A Thorold Homebirth - the Birth of Kate-Lynne

Dec 4th, 2018

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Cam over the last 9-10 months and to witness what a great mom she is to Theo and her new little one Kate-Lynne. I have also enjoyed watching Theo go from an only child to being a big brother. He has such an inquisitive mind and I like to watch him explore everything around him.

Since moving to Canada last August I only photographed one mom during her pregnancy, that is until I got Cam in front of my lens in September. It was a beautiful day and Cam looked radiant.

When I spoke to Cam about her delivery plans and she mentioned that she was planning a home birth with a midwife I got very excited for her. There is something so peaceful and comforting about delivering your baby in your own home. If you are expecting and have considered having a home birth I definitely recommend looking into it and speaking with the midwives in your areas to find out more about it.

I had been notified by Cam the morning she went into labour. She was slowly progressing and taking things easy. Later that afternoon I got a message telling me she had been checked by the midwife and was in advanced labour, so I hit the gas pedal and made my way there as fast as I could. Her labour was progressing so quickly I made it there less than an hour before baby was born!

A rare event happened during Cam’s delivery, her baby was born with a caul. This is when a baby is born covered fully or partially by the membranes of the amniotic sac. This occurs in fewer than 1 in 80,000 births. And get this, Cam was also born with a caul! How special is that?!

If you scroll up and look closely at the picture of Cam holding Kate just after she was delivered you can still see the membranes on the top and left side of her head!

“My favourite part was not even knowing she was taking the pictures! Even though I was a little pre occupied, she wasn’t intrusive or loud in presence. I loved having her there.” - Cam

Have you or anyone you know experienced a home birth? How did it go for you or them? What are your thoughts about having a baby born in a caul?

Advice for New Moms from Experienced Moms | St Catharines Birth Photographer

October 25th, 2018

Who can give better advice and insight than those who have been through it themselves? I asked a group of moms to give some words of encouragement to all you soon-to-be moms out there.

“He's eating, he's peeing, he's stooling. He's doing good, so don't worry.”

“Have a plan but also learn to go with the flow and accept what may come. I went into the delivery room with a plan in my head- I would have a natural birth, no painkillers, no epidural. My body was made for this, I can handle it. But when my baby didn't flip tummy up and his spine was rubbing against mine, each movement caused extreme pain with no dilation. So I had to shift gears: it's either I was getting the epidural and this baby would come out or he would stay in there, cozy and comfy. I think it's the same for every day mom life. I like having a plan, but having a baby has made me realize that sometimes plans have to change in order to be the best mom possible. Sometimes an outing turns into a night in because of teething or you have to drop a few activities to dedicate more times to your family. In any case, being flexible is key and being open to change in plans is helpful to keeping yourself and everyone around you sane.”

“Whenever you feel low or discouraged just remember you're the center of your baby's universe so you're kind of a big deal”

“The baby came into the world to be a part of the family, not to run it. So the baby needs to get on schedule.”

“Honestly, everyone has their own style of parenting, you have to trust your instincts and not stress out about everything.”

“Wash your pajamas and tops (if not all your clothes) in dreft or whatever baby detergent you're using so you don't have to worry about baby's skin getting irritated while breastfeeding or holding them.”

“Being a mom is stressful sometimes but worth it.”

“Life changes drastically, going from a single person to being married.. then you have another person in your life who is dependent on you.”

“Postpartum depression can range from light to severe and you don’t know what is happening until you are out of it. Your body goes through changes during pregnancy and continues to go through a lot of changes once you have your child. You are in pain, you are trying to recover and all of a sudden nothing you do is for yourself. Everything you do is for your child. Make sure to take ‘Me Time’ to rest and recover, fill your own cup so that you can fill theirs.”

“Expect to laugh a lot, it is a funny journey. Kids will surprise you and do the funniest things.”

“Remember that their young stage is just a short phase in life, even though it feels forever.”

“Don’t let other people stress you out because of what they do with their kids. Your kids are different, their kids are different. It is great to always ask questions and to do research but don’t allow anyone to pressure you to make you feel that you are supposed to be doing a certain thing with your kids. For example breast feeding, some people think that you are supposed to breastfeed fully and to not do formula at all. Or they make you feel bad if you only breastfeed a certain amount and stop. At the end of the day you have to do what works for you.”

