Happy Mother’s Day! It is my honor to support such lovely mothers through pregnancy, birth, and new motherhood and to document your journey! You inspire me everyday with such courage, strength, and love! Enjoy this video showcasing the beautiful mothers of Empowered Birthing from the previous year!
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!
Congratulations to Gaby and Alex on the birth of their son, Aiden James! This sweet couple were college sweethearts; now they're married and starting their family. Gaby was committed to having a natural birth out of the hospital, and she chose to give birth at Austin Area Birthing Center. It was a little before her due date when her water broke unexpectedly. Contractions began soon after but things weren't progressing into active labor. We tried some positioning and walking, and she was exhausted after a day of prodromal labor. She checked into the birth center, and we all tried to get some sleep before beginning the midwives induction routine of pumping, herbs, and castor oil in the morning. A few hours after that, things started to pick up and labor got intense and progressed quickly.
At the beginning of her labor, she did such a beautiful job of relaxing. I love her posture her with her hands open as she surrenders to each surge, letting it open her and bring her baby nearer.
With her eye on the prize, she found her focus to help her through each wave.
Her husband was such a great support to her, giving tender encouragement, and intuitively following her lead.
This is transition, and she needed to clear gaze of her husband to help her through. This look below shows so well the feeling of "I can't do this anymore, please help me." But with constant support and encouragement, she pressed on toward the goal.
Even as she neared the finish line, she was so composed and relaxed. I loved the way she folded her hands so beautifully in front of her.
Now for the pushing--such a powerhouse of strength and determination!
And finally, after so much hard work, baby is in her arms!
This such a beautiful, intimate moment as mom turns to her partner after the birth, with the expression of "we did it!".
This newborn baby knows his dad, and gazed so intently at him.
This beautiful golden hour as the new family settles in and gets to know each other!
Such a proud, gentle papa as he gets to hold his son for the first time!
Welcome to the world Aiden James! This beautiful healthy baby weighed in at 6lbs 14oz and 20 in. It was such a pleasure to serve this sweet couple and witness such strength, love, and beauty as they brought sweet Aiden into their arms.
Congratulations to Marissa and Samuel on the birth of their daughter, Elianna Grace! This beautiful homebirth was a triumphant end to a long story. After a loss, Marissa and Samuel planned a homebirth for their first, who was breech and had to be delivered by cesarean, so determined, they decided to try again for the birth they dreamed of. But after Marissa's water broke, and several days of prodromal labor, that dream seemed to be slipping away. With lots of prayer, careful monitoring, and trust in the birth process from her midwife, Elianna finally decided to make her appearance. And she was born at home, in the water, and caught by her dad. Here is a slideshow that captures the beauty, hard work, loving support, and joyful birth of Elianna Grace.