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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!