Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Paris Family home water birth

I’ve witnessed a birth before. I was 17. It was equal parts amazing and horrifying. It did not make me feel warm and fuzzy about ever giving birth. I’m sure that had less to do with the sterile hospital setting and more to do with being 17.

I was invited to photograph a home water birth after a colleague of mine had to leave town and her expecting family was running days past their due date. I have to admit, I crossed my fingers for the chance to photograph the event. Big thanks to Jill McNamara for sharing the opportunity.

At 3 a.m. I received a call from a calm, expecting father. Bryan Paris said it was time. When I arrived, Megan was in full-blown contractions. The Paris family had an inflatable pool set up in their dining room. The kitchen table became a workspace for midwifery supplies. A hose from the bathroom ran down the hall and into the dining room, filling the pool with warm water. Megan’s mother and Bryan were sharing the duties of bringing fresh wash cloths to cool off with, ice water to drink and back rubs to relieve pressure.

With Bryan in the water at her side, Megan began the pushing process around 3:30 a.m. She seemed to find a calmness in the deep breathing, teeth clenching and pep-talking to her soon-to-be baby girl. At one point, she rubbed her stomach and spoke directly to her baby, reassuring her it was time. The breathing deepened as the pain increased. By 3:50 a.m., Maya Leigh was born. She entered the warm water of the pool and took her first breaths as she lay on top of her mother’s stomach.

Maya was wrapped in a towel and brought into the Paris’ bedroom, where she immediately started breast feeding. Within minutes of her birth, Maya was in her mother’s arms and in their bed at home. In the morning Maya would meet her big brother, Finn, 2, who slept the entire night not knowing his little sister was being born in the dining room.

Thank you to Megan and Bryan for inviting me into your home and introducing me to Maya. I can’t thank you enough for giving me permission to share these personal photographs.

And yes, this experience made me feel warm and fuzzy about giving birth.

Paris Family Home Birth. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Paris Family Home Birth. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Paris Family Home Birth. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Maya Leigh is born. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Joy. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Getting a good look at Maya. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography


Grandma gets a look. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography


Hello. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography






Bryan, Megan and Maya. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

All eyes on Maya. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Maya finds her voice. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Maya weighs 8lbs. 3oz. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Grandma and Maya. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Maya fights a nap. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Baby Feet. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Baby Cheeks. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography


Paris Family. 2011. Tempe, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

3 comments:

  1. jill! i am in tears looking at these beautiful photos and imagining you experiencing them. what an incredible event to be a part of.

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  2. it was incredible to have her there documenting it & we are forever grateful to you!

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  3. Loooooove these pictures. The "Baby Cheeks" one made me burst into tears. Great job!

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