Almost two years ago I walked into a house to document a birth story and heard crying. I rushed back to the bedroom, hoping that I was hearing something other than what I thought. Nope. The baby had been born in the 30 minutes it took to get from church to the Freeman's house. Emily looked at me and shrugged as if to say, "Sorry, I tried!". It all just happened so fast. Even though I missed the actual birth, I stayed and documented the first amazing moments of the little life of Jemima Jean.
I was so excited when Emily told me she was pregnant again and wanted me to be there to document the birth story. I was so nervous that I would miss it again this time! I had my car all packed and everything ready to go for when I got the call. Last Sunday I got a text that the baby was coming and I dashed out of my house and headed to the Freeman home.
I didn't catch any red lights, see any police, or get stuck behind any slow drivers as I prayed behind the wheel that I would get there in time to capture the birth.
I arrived in time, which I was so thankful for. There was a kiddie pool on the porch and Emily was right in the middle of a contraction. Daniel was on speaker phone with the midwife who was trying like crazy to make it before the baby was born.
Emily was remarkably calm even in the absence of any medical professionals. We honestly weren't sure if the midwife would make it in time to help her deliver, or if her parents would be present. Daniel held the phone out so Emily could hear the midwife talking as she drove to meet us.
Emily and Daniel's two oldest girls were playing in the front yard and anxiously awaiting the birth of their newest sibling. I asked both of them if they thought it would be a boy or a girl. They both said girl without any hesitation. Jemima Jean slept inside, not knowing she'd wake up and not be "the baby" anymore.
Emily was pretty nervous that their midwife wouldn't arrive in time so they called over their friend who is a retired OB/GYN.
Emily's parents have tried to be present at all of their grandchildren's births but the labors have all happened so quickly they have never made it in time. Until now! Emily's mom was so happy as she walked up the porch steps that she hadn't missed this one!
The family chose not to find out the sex of the baby, so they had a boy and a girl name picked out. Emily told me later that they had just decided on the boy name the previous day. She hadn't felt fully ready to have the baby until the names were chosen, but she felt at peace now that they knew what they would call their child. These were the name choices they selected, chalked on to the porch steps, only feet away from where she gave birth.
The older girls had their own "baby bags" like the kind expectant mothers keep ready. Their baby bags were full of books and quiet activities that they could participate in while mom and dad were occupied.
Emily started having contractions around 6:30, texted me to come at 6:50. I arrived at the house at 7:20 and the baby was born by 8:00. It all went super, super fast.
One of the things I LOVE about birth story photography is the raw reality of it. I've watched several women give birth (all of whom had done it before and knew what was in store for them) and each time there's a moment of complete transparency before the baby comes. These women are strong, and brave, and confident, and completely amazing to me. In the midst of all that strength and awesome power, each of them has had a moment when the pain reached it's peak and they cried out for God to stop it/save them from it/pull them through it.
Emily whispered, "Help me."
Daniel turned to the midwife, seeming slightly alarmed, and reported that Emily was asking for help.
Emily quickly responded, "I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to God. Help me."
And I believe that when you ask you receive.
Emily gave birth exactly how she wanted: surrounded by loved ones. And by midwives, who did in fact make it in time. Emily did this like a champ, with essentially no assistance.
This is Emily and Daniel finding out that their three daughters have a baby BROTHER!
This is Providence being told that the baby is a boy! She reached out and touched his head, reporting back that his skin was super soft.
Everyone transitioned inside to get cleaned up. Valor's big sisters are fascinated by him... and keep calling him "her".
Ruthie was told she could pick out an outfit for the new baby to wear, bringing it back to show mom what she decided.
Valor meeting his grandparents.
After a check up it was determined that he was measuring at almost exactly the same height and weight as previous Freeman babies.
Congratulations to the Freeman family on their happy and healthy baby boy Valor! It's always such an honor to be included in this huge life moment. It was amazing to be present for this.