birth photography example

Ashley is a mother of three, and one of my very best friends. I had the opportunity to photograph her birth, and it was one of my favorite things. It really sparked a love for birth photography that has persisted since then. She is a fantastic mother, and she gives some great insights for other mothers. I hope you enjoy!

holding hands during labor

What was your favorite part of pregnancy? What was the worst part?

I really did not like anything about pregnancy. I didn’t even like feeling the baby move, I thought it felt uncomfortable. The worst part for me was the rib pain that I experienced in late pregnancy. I had large babies that never dropped until active labor. This meant they hung out in my ribcage. It was miserable. The best part of pregnancy was having it over.

hospital equipment

How was the birth? Highs and lows of labor from your perspective? Any surprises/funny stories/terrifying experiences? How did your other half cope?

It was four days past my due date and I went to my weekly visit with the OBGYN. My doctor did my exam, and then sat down and asked me what I wanted to do. I said, “Well, I don’t think we should let this baby get any bigger.” (I had been consistently measuring large throughout my pregnancy, and my previous baby had been over 10 lbs. at birth). My doctor was in agreement. I told him that I’d like to avoid Pitocin if possible, but I was open to it. He offered to strip my membranes in the hopes that it would kickstart labor and if that didn’t work I could go in that evening to the hospital to try to have labor started with medical intervention. I remember when we were dropping our kids off on the way to the hospital that there was a double rainbow in the sky. I thought it must be a good omen.  I was putting my two-year-old in her pack n’ play at Alisha’s house to sleep when I felt what I thought were the beginnings of labor.

 

Sure enough by the time we arrived at the hospital labor was in full swing. I was dilated to a four or five and could avoid induction. My husband and I spent several hours walking the hallways. We had used the hypnobirthing method for our previous two children and felt like we really hit our groove for this last time. When I was dilated to an 8 in the early morning hours we let Alisha know so she could come to take pictures. I thought we had waited too long and was worried she wouldn’t arrive in time as my labor was progressing so fast up to that point.

 

Boy was I wrong!

 

I stayed at an 8 for over three hours. I was in transition that whole time. It was the worst. My very large baby was trying to drop into my pelvis at a funny angle and so my body didn’t allow labor to progress any further. His heart rate kept dropping during contractions and I was really struggling with the pain. Probably my favorite picture that was taken is of me laying in bed with my hands over my face in pain. I felt like it captured how I felt during the hardest part of labor.

 

 

I remember considering IV meds to take the edge off but I ended up being able to manage without. I finally got on my hands and knees and got into just the right position so that he finally got where he needed to be. I went from an 8 to a 10 in less than two minutes.

 

 

His shoulders did get stuck as I was delivering him. I remember being irritated with the doctor because he was telling me I wasn’t pushing hard enough. It was a scary moment as I knew he was in danger, but it was over quick enough. The nurses later laughed at how broad of a chest he had for a newborn, no wonder he got stuck. He weighed 10 lbs 6 oz! It was a healthy normal pregnancy, I didn’t gain that much weight and was active throughout my pregnancy, I just grow big babies.

complete hospital bag

What special items did you pack in your hospital bag?

I snuck food in. Also, adult diapers. I prefer them to the mesh panties and pads the hospital provides for postpartum bleeding.

newborn baby laying on mother's chest

What tips do you have for first-time moms and dads in the first weeks of parenthood?

Take time for just your new family. Let extended family visit briefly, but for me, having time to bond as a nuclear family was so special.

On the flip side, ask for help when you need it.

newborn baby feet

Any “parenting hacks” you’ve tried so far and would recommend to new parents?

Buy a carpet cleaner. You will need it.

mom breastfeeding newborn baby

What has been the hardest part of motherhood for you and how did you deal with it?

Losing your pre-mom identity. You absolutely become a new person when you become a mom, and that can be a rough ride. Make time for things that are important to you and make you feel like an individual outside of your children.

sister kissing newborn baby

What is your favorite go-to mom recipe that’s easy for a busy mom?

I don’t have a good answer here. I wish I did. Feeding kids is hard.

big brother

What is your favorite thing about having little kids?

Being the favorite person in the family. None of my kids preferred my husband (sucks for him), but I love being so loved.

brother holding newborn baby

What is the hardest thing about having little kids?

Constantly being needed and touched.

mom holding newborn baby

What is your best advice to moms of little kids?

Don’t forget self-care. Keep things in your life that make you happy. Hide chocolates in an old tampon box. Just do stuff for you. And, yes, you will miss the days when they are little, but it is okay to sometimes feel that it sucks to have little ones that need you all the time. You don’t have to enjoy every single moment. But, try to enjoy the moments that you can.

What are your best tips for new parents? Throw them down in the comments below!

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