Events do not have to be rare or of Biblical proportions to be miracles. Babies are born round the clock. Yet having recently witnessed my first human birth in person, assured me that birth is and will remain, among the greatest of all miracles. It left me humbled beyond words, in awe and full of admiration for moms.
A New Baby Is Born Every 3 Seconds
That a new baby is born every three seconds somewhere in the world doesn't exactly make for a spectacular headline. But experiencing it in real time is life changing for all involved.
You see, I'm not a dad and had never before been present during the birth of a baby. When my client Lisa approached me a few months ago, before her 2nd baby was due, and asked me to photograph the upcoming home birth, I was enthusiastic for the opportunity. Here is an accounting of what transpired.
September 1st - 5:30 p.m. Knowing Lisa was due around Labor Day (no pun intended) and keeping in more frequent touch as the time drew nearer, I received a text from Lisa that her contractions were coming more frequently. OMG this was it! Now, I was getting a little nervous.
6:50 p.m. Lisa texts me that the contractions could completely stop, but she'll let me know what's going on. Okay, I have to stay cool!
10:20 p.m. Lisa sends a text saying the labor was progressing and I'd likely be getting a text or call from the mid wife in the next few hours, so I should get some rest. My anxiety level was growing. How can I fall asleep now?
10:44 p.m. Another text from Lisa. The mid wife would be calling me soon. Everyone else, (mother and sister), is on their way. I'm thinking maybe I should head over there too. But it's not my party. So, I wait for the official summons.
1:00 a.m. I can't sleep a wink.
5:00 a.m. Still no sleep. I'm feel certain sure the baby was born by now and they simply forgot to call me.
6:30 a.m. Got a text from the mid wife: "Lisa's in active labor. Now would be a good time to come." Yikes, I hope I don't faint when I get there. I'm wondering who is going to need the nurses more, me or Lisa.
6:35 a.m. I'm out the door with my pre-packed photo gear, arriving at the house ten minutes later to moans of pain and discomfort drifting from the bedroom. I'm escorted there by one of the nurses. The room is dark. The mood is quiet and still. Still we wait. Moans continue intermittently.
8:00 a.m. Bath water is being run, (at 100 degrees), in the large tub in preparation for the birth. At just the right moment, Lisa was to be escorted to the tub. The lighting was amazing in there, with a big skylight overhead. I added one accessory light for an extra glow, bouncing it off the ceiling. I was ready!
8:30 a.m. Baby decides enough is enough. Lisa is still in bed, but now on her knees and in position for delivery. It still didn't dawn on me that this was "the" moment, since I knew a bathtub delivery was the intended scenario. When I realized the baby was coming right now, it was a mad scramble to move a single light in the room so I could get the shots Lisa wanted.
8:33 a.m. I witnessed the "Miracle of Birth." I'm deeply touched, at a loss for words and can barely hold back the tears. And so a tiny baby boy made his debut at 6 lbs. and 15 oz.
One of the realizations I took away from this whole experience is that I should probably be even nicer to my mother!