Photographing My Friend’s Homebirth

What an honor to be asked to photograph my friend’s homebirth. It has been a dream of mine for a long time, though I have only mentioned it to a couple of people.

Kathleen’s due date was April 6 (my daughter’s birthday). I had my phone with me day and night, praying I wouldn’t miss her call or this amazing opportunity due to being in the shower or our running errands. I woke up through the night all week making sure I didn’t miss a text or a call.

But still, I slept through it. April 15, 5am, I missed her text. I was so tired from not sleeping all week. At 5:10am she called, “Kiersten, I’m sorry it’s so early, but I’m in labor!” I jumped out of bed and stumbled around to get dressed. My husband, now awake, too, graciously made me some coffee as I threw my stuff together!

Thankfully, we live close. I arrived shortly after the midwives. We were greeted with smiling faces and anxious pups.

Bob, Kathleen’s husband, was finishing filling the birthing tub and was offering the midwives and I tea and coffee.

I stood back and watched everyone; taking it all in.

The midwives were laying out their supplies and setting up their stations. They were gracious and calm. You could tangibly feel their strength, wisdom, confidence, and assurance in every moment each and every hour.

Bob was a gentle giant, for lack of better words. His kind strength was ever-present in how he held and supported his wife and children. Nothing seemed to shake or move him. Giving whatever type of support anyone needed, especially Kathleen. He filled up her tub, gave her water, held her hand, wiped her brow, rubbed her back. He was there for his children, from the oldest to the newest; making breakfast, greeting them with hugs and strength, and protection. Papa Bear is maybe a more fitting description than gentle giant. You decide!

Then there was Kathleen. Her strength was evident from the moment she greeted us with smiles, laughter, and hugs to the moment she pushed with every fiber of her being to bring her healthy son Earth-side. She never complained. She never screamed. She rolled with each contraction, breathed through the pain, and listened to her body and midwives. I cried watching her strength. I cried as she felt so tired and wasn’t sure she could finish. I cried as she held her baby. This is “Mama”. This is the strength of a woman. This is what being a Mom is all about–listening and doing what is best for your children, going on even when you don’t think you can, finding strength from those around you and that within, being present in life’s joys and pains, and bringing forth miraculous life. Strong Warrior aka Mama Bear.

Their children woke up. They were overjoyed to meet their new baby brother, a little shy of 8 am! Giddy children-whispers filled the air as they could hardly contain their excitement. They asked so many beautiful questions, they said how proud they were of their Mama, and they spoke so sweetly to their new brother. The (now) middle child sang a song to his little brother to soothe him.

My heart melted as they all gathered around this little miracle, hearts bursting with love and joy. The love overflowing.

Kiersten Patterson photography

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