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the first birth i photographed

the first birth i photographed


may 2010:

I had been a birth doula for six months, and this was the second birth I had attended since becoming a DONA certified birth doula. Every once in a while I picked up my camera and took a photograph. We spent all day in early labor at their home--walking, laughing, and walking some more.

We got to Atlanta Medical Center that evening, and spent all night trying to get labor going. By 5:00 am it was finally time to fill the tub for a waterbirth. The music playlist had been incredible all night long, and as the tub filled with water, Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman" filled the room...then as mama eased into the water, John Mayer was crooning "Your Body is a Wonderland." The nurse readied the room, and said "Uh, Margaret {Margaret Strickhauser, the Midwife on call}, she's CROWNING." Margaret spun around on her stool and just smiled. Mama had been in the water less than 20 minutes. As if choreographed, the sound of Lauren Hill's "To Zion" began to play. As the sun rose over the Atlanta skyline, baby girl was born into her lioness mama's hands.

When I got into my car a couple of hours later, I put the key into the ignition and sobbed. The beauty and power of what I had witnessed and supported overtook me.

I was hooked on birth, and I haven't attended a birth since without my camera. I love that I am a birth doula and a birth photographer. I can actually show mamas the amazingness that I witness.

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