“Listen to the advice of of others but you have to use your own instincts. You have to do what you think is best for your child and watch them flourish.”

“It can be very scary to think that ‘I am one of the prime influencers of this child’s life’ and that depending on what I do or what I show them they are going to grow up into. So that is where you pray a lot and where you rely on God for wisdom, and your parents or others who are helping you out. It is scary but it is such a blessing to have the opportunity to do that.”

If you have anything to add to this list please leave a comment and continue to encourage and love on the new moms!

My First Birth | St Catharines Birth Photographer

October 10, 2018

If you know me, you know my family means everything to me. We spend a lot of time together and are actively involved in each others lives. So it is safe to say that my sister Sarah’s life has influenced me on numerous occasions and has lead me to choose newborn photography and ultimately birth photography as my career.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

In my last year of university Sarah surprised the family with special news that she was pregnant. The thought of having a little niece or nephew to cuddle and kiss overwhelmed my thoughts. I decided that once the baby was born I was going to photograph the mess out of him/her. So I set about learning all I could about newborn photography. I looked up articles, watched videos, purchased tutorials/workshops, anything I could do to learn how to get the best photos. I even had the privilege to apprentice with Deanna while I was still living in Toronto, which boosted my confidence and paved the way for my future in newborn photography.

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God’s timing is amazing and allowed for me to be at my nephew Ben’s birth. Sarah went into labor while I was still at home (in the Bahamas) at the end of my Christmas break. Her doctor was so accepting and allowed me to photograph the labor, except for the final moments of pushing because of the hospital’s policy[. The atmosphere in the delivery room was very relaxed which was perfect for me because I had no knowledge of labor or of how to photograph it.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

Sarah was induced in the early morning and the extended family arrived at the hospital shortly after. However, hospitals in Nassau are very strict and Doctors Hospital would only allow two people in the room during labor. I believe this created a more intimate setting for Sarah and Daniel, which allowed them to focus on each other and the little life they were about to bring into the world. Labor progressed slowly and Sarah was forced to spend a lot of time in bed because of an epidural.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

The hospital room we were in was very limited with available natural light. There was only one window, however I did not feel comfortable or experienced enough to ask about opening the blinds. I was forced to work with dim lighting and was pushed out of my comfort zone. It was definitely eye opening to how unpredictable birth and the setting in which it takes place in can be.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

Many times throughout Sarah’s labor I was hit with intense emotions but nothing compared to how overcome with emotions I became when she was in the final moments of labor. There is something just so powerful about a woman giving birth to her child. To see the hard work that she and her body goes through, and then to see mother holding baby and the look of triumph on her face. This event seven years ago lit a spark in me that burned dimly at first and over time became a passionate flame for documenting birth through photographs.

My First Birth  |  Elora Williams Photography

Benjamin was born almost seven years ago, but I didn't get into birth photography in Nassau because of the limitations put forth by the hospitals. Three years after Ben’s birth Sarah gave birth to Abigail. I had every intention of photographing her birth, however she was born in Princess Margaret Hospital which is even more limiting with what is allowed during labor. I had to get permission from the hospital to photograph the birth. Sarah had the same doctor who once again had no problem with me capturing the birth story, but the nurse assigned to Sarah’s labor just would not allow me in the room. It was very frustrating at the time and I still regret to this day not being able to photograph Abby’s birth. It has made me more aware of what to look for in a birthing facility and to be more vocal in what I desire during labor. I encourage all you expecting mommies out there to do the same! Take your birth story into your own hands and have the type of labor you wish to have!

Interview with a Doula | St Catharines Birth Photographer

October 1st, 2018

doula, also known as a birth companion, birth coach or post-birth supporter, is a non-medical person who assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, to provide emotional support and physical help if needed. They also may provide support to the mother's partner and family.

