My phone rang at 1130 pm, a time of night that I am usually still at my desk, under a lamp, the glow of my computer reflecting in my glasses, winding together birth stories into the small hours of the morning.
But this night, I had fallen asleep to the lullaby of breathing by my 2 & 5 year olds, embraced in the tangle of their wee, sweet limbs. I swam out of my sleep and tried to make sense of the letters on my phone and the nonsensical noise it was making. I answered to hear that a fast-birthing mama was in labor. I peeled myself out from in between the sleeping children, and from under a myriad of plastic-covered library books and dashed outside to start my frost-covered car.
Back inside to put my contacts in, grab my birth bag, and let the dog out and then in again. I called my sister to let her know that we'd be there soon; and back to the bedroom. I lifted both of my babies, who really are not babies, but big, heavy, sleepy kids out into the cold night air and into their carseats. Seat belted my birth bag. Then myself.
Faster than the frigid wind, we drove west, met my sister in the driveway and each carried a cold, confused, half-asleep kid inside. Kiss, run, don't slip. Driving east now, back past my house and further still, over the river, past homes whose chimneys puffed clouds of warm air into the winter night, and to their house.
Being a birth photographer is hard work. Especially in the middle of the night, on 2 hours of sleep when you have to depend on someone else to wake up as well, and love on your kids so you can go be with someone else's family. But there are so many reasons why I continue.
As birthing people, we deserve to see ourselves give birth. It is miraculous and awe-inspiring, and beyond our comprehension while awash in labor. Our bodies are simply, unequivocally, incredible.
But also, our babies deserve to see the depth of love they were born into.
I arrived, and went in, camera ready, and made 6 images before the midwife announced that she could see babe's beautiful hair. And moments later, with what appeared peaceful -- but underneath was nothing short of herculean effort -- this mama birthed the gorgeous baby she