She is here! Sweet Simone made her arrival after more then 24hrs of labor and Momma worked hard for her VBAC!
I met Venita and Sai at a quaint coffee shop in the heart of the Snoqualmie Valley on The Ridge. It was a perfect place to meet. I showed up early got set up and tried to calm my nerves, I asked to meet them there to talk about the possibility of photographing their birth. I know it was a lot to ask, it is a tremendously private affair and a very personal decision to allow a complete stranger into their birthing space. They understandably were apprehensive but open to the discussion and by the end I felt fairly confident that they were on board. I wanted to ensure that they knew that I was there not only to photograph the birth of their daughter but to also occupy a safe and freeing space in the birth team. I did not take the responsibility lightly and wanted to serve them to the best of my ability. I wanted to reflect back to them their bond, the beauty of bringing this life into the world, the one that they cared for a nurtured and prepared for for 40+ weeks. Birth is tough, is beautiful it is raw and real and I wanted them to be able to, after the fog of labor and delivery and the days and weeks following had faded to reflect back on what they had walked through together, what they had accomplished.
We met again in the wee hours of August 21, 2017 at Swedish Medical Center in Issaquah, Washington. Venita had called me at 3:33am to let me know they were on their way to the hospital to meet with the midwife team. They had determined that they were to stay and so I arrived shortly after. All I could think was, what a beautiful day it was to have a baby! August 21 was the eclipse day here in the PNW. Just the day before Venita and I were texting back and forth and she had said, wouldn’t it be amazing if she was an eclipse baby!? Simone decided to wait a little longer but she was born on exactly the day she was supposed to be.
One of the things that Venita said during a "slow" time we had spent together at the hospital waiting for labor to pick up was, "this is both of our experiences, we are a team". That was powerful and a thread that weaved through their labor and delivery story. Not once was she alone, not once did she not have Sai to help support her and allow her to work through each contraction not once did she waiver in her determination to bring Simone into the world. There were so many beautiful moments during this birth experience, the way Sai stood strong, the way Venita confidently labored that was right for and her body, the way the nurse and midwife teams worked tirelessly to support her and empower her to make the decisions that were right for her and her family. The "we are a team" was uttered one more time in that birthing room, at five past midnight on August 22 when she was given the go ahead to start pushing.
It was moving, powerful and humbling and I am so great full to both Venita and Sai for allowing me to walk through this journey with them and I hope they find comfort, pride and empowerment through these images.
Welcome to the world sweet girl. You are perfect. Your Mom and Dad loved you the moment they knew about you and could not have loved you anymore the moment you were born. It was beautiful. You will be strong like your Momma and steadfast like your Dad. Their love is constant. My hope for you is that you will live in your truth, learn from your mistakes, take pride in your accomplishments. Lean in, be passionate about something, trust the universe. And more importantly, I want for you to be happy, not just the smile on the outside kind of happy but the true contentment deep in your soul kind of happy. Dream big, live bigger.
With All My Love