A birth story can start any number of ways, and this one starts with one of the most amazing, loving, supportive couples I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I actually met Chita in my prenatal yoga class, and had unknowingly already connected with her wife, Yana, over our shared passion for birth photography. Isn’t Philly great that way! Yana and Chita are also amazing wedding photographers in their own rite, and I was so excited when they asked me to document their baby’s birth story.
Chita started having prodromal labor the Sunday before she would be 42 weeks. Yana and I kept in touch over the next few days as we all waited for early labor to set in, and on Wednesday I got the call to head to the birth center at Lifecycle WomanCare. Contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, and these mamas were understandably excited to be finally getting closer to meeting their baby. Once there, the midwives confirmed that labor was progressing and baby was doing great, so Yana and Chita settled in to the work ahead of them. Over the rest of the day, the beautiful connection between these two women was so inspiring to watch. Using their skills from Hypnobabies class, they tirelessly worked through every contraction/wave, laughing and resting together in between each round of effort.
Both sets of grandparents stopped in to contribute their love and support for their daughters, and even made a run to Wawa for us to bring in lunch. Throughout the day, the midwife and nurse came in to check on baby and offer suggestions of ways to help labor move along. As evening settled in, contractions started slowing down. After trying a few more tricks and discussing the situation with the midwife, they made the difficult decision to transfer to the hospital, just about 14 hours after checking in at the birth center.
We packed everything up and drove over to Bryn Mawr Hospital in the light snow that had just started to fall. While waiting in preparation for an epidural, baby’s heart rate began to drop with each contraction. The staff calmly explained what was happening, and tried a few things in hopes that baby would do better. When things didn’t improve it was decided that they were to have a c-section. Yana waited anxiously for them to reunite her with Chita in the OR, and not long after we heard baby Zoya’s wonderful first cries. Yana got to have skin to skin with their beautiful new daughter while Chita’s surgery completed. Zoya had no trouble latching on and was able to breastfeed happily snuggled in with her new mamas. As they wheeled everyone to recovery, all four grandparents came running down the hall to embrace them, so relieved and overjoyed to see their daughters and granddaughter together as a family at last.
Where a birth story is going to end is anyone’s guess, that’s part of the magic of birth! Even though this birth day did not go “as planned”, these mamas brought their baby girl into the world with strength, bravery and love, and I was so proud to be there to witness it all.
If you’d like to chat with Rachel about capturing your baby’s birth story, please be in touch.