Choosing between hospital and home birth
Having to decide between and hospital birth and home birth can be difficult for some. That’s how it was for Dani. It’s almost been a year since my dear friend and soon-to-be doula had her 5th and final baby, but I was deeply affected by this birth, as was everyone who was present.
Dani had originally planned a hospital birth with all her birth team there: birth photographer/videographer (yours truly), her husband Gavin, her midwife friend and mentor, her daughter who was to be her doula as well, and her daughter’s sibling doula (Julie Francom).
Then, the hospital changed policy and tightened the allowance of support people to just one person for a birthing woman.
Dani weighed her options over and over again. She consulted with her husband, her midwife, her daughter, myself, and others. What should she do? Dani had never considered a home birth before and that would mean so many changes, but would allow her to have all her support people there with her.
She eventually felt that the best choice for her would be to have a home birth. Eventually she chose a homebirth midwife Karla Bennett and the rest of us were grateful to be able to stay part of her birth team.
We all waited on tenterhooks for the big day to arrive.
Baby day arrives!
Then it finally came! Her water broke at 10:30 that night. We all came in waves and were quietly excited as Dani worked through the contractions. It was kind of like a party, and Dani came and went from the living room to the kitchen, or her bedroom, whether she wanted privacy or not. We were available whenever she needed our support.
Her husband and daughter were always there; they were her biggest supports. I stayed in the background silently filming and photographing the sweet moments.
As time wore on, we settled down in the living room for some rest. Dani and Gavin kept up in their room. My silent prayer (and I’m sure was everyone’s as well) was for Dani to find relief and for baby to get in position and to come soon.
Labor continues to the next day
Dani did so much work as contractions slowed down, from pumping, to warm baths, to sitting on the toilet, to squats. She even took a tincture. Dani was wearing down. We talked over options as some suggested she go to the hospital. She refused. She pushed in various positions. Then the most difficult position for a woman to push in ended up being the one that worked for her, and Minerva made her arrival. Dani reached down, pulled her up to her chest and we all cheered and cried tears of joy.
Labor totals 21 hours to everyone’s surprise!
There were so many stars of the show: Zoey, her daughter, was an amazing doula. She was there when she was needed. Zoey was quiet and unassuming. She was gentle and loving. Gavin was equally amazing. He’s the best male doula I have ever seen, and a great supportive husband. Dani was the queen. She is my hero and I have never witnessed such power and such determination from someone who traversed to hell and back to bring her baby into this world.
It was the most emotional birth I’ve ever attended and it was a strong testament to me of the strength we women have as we work to bring babies into the world. It’s not easy, whatever path we take. But it’s such an achievement and it needs to be celebrated, no matter how it happens.
If you are interested in having my photograph or film your birth, be it at a hospital, your home, or birth center, (or know someone who does) check out my other work! I’d love to give you the gift of having a beautiful remembrance of meeting the next love of your life!