

 
 new mom holding brand new baby at birth

Vancouver Birth Photographer | Home Birth at Dawn

A month ago, on behalf of the Documentary Family Awards, I had the honour of judging some pretty phenomenal work by birth photographers all over the world.  There were lots of photographs of labor, of actual birthing, and first moments of celebration with new babies. As generalized as this sounds, each of the hundreds of photographs still represented a different experience, unique and true for only ONE woman. Her story is hers only, and generalize as we might, birth stories are so much more than these the segments of labor, birth, and first moments put together.

Any woman who has been through this will tell you - birth can be such an intimately inward process that sharing this experience with awareness does not always happen. As a documentary birth photographer, my job is to find a way to merge her own unique experience with the experiences of those present with her in order to properly represent her birth story. These photographs should also represent the celebration of her body in its various forms and in the case of Monika's home birth, the transformation of a regular bedroom into a birth space that supported her journey.

When I first talked to Monika from Moonrise Doulas last Fall, she had warned me about fast birth experiences for women in her family. Her first baby, Stella, had been fairly quick, so she suspects that this one will be even faster.

What's fast really? Half a day? A handful of hours? Try 2.5 hours from start to finish.

I got an early morning call that Monika's amniotic fluids have leaked and mild contractions have started.

"Clear your calendars", she said. "Come for 7am", she said.

I was at her house a little earlier and I am glad I was because within the hour, a beautiful baby girl named Scarlett was born at dawn to this newly defined family of four, 9 days shy of her estimated due date. While I was there, I saw the transformation of her bedroom into a powerful and serene space of support held by her midwives (Cora and Natalie of Strathcona Midwifery Collective), her sisters, and her husband and daughter. Monika acuity to her body's sensations was unparalleled. From the moment her baby's head rocked into place, her hand was there to receive this beautiful baby girl as she emerged into the world. By the lamp of a salt rock, I witnessed a truly incredible power to birth.

Before her birth, Monika and I had talked about the sharing of birth photos and our stances are much aligned - the more sharing, the more we can normalize birth experiences and encourage women to leave their fears behind. These photos (and slideshow) are part of Monika's empowering messages to expectant women out there - believe that your body can do this and you will. Monika, I cannot thank you enough for being so generous with your experience and I have no doubt that these photos will inspire and empower!

mom in labor with midwife help
mom in labor with midwife help
mom laboring on birth ball
mom laboring on birth ball
 
mom feeling baby's head emerge during a contraction
 
mom bringing her baby to chest
mom bringing her baby to chest
 
midwife presenting baby to mother
midwife presenting baby to mother
mother carrying her baby who is connected to her placenta
mother carrying her baby who is connected to her placenta
newborn baby girl wrapped in towel
newborn baby girl wrapped in towel
family of four cuddling in bed after homebirth
family of four cuddling in bed after homebirth
baby girl and crystals on bracelet
baby girl and crystals on bracelet
dad talking to mother in law on phone to share news of baby girl
dad talking to mother in law on phone to share news of baby girl

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From birth and first moments to newborn and day in the life, Felicia is a Vancouver Documentary Photographer who tells the unique stories of everyday people. Contact her to have your edition of adding a new baby to your family documented! To follow more of Felicia's work, connect over at @feliciachangphoto on Instagram.