It was 6:15am on Monday, March 13th, 2017 when I pulled into the New Hanover Regional Betty H. Cameron Women's and Children's hospital to photograph my first birth story. You guys, this is something that I have always been interested in doing. I had never experienced a live birth before and honestly, I hadn't even watched a birth on YouTube. What I did know about births was that every one of them is different. Some parents choose to give birth in a hospital while others choose a birthing center or home birth. Some parents don't get to choose and end up having their baby in the car on the way (no, seriously, this happens). What I did know was that it is one of the most pure, most joyful, and most captivating moments we can experience. And baby girl Miller's birth proved every bit of that to be true for me. Every. Single. Bit.
I was in awe of Melissa as she gave every bit of her strength to push, to breathe, and to be in the moment. My heart melted as I watched Matt never letting go of his wife's hand and always speaking positive, affirming words to her. I cried along with them as their daughter let out her first cry and was gently laid on Melissa's chest. As I looked around the room and saw that I was surrounded by some kick butt women I felt empowered. We can grow humans in our bodies, birth them naturally, AND be doctors who deliver them. Ladies, we are awesome.
The Miller's had an incredible group of nurses supporting them through out Melissa's laboring process. They were attentive, caring, and especially encouraging during the pushing process. And her doctor was just as great. She won extra points when she presented the baby to the parents (and to me for photos) Lion King style. You'll see it as you scroll down. It's pretty awesome.
At the age of 87, Michelangelo was quoted saying "I am still learning...". Clearly I'm not 87, nor am I painting masterpieces on chapel ceilings but I am always learning. This was my first birth and I learned quite a bit. I learned that I won't pass out in the labor and delivery room (win!). I learned that photographing a birth with a film camera is not so crazy (win!). And I learned that I absolutely love (LOVE LOVE LOVE) documenting this incredible event in a family's story. In fact, as I left the hospital that afternoon I was excited for the next one! Today, I can say that I have photographed three births and have two more to come! And yes, I am SO EXCITED!