Since I’ve been shooting births this year I have begun to develop a gut feeling about when I should leave for the hospital. Of course every birth is different, I may aim to leave my house when a mother is 4-5cm and then end up waiting 12hrs once I get there before the baby arrives. Thankfully that was not the case with this birth, quite the opposite.
Jess and I have been friends for the past 3 years and have kids close in age, so this birth was a special one for me. She was set to be induced in the morning on Thursday and being that it was her 3rd baby I knew I shouldn’t drag my feet. We were texting all morning (well, almost constantly for the 2 weeks leading up to her birth) and she told me she was getting her epidural and feeling good, “no need to rush” as she put it. Even though she was only 3cm, I just felt like I should get going. Thankfully I drove the 30 minute drive easily (sometimes those drives to the birthing location can be so stressful!) and arrived with time to spare. I was gathering my things (although later I discovered I had locked my keys in the car) and taking my time when I got a text saying I should probably leave for the hospital because she was feeling really uncomfortable and at 6cm. Jess didn’t even know I was already making my way to the elevator.
When I walked into the room it was clear that the epidural was not working properly and she was in a lot of pain. The nurse kept telling her to just breath because she wasn’t full dilated yet. I had a feeling that wasn’t the case, so once again I trusted my gut and began documenting the day. Her husband Caleb had stepped out to grab some coffee while the epidural was working, but hadn’t returned yet since things had gotten intense. Right about the time that the nurse decided to check her again (she was fully dilated, fully effaced and ready to deliver) Caleb showed up, but the doctor still hadn’t arrived. The nurse told her she needed to wait (ha!) until the doctor arrived and luckily she was able to as he threw on his scrubs and basically only had time to catch Lucy.
20 minutes from the time I took my first photo, Lucy was born. Thank goodness I trusted my gut, or I would’ve missed it completely! She was the most alert newborn I had ever seen with such a sweet disposition. Everyone could not wait to meet her!