While I’ve been given permission to share this birth story, the parents have requested that I refer to them by their initials. Sharing their baby’s name is allowed.
As a birth photographer and a doula, I sometimes get hired for each role separately. As a birth worker, it is sometimes challenging to shutdown one part of myself while assuming that singular role—when acting as a photographer, I want to use lulls to love on the birthing parent (and sometimes I do); when acting as a doula, although I leave my camera at home, I visualize shots that I would be taking if I were in my photographer role. Needless to say, it’s pretty perfect for me when I get hired as both a doula and a birth photographer, also known as a “doulatog.”
First time parents B and H brought me on as their doulatog and it was a powerful experience. Joining them in their countryside home (which left me with deep land envy) for prenatal appointments was always enjoyable. Surrounded by their lovable, large pups, we chuckled over our mutual love for Justified (although I confessed I only tolerate it because of the fine Timothy Oliphant) and planned how to best support B once labor started.
Sweet baby Raelynn decided to kick off labor the evening before an impending snowstorm. Given that we all live out in the country, we danced delicately around staying home as long as possible but while also wanting to be safe on the road. Graciously, the timing of everything was perfect and Raelynn arrived just as the snow began to fall.
The final hour of labor was intense as it tends to be, but Raelynn’s parents could not have been a better team. Throughout labor, H was connected and calm, always there to stroke B’s head or hold her hand. When it came time to push, B fiercely listened to her body, remaining upright and supported strongly by H (somehow his arms weren’t sore afterwards—mine got sore just watching him). Raelynn was welcomed to the world by her parents and surrounded by the bright smiles of the joyful attending doctor and an incredible nurse.*
*Out of respect for the care providers, I do not share images with their faces publicly unless I’ve been given permission.