*A NOTE FROM JESSICA: Sorry guys but this is a long one. I tried to narrow things down with this birth story, but it just didn’t do it justice. So grab a cup of tea and settle in for some beautiful birth photos of Emercin’s first moments earthside.*
Births. Are. My. Passion.
Everything in my being loves it. Waaaaay before I was a birth photographer, when I was expecting our first son, I was obsessed with the subject of pregnancy and birth.
I found it absolutely fascinating! I got my hands on any and all materials that I could find. I think I read my What to Expect When Expecting book at least 3 times through and eventually graduated to materials from authors like our wonderful Ina May Gaskin.
It has been one year since I started taking on birth photography and it has been the most joy filled year of my career as a photographer. There are so many of you already on my birth calendar for 2019 and I can. not. wait. to watch your birth stories come to life!
I met Emercin’s mama (who also happens to be named Jessica) back in this past November to discuss her birth plan. She is from out of Greentown Indiana and I’m based in Kokomo Indiana, so we met up at our local Mo Joe coffee shop to chat.
Jessica had been waiting for Emercin’s arrival for a very long time. He is everything their family was missing. After years of waiting, he was finally coming and they wanted all of those first moments preserved. She had a planned csection date already determined for St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel Indiana. There was a flu restriction, but luckily once she listed me as her second support for the hospital, we were good to go!
Or so we thought…
In the other hospitals that I’ve photographed csections in, there was one rule, and that was to stay at least 12 inches away from anything draped in blue. Which is pretty much everything. You can walk around the OR, you can follow baby to the warmer across the room, you can get a lot of different angles and shots and whatnot, just as long as you don’t touch anything.
But St. Vincent in Carmel has a tad different set of rules.
The day came for Emercin’s arrival and I was crazy excited. As you can see by the ridiculous smily iPhone selfie above. The sky was sprinkling some snow as I grabbed some detail shots outside of the hospital in my parka. Afterwards I met up with Jessica and her husband in their recovery room.
We put on our scrub caps and blue booties to prep for the OR.
I introduced myself to the nurse. Jessica and myself asked her to confirm the anesthesiologists rules for the OR just to make sure we were good to go…which is when they informed us of a change.
St. Vincent Carmel requires that csection supports remain seated the entire duration of the procedure. Meaning that myself and Jessica’s husband, would not be allowed to move from our seats or follow Emercin to the warmer after his birth.
Apparently last year, a Dad got woozy when he stood up to follow baby to the warmer, which caused him to fall and hit his head pretty bad. So the policy is now that everyone stay seated, even seasoned csection birth photographers like myself.
We. Were. So Disappointed.
Disappointed is an understatement actually. This wasn’t what Jessica was informed of throughout her pregnancy and she had asked several times what the policies were because she knew she wanted a birth photographer for this experience. However the nurses, anesthesiologist, and doctor all confirmed that this was indeed the policy.
But Jessica didn’t let this bring her spirits down on such a wonderful day. We all stayed excited and positive and knew that this was just a small hiccup.
I wasn’t *too too* worried. I have long long long arms and I can free hand my camera for some shots if I have to. But I knew that I WAS GOING TO GET THOSE SHOTS for Emercin’s mama. I am not a rule breaker and I fully intended to do as the hospital asked. But I was going to stretch every which way necessary to get those memories(I had a few yoga poses in mind).
So we headed off to the OR and me and Dad watched Jessica walk down the hall. She said her goodbyes and minutes later we joined her.
I was a little nervous, not sure what to expect. I honestly didn’t know if we were going to be allowed to sit next to Jessica, how high up the drape would be, if it would be a blue drape or a clear drape, or if Emercin’s warmer was really far away from where we would be seated, etc. So the moment those OR doors opened for us, I started shooting, because I knew that the moment I was seated, that that seat would be my permanent stake out from that point on.
If you are having a csection but would like to be at a hospital that allows a birth photographer, remember this name.
30 minutes prior to the surgery, Dr. Dupler found out that Jessica had hired me as her birth photographer. And when he found that out, he knew that I wouldn’t be close enough to Emercin to get the shots that his mama so desperately wanted of him in the warmer or even of his birth. And Dr. Dupler knew that I wouldn’t get the shots that I needed, if I had to sit in a chair across the room from Jessica. So he rearranged the entire operating theater, just moments before Jessica came in, so that she could have her birth story written.
He lowered the drape to just 6 inches off of Jessica’s chest, and sat me right next to her with Dad on the left and with the baby warmer on my right. I was less than 2 feet from Jessica and less than 1 foot from Emercin’s warming tray. The rest of the photos you are about to see, starting below to the end of this blog post, were taken while seated in an operating room chair.
I’ll end today’s blog by saying this. I don’t meet a lot of doctors like Dr. Dupler. But I’m finding more and more doctors like him and I’m proud. Our birth industry still needs a LOT of work. But it starts with doctors like him.
He took the time out of this day to see a wish of a patient. A wish that he didn’t have to fulfill. But he did. Because he cares. He put his neck out that day and went the extra mile for us on Emercin’s birthday and I am so so so grateful for him and his surgical team that day.
Here’s to Baby Emercin, his Mama, his Daddy, his family, and Dr. Dupler.
10 pounds 4 ounces! Mom and Dad had a laugh but didn’t seem surprised. Dad was especially proud as I’m sure you can tell.
Welcome to the world Emercin!