I had the honor of attending the birth of Keris and Stuart's first born, an adorable boy named Aston Davis, so I was thrilled when Keris was pregnant again and asked for me to be their doula and photographer for the birth of their little girl, Helen Adria. Keris was induced for her first birth, but she decided to wait a little longer this time and let Helen pick her birth day, and she did! Labor started gradually and Keris did a great job of distracting herself during those early contractions, and when they started getting more intense but we still spaced out a little, they waited a little longer and labored at home. They told me to wait too, but I knew things might pick up and go pretty quickly. Sure enough, her contractions were soon under five minutes, and they headed to the hospital, and I left to join them, but on the way there they just kept coming on faster and faster. When they got checked in she was already 9 cm! I arrived shortly after and Keris was laboring on the bed on all fours, but doing a great job and still laughing with Stuart in between contractions.
Just a few contractions later, she felt like she needed to push, and Helen pretty much came flying out! Aston was 9.5lbs (and Keris is very petite) so she pushed for a few hours with him, but Helen was much smaller, and even though she had a nuchal hand, she came out much quicker.
One of the special things about this birth was being able to witness the birth pause, in which the birthing mother takes a brief pause to gather herself and make the great transition from birthing her baby to the first step of mothering, picking up her baby on her own terms. Since Keris was still on all fours, she requested a minute to breathe and rest before she turned over to pick up her daughter and bring her to her chest.
The birth had happened so quickly, that there was still so much shock and surprise mingled with the relief and great joy as she welcomed Helen in her arms.
It was such a joy to see the love between Keris and Stuart flow over as they both began to bond with their precious new daughter.
And before long, Keris's mom brought Aston came to meet his new little sister. He wasn't quite sure what to think of this new addition.
A little later, Keris had some quiet time to start breastfeeding Helen, and she was a champion nurser!
And then it was time to transition to their postpartum room and try to get some rest and settle in with their new baby.
Congratulations Keris and Stuart! It was such an honor to serve you at the birth of both your babies, and see your beautiful family grow. You have so much love for each other and for your children, and it is a blessing to share in your joy!