"meant to be"

2020 was a very challenge year for everyone, but for "us" birth photographers was especially difficult. I personally struggled a lot and my creativity was below ZERO! When the reality hit i decided that was time to make myself busy and put an model-call in one of my local moms groups for some breastfeeding sessions and the response was incredible! One of the moms was Laura, she was 22 weeks pregnant and still breastfeeding her 28 month old daughter WOW!!!

Long story short the session went really well and we end up creating a beautiful friendship. Over the coming months leading to the birth she ask me if I would be her Doula, she already had a birth photographer booked before she met me and both of us agree that I was going to be needed as a Doula and not a photographer for that moment.

It was a privilege and an honour to be present during Maia's birth...witness the Love between Laura and her husband when she was pushing her baby out brought tears to my eyes and it's something that I never want to forget.

Laura's birth story is an example of persistence, positive mindset and woman strength. She wrote her own story and she lived it!

photo by @deboraht.photography

Birth of Maia,

This is a story of trust, healing and love. 

Being pregnant during pandemic times has not been easy as it required me to adapt constantly to the circumstances, as these times brought us less contact with family and friends, less physical contact, but at the same time more opportunities to connect and being present with the whole process of growing my second daughter inside me. I had very clear wishes of how I wanted to birth my baby and they were the same wishes I had with my first child, at home in our intimate space living and truly feeling the whole process. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible with my first child as I developed severe pre-eclampsia and needed to be induced.

I was determined and focused throughout the whole pregnancy to prepare to receive my daughter in a calm and respectful environment, accepting that it might happen either at home or in hospital, but I believed I could do it.

At 36 weeks I was confirmed that baby was breeched, I knew that she was in that position at least from week 30, so after we explored our options we decided that the only chance to birth at home was going through an ECV (that luckily was successful) so we were back with the plan of the homebirth. During the following days I was feeling quite anxious thinking that she had turned back again and the uncertainty of where my birthing cave was going to be wasn’t allowing me to relax. Three days before the 39 week’s appointment I started feeling some gentle cramps in my lower tummy specially at night. Every day I focused on my positive affirmation cards, and spoke with my baby, telling her that no matter how or when she decided to come I would fight for welcoming her surrounded by love and peace.

In my routine appointment at 39 weeks, my midwife Gloria confirmed that baby was head down and that was already quite engaged, and in that moment my whole body relaxed. That was the green light for me to birth at home with my partner, my doula Deborah, my birth photographer Sarah, and my midwife from the rainbow team.

That night I didn’t sleep well. I experienced period pain and a dull ache on my lower back, but I didn’t think at the time that was the beginning of labour. We woke up in the early morning and I felt different, with quite a lot of energy although with the same little cramps I had during the night, without any rhythm to call it contractions. I was feeling calm and quite excited to see if that was going to progress or not. We had breakfast and I started to release the mucous plug and I could feel a little leak of amniotic fluid. I texted Deborah and Sarah around 9.30 to let them know that something was happening but that it could be nothing, as there was no rhythm in the cramps. We also finished preparing some food for our daughter just in case it was “the day” and starting moving things around in the living room to create more space for the pool if the process progressed. 

During the following hour the cramps become contractions and soon the intensity made me stop and breath, it was then when I started checking how often where happening and I realised were consistent every 5 minutes and lasting around 45 seconds. 

I contacted the hospital and because I couldn’t reach them as the lines were busy I called my midwife Gloria and let her know that things were moving faster than I thought. She was off that day as she just went to sleep after a night shift. During the phone call with her I had some contractions that made me stop talking, she waited and listened to me, encouraging me to breathe through it and she told me: “no worries, I am getting ready and I will be with you shortly”. Gloria was my main midwife through both of my pregnancies and both Joel and me always felt really calm and reassured with her as she knew us very well, so when she said she was coming I felt immediately so calm and happy to have her with us. I also contacted Deborah again, and she was already getting ready, and Sarah, as she had a longer journey from North London.

At that point I was a bit worried as things were progressing too quick, as it was just Joel, my daughter and me at home. Shortly after, at 11.15 my lovely doula Deborah arrived and started monitoring the contractions and they were every two minutes. She helped Joel to finish preparing the pool and soon after I went inside that was heaven! The hot water helped me so much to control the intensity of the pain, as well as making me focus on my birth affirmations that were hanging in the wall from some fairy lights. 15min later Gloria arrived and she did and internal assessment just because baby had been in breeched position for so long and she needed to confirm when the process starts that baby didn’t do a last minute summersault. And that one was the only examination I required, she didn’t even gave me numbers on how dilated I was or anything, I didn’t ask neither… (I just though on that now, haha), she only said “I can feel baby’s hair”…

A bit later a community midwife arrived, followed by the friends that looked after my daughter Ariadna, as well as Sarah the photographer. I relaxed fully then, and went into a very intimate, warm, focused zone where I don’t remember much. I wasn’t aware of people around me apart from Joel, my partner, and my Doula. In every surge I remember focusing on my affirmation cards as well as Joel’s words: “every wave is bringing closer our baby to your arms”, and the very gentle reminders from Deborah to let go, to breathe through…

After an hour more or less contractions started to space out quite a lot, although they were still strong. Gloria made me come out from the pool because the water was getting too cold, she proposed me to go to the toilet. I will not lie, I thought that was crazy as I was so comfy in the pool… We got into the toilet and something shifted in my pelvis, inside me, I started feeling a lot of pressure at the back and couldn’t stay sitting, neither standing, only on my knees. We came back to the living room and I remembered Deborah applying a hot water bottle on my lower back at the same time Joel was holding me and hugging me. I felt so safe and loved. A couple of minutes after contractions kicked in getting again closer to each other and really strong, and I felt my bones opening and at that point I knew she was close… I went back inside the pool and for a brief moment I got scared, I knew labour was ending and my mind went back into Ariadna’s birth where after having her and the placenta my womb didn’t contract and I had an haemorrhage that made me feel I was leaving this world. I couldn’t believe that that fear was coming back after all the healing work I did for the past couple of years. On that moment I asked Joel if everything was going well and he replied saying “everyone is very happy and smiley, our baby is almost here”. I was kneeling and I felt I just needed to make that process even smaller, safer and warmer… I needed to get closer with Joel, we spent the rest of the time hugging and kissing and that allowed me to let go fully, emotionally and physically, gave me strength, confidence and energy not to push or rush the process, just to live and truly feel the end of my baby’s journey inside me.

I felt her head crowning and an intense burning sensation. I remembered at that point one of the affirmation cards with a flower and how the petals were opening and suddenly the head was out. Straight after I remembered a clear sensation of my baby turning inside me, and that was a very deep and crazy powerful and pleasant feeling and soon after she came into this world swimming. I lifted and hugged her. She was so awake, her eyes so big, we were staring to each other. She was perfect.

After some cuddles, Ariadna came and met her little sister. I came out of the pool and I sat on the sofa, waited for Maia to latch on my breast at the same time we waited for the placenta to come out. We had delayed clamping of the cord and Joel cut it. Gloria reassured me constantly that the womb was contracting well and that no bleeding was happening.

And that was the end of the birth process, a closure on the circle that I started with my previous pregnancy, I birth my second daughter as I always dreamt, surrounded by love at home, feeling I reborn as a woman and as a mother. 

photo by @deboraht.photography