Let me start by saying that I don’t have children. It’s not so much that I never wanted children it’s more that I am a complete sissy and the thought of childbirth scares the crap out of me. Seriously, I need to lie down when I get a blood test and I have to take valium before going to the dentist. The thought of going through labor… oof, I don’t even want to go there!
So why am I bringing this up? Well, because I was supposed to do a maternity shoot for my friend and client Karine. We had talked about it and planned to do something really soft and soulful with flowy fabrics and natural light to show how beautiful she was while expecting her second child. Unfortunately, she had a difficult pregnancy and was not feeling up to a shoot – but she really wanted to have memories of this time. I thought about it for a while, and then I had an idea:
Ever since I tuned into the Zack Arias workshop on CreativeLIVE and “met” Rachel Thurston (one of the students in the class), I have been following her blog and falling more in love with her photography each time she posts new images. One of the things that Rachel does is shoot births, at the hospital, IN THE DELIVERY ROOM. She does an amazing job capturing all the raw emotions of the day, from waiting for labour to begin right through to the emergence of a beautiful new little human. I knew that Karine was pretty open-minded, so I sent her a link to one of the “Birth” shoots on Rachel’s blog and asked what she thought. Her reply was almost instantaneous: “Let’s do it!”
Fast forward to November 14th at 10:00 and I found myself in the delivery room of Sacré Coeur hospital in Montreal with Karine and her husband Kam, waiting for Baby Justin to make his grand entrance. Kam was relaxing in the lounger while Karine was fishing through their goodie bag for snacks. Both were calm and relaxed; just another day in the delivery room. I seemed to be the only nervous person present!
Karine’s water broke just before I arrived and she was READY to have this baby. The nurses suggested that she should walk around a little to “encourage” her body to move things along. Since her contractions had already started, her “walking around” was limited to pacing up and down the hallway, with the occasional pit stop to let a contraction pass.
As the contractions started getting closer together, it was back to the room for more waiting. Kam was a total rock for Karine; holding her hand through every contraction, making sure she was comfortable and just being a steady, loving presence.
As the contractions got closer and closer together, Karine’s AWESOME doctor announced that baby Justin would soon be making his grand entrance. She rallied the troops; an intern and two nurses and within less than 40 minutes of intense pushing (and I mean INTENSE, all the blood vessels on Karine’s face burst!) I witnessed the most beautiful and amazing sight ever, baby Justin was born.
Dad took no time at all to bond with his new son Justin, who stopped crying the instant he was placed in his father’s arms. Justin looked up at Kam as though he KNEW that this was his dad. So amazing!!
Karine gave her baby boy a kiss for the first time and in that moment, it seemed as though all the labor pains, the challenges and the discomfort of the past nine months vanished into thin air. It was love at first sight.
Before too much cuddling could occur, Justin was whisked off for his physical exam, where he was weighed, measured and given his first vaccination.
Having passed the physical with flying colors, Justin was expertly bundled up by his nurse and returned to mom & dad. Is that a wink from the little guy? I think he likes me
As Karine, Kam and baby Justin got to know each other, it was time for me to go. It took a lot of trust to allow a photographer to be present during such an intimate event and I am so honored that Karine and Kam put their trust in me to document Justin’s birth. I respected and admired Karine as a mother before this, but after witnessing what she experienced first-hand, I am in AWE of her now – and did I mention that she did this with NO epidural?! Yes, I am in total AWE!
Thank you SO MUCH Karine and Kam for allowing me to be a part of this special day and to be present for this incredible experience – one that I will never forget!