Updated: Oct 13
"The only thing that surprised me was how Sara & Amber have expertly captured Zig's birth in a way that exudes such beauty and calm. My experience was that of exhaustion & self doubt, but when I look back over these images (which I do often!) I see how truly strong & amazing I was, working hard to bring my babe earthside."
I glanced across the room to the open suitcases waiting to be filled, my daughter begging for one last swim in the pool. As my husband got her ready I checked my phone again. A message from Sara told me Rachael's waters had broken.
Damn, I thought. We wouldn't be arriving home until tomorrow evening. I would miss it.
I was devastated but we had planned for this, just in case. I knew without a shadow of doubt Rachael would be well looked after by Sara, who was my on call back up birth photographer while I was away.
I stepped outside onto the lawn and grounded myself with the earth. I took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly. Sending all the beautiful birthing vibes to Rachael.
What an honour it was to hand edit these stunning frames that Sara had lovingly taken in my place. I could not be a professional birth photographer without incredible support and talented back ups like her.
Read about Rachael's beautiful journey below.
Photos taken by Sara Bresser // Hand edited by me (Amber May)
I first thought seriously about a birth photographer after my second baby (my first vbac!). My wonderful doula took some photos on her phone and I spent hours looking at them, I was obsessed. It was incredible being able to relive those moments. I was so proud of myself & my body. When I fell pregnant with my third baby, I knew that I'd be hiring a professional birth photographer. It definitely took a little while to get my husband, Tom, on board but I think he could see how strongly I felt, and now he is so grateful for our incredible images!
When I first chatted with Amber, we realised that it would be a possibility that she wouldn't make it to my birth, so the likelihood of having her back up photographer there was always on the cards. I'll admit, I was super hopeful that my babe would play nice and that Amber would make it, but alas, babies come when they are right & ready!! I had met Sara the weekend before my guess date, just in case, and I am so glad that we did! I felt so comfortable with her, just as I did with Amber, and felt so confident that I could completely trust these women and let them into my birth space.
I went into labour at 39 + 6. I was walking out of my boys' bedroom after putting them to bed and felt my waters "pop". My previous two births had started similarly, with my waters breaking spontaneously. I laboured at home for a few hours, while everyone slept. My VBAC had been relatively quick and I didn't want to birth at home, so we headed into KEMH much earlier than necessary (hindsight is a funny thing!!).
My labour was long. I now know that my waters hadn't completely broken and Ziggy had turned posterior, which explains so much. Some contractions were intense, some I could almost sleep through. I was frustrated that things weren't progressing as I had expected! I had hoped for another drug free birth but about 15 hours in, I decided that I needed an epidural. It was the absolute best decision, as it allowed my body the rest it needed to then deliver all 4.2kg of baby!
My pregnancy care with the CMP was amazing. It was so supportive & empowering, even though I hadn't met my actual midwife until I was in labour! I had three amazing midwives see me through an extremely stressful pregnancy and I would do it again if there happens to be another babe in our future! I had a 3C tear with my second baby and had originally been advised by the OBs to have an elective csection. Instead, I worked closely with the midwives to alleviate my fears, create a plan to prevent more trauma and chose to have an episiotomy when it proved necessary.
Having Sara present at my birth was incredible. She had such a calming energy and was a really beautiful presence to have in the room. Tom was initially concerned that having another person in our space wouldn't feel comfortable or necessary, but our experience was so wonderful. Sara had a beautiful talent for reading my vibe, she would engage me at just the right time when I needed something more, but otherwise she was just quietly & beautifully there in the background. I feel so lucky to have met such talented, amazing women and to have connected with them both in such a way. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
I remember the day that Amber gave me my prints. I sat on the floor in my house and looked through them, with tears in my eyes. Seeing my labour, those incredible moments before and after Ziggy was born, was so, so special. And being able to share that with my boys (and whoever else wants to see them, let's be honest ha!) is such a privilege. The ability to experience and remember different moments from Zig's birth, and share in Tom's memories too, is something we wouldn't be able to do without these images.
If you're interested in having your birth journey documented, you can get in touch with me here or if you're still unsure and have some questions, just do the same and ask away – can’t wait to hear from you!