When Bonnie and Mike contacted me (two days before my twins were born!) to document their birth story, I was at a fork in the road about continuing to photograph births. I worried that I would have too many responsibilities with all my kiddos to continue being on-call and doing the thing I love so much.
Bonnie is a fellow photographer, and was so patient waiting on me to be in a stable enough state to do our first video chat. Something about our chats gave me a feeling that I was supposed to keep following this passion of mine. I took that sign and I ran with it. I will forever be grateful that Bonnie and Mike reached out when they did and trusted me to photograph their birth story. They put me firmly back on the path to following my heart and working hard to make it work. Not to mention that I gained two new friends in the process!
Bonnie and Mike were excited about their first pregnancy, and had planned on birthing at a birth center. Unfortunately, Bonnie developed gestational diabetes, which risked her out of the birth center’s care. Although super bummed, they took this change of plans with as much grace and humor as they could muster. Because of her gestational diabetes, Bonnie was induced at 38 weeks.
“I was induced at 38 weeks. I tried everything to get things going naturally for a week before: evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea, curb walking, acupuncture, and none of that did anything. This was disappointing because I did not want to be medically induced. We only told my parents about this scheduled induction because they had to watch our dogs, it was a surprise for everyone else!” -Bonnie
After enduring a really long induction and a grueling labor, the medical team decided to perform an emergency C-sectionTurns out, baby had a velamentous cord insertion. That’s a pregnancy complication that happens when the umbilical cord doesn’t insert into the placenta correctly. Healthcare providers usually diagnose it in the second trimester, and it can cause serious complications later in pregnancy and during labor. Nobody knew that Bonnie and Mike’s baby had this cord anomaly, though, until after he was born! In that sense, the C-section was even more likely the safest outcome for everyone.
“The medical induction for me was complicated, and the first steps were relatively unsuccessful. When we got to Pitocin, that made my contractions go from zero to almost 100 in minutes. I thought I would be able to breathe through the pain with the help of my wonderful husband, but after an hour… two… three? Who can keep track during that? I finally admitted I needed an epidural. When that started working it was such a relief and I wish I had made that decision earlier! Soon after that, baby’s heart rate started dipping after contractions and my midwife got concerned about that. It wasn’t long before they decided that I needed an emergency cesarean birth.” -Bonnie
Bonnie and Mike’s plans for a vaginal birth at a birth center took turn after turn and ended in a very much unwanted cesarean. That being said, their belly birth was incredible. The team was kind and honored as many of the couple’s wishes as they safely could. Both parents were able to do skin to skin time while in the OR, and the team even gave a placenta tour behind the curtain!
“I remember my first glance of baby! They pulled the curtain down during the cesarean so that I was able to see the birth. After just a few minutes they were able to give my husband baby and put baby on my chest.” -Bonnie
Baby Hawthorne “Hawk” Cassidy was born weighing 8lb 10oz and perfect in every way.
After the family got settled at home into their new normal, I showed them a slideshow of their birth story while on a video call. I love this part of delivering birth galleries because I get to see their reactions to the rawness of the photos, and hear the things that they were thinking during different moments. Sometimes, when they hear my side and see what I saw, it helps clarify things and pieces of the puzzle that were fuzzy become more clear. I asked Bonnie how she felt after looking at her photos for the first time, and she told me this…
“Looking at the birth photos for the first time was super emotional and special. Even the handful of images that Kylie sent over the same day were incredible and we were so happy to have something professional to share as our birth announcement. We were glad that we got to view a slideshow and our gallery during a video chat with Kylie. Even though our birth was somewhat traumatic and didn’t go according to “plan” the birth photos are beautiful and something we will treasure forever. In addition to my actual scars, these photos are physical proof of what I struggled through and survived.”
“Even before hiring a birth photographer, I knew that the photos that would mean the most to me would be those of my husband supporting me and interacting with our newborn. Those were indeed my favorite. Especially since Kylie captured many moments that I had no idea happened.”
“Kylie was such a welcome and comforting presence in our birth space. We were so grateful to have her there as an extra support person. Even if we hadn’t met her beforehand, we would have been totally at ease with her. Kylie’s photography work wasn’t distracting at all during the labor. My husband and I valued Kylie’s expertise as both a mom and a photographer so much. We cannot thank her enough for her support and the fantastic photos she delivered. I will be recommending birth photography (with Kylie) to every pregnant person I know.” -Bonnie
I didn’t think about it at the time, but while I was editing Hawk’s birth story I realized he was born in the same OR as my twins were just a few months prior. You can read more about that story here. I wasn’t awake for the birth of my twins, and that was very traumatic for me. Being in that same OR and witnessing the amazing birth of this little human has been incredibly healing. If I had been able to witness it, I imagine my twins’ birth being very similar. I think most things in life happen for a reason. I think Bonnie, Mike, Hawk and I were meant to meet when we did!