This birth story actually starts the afternoon before when I happened to run into Emily and Christopher out with their two older boys getting ice cream. We chatted for a bit, joking about how her due date had just passed. And with the thunderstorms rolling through Philly they were surprised she hadn’t gone into labor yet. Well, sure enough, 11pm that night I got a message that Emily’s water had broken, and an hour later I got word that they were on their way to the birth center in Bryn Mawr.
With their second baby, they only just barely made it to the birth center, so none of us wanted to risk not making it there in time. I hopped in my car and was there by 1am as Emily was just getting into the tub. The midwives at the birth center, Lifecycle Womancare, were absolutely lovely. They gave Emily the space to move as she needed, stepping in occasionally to check on the baby, but mostly letting her do what her body needed. She moved around the room as she needed and we all just followed along. Christopher was a wonderful partner, always there with support and love, and the two of them made an amazing team.
When it was time to push she became totally calm. In between contractions we were all cracking up as she ribbed Christopher about forgetting her homemade popsicles. But with each push she was completely focused and slowly, slowly, brought their third little boy, Jackson, the rest of the way into her arms. Baby boy needed a little extra help getting some deep breaths, but once the midwives helped clear him out he showed us just how strong his lungs were with some mighty cries.
Right away Emily and Christopher started marveling at their new son, his ears, his mouth, who he resembled most, and how wonderfully hairy he was. Once Jackson was finished letting us know his lungs were strong, he latched on to nurse, and then Emily got to have her “best shower of her life” while Christopher and Jackson got some skin to skin snuggling time. Weighed, measured and footprint-ed, Jackson was all wrapped up and ready to settle in with mom and dad for a well earned rest.
I was so inspired witnessing this incredibly strong mama birth her baby. What an honor to be in the room as Emily and Christopher brought their new little boy into the world.
Keep an eye out for their newborn session to see the rest of their amazing family and how perfectly baby Jackson fits right in =)
Rachel Utain-Evans is a Philadelphia Lifestyle and Documentary Maternity, Birth, Newborn and Family Photographer. If you’re interested in capturing your story, please be in touch!