I met Cody earlier this year when I started volunteering with the Young Moms’ group at Youth Unlimited Niagara. I have had the pleasure of working alongside her and learning all about the wonderful and caring person she is. Earlier this summer I was even fortunate enough to get Cody in front of my camera. She has such playful personality and was a blast to work with! You can find Cody at Storybook Birth Doula Services. Below is an interview that I had with Cody where she breaks down what it is like to be a doula and what future mothers can expect from one.

Why did you become a doula?

I became a doula because I was working with a young mother's prenatal class and we were seeing these young women treated differently because they didn’t fit into the ‘traditional’ rolls our culture tends to associate with pregnancy. How a mother is treated during her pregnancy and while she is in labor can have a long-lasting impact on how she sees herself as a mother. I wanted to help equip these young women to be able to advocate for themselves with current, evidence-based information.

 

How many births have you attended?

I’ve attended 16 births in just over 3 years.

What training did you receive? Are you certified? If so, from where?

I am currently certifying as a Birth Doula through DONA International, as well as certifying as a Childbirth Educator through CAPPA.

Do you attend all types of births? Hospital, home, etc?

Currently, all of my clients have had hospital births (with both midwives as well as obstetricians), however two of my upcoming clients are hoping to deliver at home. I wouldn’t participate in an unattended birth.

How do you work with healthcare providers and hospital staff?

It’s usually a little tense when you’re first introduced as a Doula because the healthcare provider doesn’t know you. I’ve been very fortunate to have gotten to know the nurses and healthcare providers at our hospital. They know I’m not going to step outside my scope of practice, and only wish to assist my client and them to the best of my abilities.

How do you work with the partner?

I like to make them the main support for the laboring person (if that’s what everyone’s wishes are). I’ll show them the same techniques and touches I would use to help the laboring person, supply them with as much or as little information as they desire, and make myself available to answer their questions as I would their partner’s.


What does your pricing include?

  • Two prenatal visits where we’ll discuss everything from birth preferences and special wishes to the different practices and procedures offered at the various hospitals in our area (including pain reduction - both physical and medical, coping mechanisms and comfort measure).

  • On-going informational support via phone, text, email and social media. This becomes 24 hour support once a client has reached their 27th week.

  • Labour, the birth and immediate postpartum.

  • Two postpartum visits to discuss the birth experience, assist with breastfeeding (if desired), answer non-medical questions regarding newborn care and to see how everyone is settling in.

This is just a basic idea, as all contracts are as unique as the clients. Some laboring people might need more or less care, and that’s established typically during a free consultation.

How long are you on call for a birth?

As of the 37th week, I am available 24/7 and remain that way until either the client has delivered their child or they’ve reached their 42nd week. Anytime I am unavailable (such as a pre-set social engagement, or family emergency) my back-up doula will be on call.

Do you offer any additional services? (Birth photography, placenta encapsulation, lactation consulting, yoga, massage therapy)

No, though I can and will offer suggestions as to other people who do offer these Services. I’m also looking forward to adding pre-natal classes of my own soon!

How many clients do you book a month?

Typically I’ll book no more than 2-3 clients a month, depending on their due dates

How would you describe your doula “style”? What do you see as your strength?

My doula style is very fluid, as in I will adapt to what a laboring person and their partners need as best possible. Though trained and knowledgeable when it comes to pregnancy and birth, I realize that I’m just a spectator in the grand scheme of things. How a laboring person experiences their pregnancy and delivery will be something that they will always remember and I want them to remember it as authentically and positively as possible.

What do you do when you are not doulaing?

When I’m not doulaing, I’m a mom to three amazing and energetic kids; Chloe-Lee (7), Eli (5) and Emmett (3), and happily married to Kevin. I’m a volunteer with Youth Unlimited Niagara, helping to facilitate two groups. Our Young & Pregnant in Niagara group is a free prenatal course aimed at young mothers (think 23 and under) that covers the whole pregnancy and the first few postpartum months and the Young Moms group is a place for younger mothers and their children to meet and interact in a safe, non-judgemental location, enjoying a variety of activities. I also work part-time as an office administrator with The Play Clinic. In whatever spare time I have left I absolutely love reading, cross-stitching and Netflix.