I titled this post the "Strength of a Mother" because I really stood at this birth in awe of this woman's power the entire time. This was her 3rd birth (it's also the 3rd birth I've captured for her) and all I could think about was how much stronger motherhood has made her since we've met. Labour is not easy, and it's not made any easier when it goes slowly. 3rd births are always unpredictable but this was her longest "active labour." She did "it" all with such grace and force of mind, body and soul.
What a crazy incredible year this has been. It started off in January (while I was vacationing in Hawaii) when I got a call that I won "Best Birth Image of the Year" from International Association of Professional Birth Photographers. This was a huge honour and I interviewed with People Magazine and The Today Show while sitting beachside.
And here are my FAVOURITE images of the year... from my own birth. These were taken by the talented documentary photographer: Kyla Ewert (located in Abbotsford, BC)
I normally create a year end video, but have been busy mothering this year, so I will leave you with my highlight film from last year... THIS IS WORTH A WATCH...
Happy New Year!
Birth is a journey through many emotions and feelings. Anticipation. Excitement. Frustration. Intense. Pain. Pleasure. Comfort. Hurt. Confusion. And then... Ecstasy. Pure Joy... Feeling whole. Feeling complete.
I'm grateful to this beautiful mother for allowing me to witness and capture her journey. She was strong, brave, vulnerable, and powerful. She's a fierce example to her 2 little men.
I have so much love for this repeat mama. You can view her first birth story HERE. When her labour started, her husband was away on the island for work. She called him and told him it was time. Then she spent her day walking with friends and watching her birth story from her daughter's birth. Her husband took the last ferry home and got just in time as her contractions started getting regular. It was as if her body waited for him. He got home, packed up the car and drove her straight to the hospital.
I met them when they arrived at the hospital. Her body was still in early labour as they walked through the main doors but as soon as she arrived upstairs into the maternity ward, her mind relaxed... she was in the place she would birth her baby and her body finally took over and entered active labour.
Her labour was fast. She was strong. Nearing the end she tried nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and we all had a laugh as she totally relaxed. Moments later she was pushing.
This birth story still makes me cry and laugh when I watch it. This goes down as one of my favourite birth stories just because it shares so many different emotions.
A home-birth during the day, in her kitchen, supported by her husband, daughter and mom... it doesn't get much more peaceful and natural than that. This birth is a beautiful story of a strong mama and loving family that welcomed a surprise baby boy into their home.
Then I returned to their happy home 2 days later to take some family photos and herbal bath magic.
Jaydene is a birth photographer located in Abbotsford, BC. She has photographed over 100 birth stories. To see more birth stories, click here for Best Birth Moments of 2016.
I'm so honoured that I won the International Association of Professional Birth Photographers Image Competition with an image that so many women can relate to. You labour at home as long as you can, and then you realize "it's time" to go to the hospital. Or in the case of this mother, she was planning a homebirth but had some complications arise and needed to transfer to hospital mid-labour. That car ride can be intense for both mom and dad. Mom closes her eyes and feels every bump and turn along the way while dad puts the pedal to the medal and runs a few yellow lights to get there as quick as safely possible (or not safely.)
I had been at home with this family capturing their labour journey. When the midwife came to assess her and recommended transferring to hospital, I knew I would travel with them in their car. This mom was having her 2nd baby and even though she was 8cm when she got in the car, I knew how quickly things could progress for a second time mom. As we sped to the hospital (a 10 minute drive) I could hear her contractions getting stronger and knew she was already 10cm and ready to push even before we got to the hospital. Thank goodness she stayed calm and breathed through all the intense desire to push. I was sitting in the back seat praying this baby would not be born in their car. At the hospital entrance door, we pulled up a wheelchair for her but she found it more comfortable to walk. She walked herself up to maternity ward and since our midwife called ahead, she walked straight into her delivery room, crawled up to get checked and her midwife confirmed she was 10cm and ready to push. She was asked to lay back, but found it more comfortable to squat and moments later, her beautiful surprise daughter was born into her arms.
Watch the full emotional birth video below.
~If you recognize this family it's because I photographed their first birth and submitted a photo from their first birth story into the 2014 image competition. Watch their first birth journey here.
~Jaydene Freund is a birth photographer and film maker located in Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Canada. She has photographed and filmed over 100 unique birth stories over the last 6 years.