If you are a crier….be warned. Tears of joy might be streaming down your face by the time you are done with this blog. I am tearing up already and I haven’t even started. It is always an honor to be invited into a birth. It is deeply personal but they are my favorite sessions and it brings me such joy to see a new life enter the world. One of my closest and oldest friends (since we were 10) had me at the birth of her first born and if you are new to the blog, you might want to hit pause and go check out the blog for their first baby (click here). It for sure pulls the heart strings! Now that you are caught up, let’s talk about the newest addition to the Stutzman family.
The hardest part about being a birth photographer is the unpredictability of it. Especially with this baby as Stacy was due right around Christmas. Thankfully (for me) they scheduled an induction for Friday, December 21st. Stacy was high-risk for many reasons related to the birth of her daughter, the fact that it was a geriatric pregnancy (whoever came up with that term should be tortured) and the fact that they thought the baby was REALLY big so they were worried about letting her go past 39 weeks. She labored most of the day and was making decent (but slow) progress. I got to the hospital just after dinner and had a great evening hanging out with her family and laughing and catching up with them. She paced the hallways and tried to get labor to progress. Finally she got an epidural in the hopes that she could rest a bit and so they could give her medication to make her contractions stronger. We all got a little bit (read as maybe an hour of interrupted) of sleep and when they checked her early in the morning it seemed like she was progressing really well.
Her family came in and surrounded her and prayed over the baby, the doctors and the delivery. It is always such a special moment to be there when families pray together. She started having a lot of pain again and they had to re-do her epidural (the same thing happened during her last delivery as well). After she was more comfortable it was time to start pushing. The baby wasn’t very far down so they wanted her to work at pushing and see if the baby would come down. Stacy was a rock star and pushed for quite a while to no avail. They knew the baby was fairly large (they guessed around 9 pounds) and they were worried that he wouldn’t fit through her pelvis. The staff at St. Joseph’s hospital was AMAZING and it made me a little teary when the doctor came in and sat on the edge of the bed with tears in HER eyes and told Stacy that she thought a C-Section was the best thing for Stacy and the baby. What a caring doctor! Stacy and Jeff took the news really well with great attitudes and were prepared to meet their baby in the safest way possible for both Stacy and the baby.
Thankfully the anesthesiologist (by the way….I just spelled that correctly without the help of spell check….yay me) was awesome and allowed me to go into the OR so that I could document the birth. Big shout out to Sarah, Stacy’s nurse, for advocating for me and for being a complete rock star! She was giving me pointers on where to stand, moved equipment so I could get better angles and told me how to move around the OR to get the best shots. The staff was amazing and pretty much let me have the run of the room so I could make sure to get all the pictures I needed. Thankfully I had done a C-Section before so they knew (and I knew) that I wasn’t going to pass out or have any trouble. Also, big shout out to Jeff who was worried before their first baby that he might not do well in the delivery room. He ROCKED it with their first baby and was even better this time around. He went all over the OR standing up and jumping in with the baby and didn’t even bat an eye!
Again….the staff at St. Joes is amazing and took time explaining every step of the process to make sure that Stacy and Jeff were comfortable with everything and tried to make it the best experience they could. Here is her anesthesiologist explaining everything before they started. Stacy remained calm and handled the changes and discomfort of the situation with flying colors, even as she was throwing up being wheeled into the OR.
Aren’t these two cute? Holding hands, being affectionate and relying on each other for support the entire time. There is nothing like the bond between a man and woman who are about to become parents.
All smiles and ready to meet her little boy! This woman is amazing! It was so cute that during this time as she was a little bit out of it…..she kept telling all of the doctors and nurses about our friendship and how we had been friends since 4th grade.
Finally it was showtime!!! At 1:25 pm, they pulled this sweet baby boy out of his mama. Can you believe this shot? Stacy really wanted a plastic drape so she could see her baby boy as soon as he was born and they were happy to oblige her request. I am so glad that modern medicine allows for things like this. It made the c-section more personal for Jeff and Stacy and they got to see their baby RIGHT away! Isn’t that so wonderful!?
From there, they brought the baby over to the warmer where 4 nurses were there to make sure that he had everything he needed. After just a few minutes when the baby was doing amazing the buzz of the nurses slowed, 3 of the 4 nurses left the OR and it was time for Jeff and Stacy to meet their baby boy.
Jeff was there every step of the way and comforted and loved on his baby boy!
They cleaned up the baby, measured and weighed him. Look at his grip on his daddy’s hand (cue the tears).
He was a big boy and weighed in at 8 pounds 15 ounces. Only one ounce away from 9 pounds and was 21.5 inches long. No wonder he wouldn’t fit!! Can you see the weight measurement on the screen behind him?
Babies are always so wide-eyed and alert when they are first born. I love to gaze into their big eyes.
After just a few minutes it was time for him to meet his mama and have a little skin to skin time. These pictures are my favorite.
Look at his little hand. As if he was saying “I am A-Okay”.
Once again….it is always my favorite to see how a woman looks at the father of her baby. Such love and wonder in her eyes.
Unfortunately, Stacy was a bit nauseated and they had to take the baby away. They took him over to the warmer again and got his foot prints and swaddled him up (those nurses are amazing at getting a tight swaddle).
Look at those big feet. They don’t even fit on the birth certificate!
Finally it was Jeff’s turn to hold his son and to meet the first boy of his family to carry on the Stutzman name!
He quickly went back to Stacy’s side and I caught this sweet moment. Baby in one arm, hand in his wife’s.
At this point I had been at the hospital for over 20 hours with virtually no sleep. So I headed home and I hadn’t even heard the baby’s name yet. They wanted to tell their family first and because of the c-section it took awhile for her to get to see the family. I didn’t hear until the next day that they named him Graham Josiah. Isn’t that the cutest??
After Christmas I was able to get together with Stacy (and snuggle Graham…which may have been my favorite part…no offense Stacy) and show her the photos. She was so thankful to have the photos because she said she was so out of it during the c-section that she barely remembered any of it.
Stacy was so thankful to have these photos to help her “experience” the birth to the fullest. I have heard this over and over again with my birth clients. Everything happens so fast and you are so in the moment that it is tough to take it all in. Also, there are so many things that happen that you can’t see if you are the mother. Often times you are delivering the afterbirth or getting stitched and you don’t get to see all of the details like the footprints, measuring and weighing (depending on how the hospital does it). Jeff also mentioned that he loved having me there because it took the pressure off of him to take pictures and he could be fully present in the moment so he could support Stacy and enjoy the miracle of the birth of Graham.
It was my joy and honor to be there for Stacy and Jeff (and all of my birth clients) and to capture these precious moments.