The London Homebirth of Anastasia
Supermoon | November 13th 2016 | London
Some people say that babies often come on a full moon and although it is an old wives tale I have witnessed it to be true as a birth photographer and Doula. Sometimes its a few days afterwards. As we approached the super moon this November I just had an inkling that a baby would be coming that weekend… and I was right!
I got the call from Felicity around 11.30pm, her waters had gone and she was having some pretty good surges. We agreed that she would call me back in about an hour or if things changed and I tried to go back to sleep… which obviously didn’t happen as I was too excited! She called me back about an hour later and I could hear that they were really strong. We decided that as I was about 1-1.5 hours away it might be good for me to get myself ready and leave to get to her. I really didn’t want to miss this birth.
As I drove I watched the amazing super moon in awe it was truly beautiful! Lighting my way as I sped up the M25 from kent to south west London. I actually made really good time as it was the middle of the night and arrived in just over an hour. Natalie, Felicity’s doula, let me in with gentle smiles and I crept upstairs to the darkened bedroom. Felicity was lying on her bed working through the surges.
I was aware that it was pitch black and very quiet in the room so I just gently went over and placed my hand on her arm to let her know I was there. I then got my kit out and started documenting. As the hours went by Natalie and I chatted quietly outside the room. She was unsure whether to call the midwife yet. The surges were quite strong but still irregular and she didn’t want to wake her unnecessarily. It’s often hard to tell as all women labour differently. After a few chats with Claire the midwife on the phone they agreed to leave it an hour or so and check back in. We discussed me going home to get some sleep but I was reluctant to because of the distance so I decided to go downstairs to try to nap on the sofa. By then it was around 5am.
Not long later there was a quiet knock at the door and I opened it to see Claire the midwife. Claire had the most lovely, gentle demeanour and immediately gave me a hug hello and then tiptoed upstairs to check on Felicity. Felicity looked like a serene goddess working through labour on her bed.
Soon (around 5.30am) there was the patter of tiny feet and I heard Felicity’s two sons waking up and coming down to have their breakfast. I popped into the room and captured a few shots of Felicity and Claire and a little while later the boys came up to see her and have a play with the birth ball. They were completely unfazed by Felicity on the bed quietly working through her surges every so often.
It was decided that the boys needed to go out to give Felicity some quiet time alone and they got ready and were ushered out of the door for some fun. it was the most beautiful autumn day and the sun was shining but it was quiet, dark and peaceful in the birth room.
Claire, Natalie and I decided it would be a good idea for Felicity to have some alone time to relax and go into herself. Some women really need this during labour so we left her alone for some time and all tried to take naps. We had all been there since the night before by this time. Natalie and Claire knew that she would call when she needed support and a little while later we all heard the call.
For the next few hours I would step into the room and take a few shots, sit behind a chair out of view in the bedroom and step out of the room every so often. I knew that at this birth it was extremely important to be as invisible and discreet as possible and I worked very hard to facilitate that. This is where my experience as a doula can be really helpful.
Claire told me that things were intensifying and it might not be long. Then Felicity said she wanted to be in water NOW so Natalie and I quickly got the hose working and Natalie started to fill up the pool…
I love watching other doula’s work when I am doing photography only and Natalie’s amazing support was so beautiful to witness.
I will never forget Felicity’s face as she got into the pool it was pure joy! And she also swore at us for not getting her in there earlier.
Felicity was so quiet and focused when she got into the pool she was far away in labour land. Natalie was holding her hand through the surges which I found extremely touching to watch,
By now the second midwife Sabine had arrived, silently, I only noticed her smiling face when I turned around
there was so much love and quiet support from Natalie, Claire, Sabine and I – it felt like the most amazing circle of women all there for Felicity.
Not long later there was a little head! and Felicity put her hand on her babies head and ever so gently and beautifully breathed her baby into her own hands.
I don’t cry at every birth I attend anymore but this birth, this tribe of women coming together and the mountain I saw Felicity climb to have this baby made me silently weep when I watched her birth her baby. I was so proud of her. A beautiful VBAC.
Welcome Anastasia 13/11/16