I honestly went back and forth between live video, pre-recorded video, or blog post. I knew no matter what I would say would step on someones toes and possibly offend them, because...this is the kind of world we live in (I'm brutally honest lol)!
Anyway, I went on the "Gram" and asked what birth questions you guys had, and there were a TON that came through, so thank you for participating in that! It really makes me feel good when my followers participate in things! So lets sit down, poor a cup of coffee or wine, no judgment from me, and lets dive right on in!
Birth is beautiful and bliss. It is full of highs and lows, and the end goal of a healthy mama and baby. Most mamas are concentrating so hard on birthing their baby, they tend to not remember some that went on. They miss the cues from their adorable husbands who are trying their best to help them, the sweet gestures of little forehead kisses, and even the cries of a newborn baby. Mamas don't get to really watch the newborn procedures either, so being able to relive those little big moments are beautiful.
How do I decide how to pick the right birth photographer?
This is kind of a big deal right here. Picking a birth photographer is like wedding photographer shopping, if you go with the wrong one, you may regret it and can't get it back. I would say, don't budget shop. I mean, I get it, I really do, but if you can afford to have a true birth photographer, then by all means, make it happen. This is a big moment not to cheap out on as you don't want to live with regret of not getting good quality portraits. Pick one that you flow with, they are going to be in the room with you, and seeing ALL of you. Eliminate the creeps (thank you, next!), and flow with someone who is going to be responsible, on time, and quiet. You will know when you found the right one for sure!
What all do you do at births? Can't they get time consuming?
Absolutely they can. While I'm at a birth, I sometimes assist (if they are without a Doula), I help in many ways other than just being the camera man. Do I have to? Absolutely not, that is not my job, but I do because they need me and honestly that was what I was hired for, to feel a need! I will never turn down a mom that says "I need you!!!!", because that happens over at more than half of my births I do. I go in between vide/shooting, walking away for their quiet little moments, running to get Dad coffee if the birth is prolonging, and I check my email and such when I'm not in the room. Every body is different and every birth is different, a lot of people go into this thinking that money is to be made, but as much as I would love for every birth to be under 3 hours, I've attended births that lasted 36 hours. I don't leave, however there are others that I know that leave. The only time I've ever left a birth is when my client said "go get some sleep, this is going to take a while, and we will update you", those words are so kind to my soul!
I capture video footage of you laboring, pushing, heart beating, and that first cry after birth! I'm taking portraits the majority of time I am there, and then I stay until newborn exam is done (usually 1-2 hours after birth).
What Hospital and Doctor do you recommend?
This is where I'm about to crunch some toes. Over all, hands down Southeast Health with Middleton, Phillips, Gordon, and Robinson (I like them in that exact order). They support your birth rights more than anyone else I know, and are so helpful. I have done numbers VBAC births with them and even family centered cesareans. They are very attentive and really listen. They do not do anything that could harm you or baby, and. they do not induce unless it is necessary. This is the best option for those that dream of a perfect (as it can be), medicated or intervention free birth.
At Southeast Health you are allowed to walk around while you are in labor in your room or hallways, labor in their birthing tubs, they have access to portable monitors, and you can labor in any position you desire. They also provide birthing balls, and much more!
At Flowers, you are not allowed to leave your bed once your water breaks. So, if you are induced and water is broke first thing, you can't leave that bed all day. That really makes it hard for those that wish to have a natural birth as you are limited in moving. Photographers are also not allowed in the OR, so that is my big skeptic with taking Flowers Hospital birth clients, I would hate for someone to pay me that amount, and not get their desired portraits. I do take on clients there by a case by case (mainly second time mothers). I have really enjoyed working with Dr. Nicholls there out of them all. There are many nurses who are starting to try their best to change the way things are done there for mothers, and I think that is amazing. I really look forward to them progressing, and hopefully soon!
The plus to me being hired for your birth (here is my pitch, but no worries, I'm pretty crazy booked for 2020 for the first half of the year). I not only photograph but I also video. I am very well knowledge in where to be, what to say (and what to not say), and what not to touch. I am very experienced in the birth industry from delivering three healthy vaginal births myself to tending the countless births since 2015. I also highly suggest contacting a Doula service for help in knowing your birth rights, and much more such as conducting a birth plan, and even hiring them. They also provide birthing classes. I currently work almost exclusively to Mama's Friend and Angela Dalton and her co-workers are top notch. They are very experience and full of knowledge, and hey, the consult is free and it is nice to pick their brain!
Birth shouldn't be made to be taboo or scary. It is a beautiful blessing that we women get to experience. Knowledge is power, have your desired birth, the way that you wish and hope for. There are no do-overs.