Over the past three years, it's come to my attention many times that women have a mistaken notion about birth photography as it relates to a cesarean birth. I hear, sadly "I would love birth photography but I'm having a c-section". It's as if they don't think they deserve to have their baby's birth day documented simply because the birth is not going to be vaginal. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Birth photography is documentary in nature. It's story-telling via a visual media. I am there to document all the anticipation, all the wonder, all the joy-and all those things are present in a cesarean birth! There is a lot of debate over c-sections right now. Issues such as the overall rate in America, what is elective vs. what is medically necessary, even a pretty hot and heavy battle over choosing c-section for a first birth without indication. There are women who prefer and choose cesareans and there are others who feel forced into them. Regardless of how the baby comes out, however, the day is just as special, just as magical, just as IMPORTANT to both mother and child. As a birth photographer, it is my job to capture the story as it unfolds and I am able to do that in both surgical births and vaginal births. In fact, I will even go so far as to say that birth photography becomes even more vital in the case of a cesarean birth and my presence can play an even more important role, regardless of why a client is choosing to have her baby by c-section.
While surgery is performed, Mom is going to miss a lot. That's just part of the process. She's hooked up to machines and wires and is unable to follow her baby as he or she is observed, bathed, wrapped, and cared for by medical staff. In the optimal setting Mom is alert and aware and baby is brought to her quickly. Even in this perfect scenario, you'll miss a lot that I am able to capture on camera and show to you later. And let's face it-life doesn't always go the way we plan. Drugs make memories hazy, babies need help and have to leave the room for care, surgery may take longer than anticipated--and you'll ALWAYS miss the reaction of your family and friends in the waiting room! These are moments that I am able to be present for by proxy. In most cases I can follow baby and keep shooting and you can rest assured that while it's impossible to see it for yourself at the time, you won't miss it forever.
And while many cesarean births are wanted and planned out, some are not. In the case of a planned vaginal birth turned c-section, the images given to the client later are often a way to help heal the hurts and disappointment. Mom may have forgotten about all the joy and anticipation and these images can bring those feelings back to her. She may be able to make peace with her experience in part because the slide show helps her replay the emotional journey she went on that day.
In today's technologically advanced age, MOST hospitals are allowing births to be photographed regardless of their location or mode of delivery. And if photography isn't allowed during c-sections at your hospital, you as the consumer can go a long way toward making sure your desires for professional photography of your birth are met. I am always happy to talk to your care provider or hospital staff about what I do and show samples of my images. I am also more than eager to rest any fears they may have about compliance with hospital protocols. I strictly follow the rules set in place for every one's safety!
During a planned cesarean birth I will arrive at the hospital when you do. I'll document all the pre-surgical prep. Gowning up, taking meds, getting monitored, being wheeled back. Then I will stand quietly near you while the surgery is being performed, shooting the events as they unfold. After baby is here, I'll continue capturing all the first moments, and accompany Dad out to tell family about the new arrival! Then it's back to recovery as you begin the process of bonding with and meeting your beautiful baby! When siblings and relatives arrive to meet the new baby, I will be there to record the tears, smiles, and precious ooh's and aah's as the new addition becomes part of the family. I wrap up a few hours postpartum and then you get a beautifully laid out slide show of your images set to music plus digital files that are yours to print if desired. I also offer bound books of birth images that tell the story of the day your baby was born. These are especially nice if you also book your maternity and newborn portraits with me!
So, to wrap up, birth photography isn't just for home births or vaginal births, or "other people's" births. The birth of your sweet baby will only happen once, and a cesarean birth is just as wonderful captured by a professional birth photographer as a vaginal birth. No, we won't be documenting labor but the story remains the same-joyful anticipation of a miracle about to enter your life!
If you live in the DFW Metroplex and you'd like more information about hiring me to attend your birth, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214.434.0807 and I will be happy to discuss details and check my calendar for availability. I can also sometimes assist with referrals around the country, if you are outside of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
Cesarean birth is absolutely worth documenting so don't let it stop you from contacting me!