Let's talk about birth photography. Only recently has this genre really started to get more popular. It kind of amazes me that this monumental experience, unlike anything else any human ever experiences, has only recently started to be photographed! Think about all the other milestones of life we commemorate in photographs, and yet the one that delivers us into this world has rarely been documented. Until now. We're starting to realize, or at least publicize, just how amazing, beautiful, and MEMORABLE births of humans are! But we're only starting. Most of the general population doesn't even realize this is an option, and those that do are often skeptical, hesitant, or simply reject the idea. And understandably so, I mean, for my first child, I was traumatized at the thought of having to spend hours on the birthing table naked from the waist down. The doctor would see me! The nurses would see me! Heck, I made my husband swear he'd stay by my head (he didn't listen). And when the midwife asked me if I wanted a mirror to see what was going on "down there", I shuddered at the thought.
And then the contractions started. I quickly forgot which end was up, what was showing or covered, and could really not care less!
By my third child, I think I may even have been on board for some birth photography, had he arrived closer to his due date (he was 12 weeks early).
Caitlyn, however, had it all figured out much sooner than me, and will now have the images to remember every detail of her second child's birth story for the rest of her life. Read Caitlyn and Trevor's story below. (Warning: some images are sensitive in nature)
1) Can you share with our readers a little about your family? Where are you from originally? How did you and Trevor meet and end up living in Mystic, CT?
"We are originally from Homedale, Idaho, a small town close to the state capital, Boise. We grew up together, he was two years older, but I graduated with one of his younger brothers! Our family has had a ton of history together. Our grandparents were best friends when our parents were growing up, each family even lived in the same house at different times! Lots of crazy history, so it was just bound to happen. We got married when Trevor was stationed in Bangor, Washington with the US Navy, and we moved to Mystic, CT in September of 2016 with our daughter Charlotte who was 6 months old at the time."
2) What was your pregnancy with Tony like? Did you suffer from any morning sickness? Have any strange cravings?
"Tony had me throwing up from the day I found out I was pregnant to giving birth (literally you saw it all!). It was a little harder than with Charlotte, just for the fact that I was chasing a toddler and working on my feet doing hair during this pregnancy. No weird cravings though. There were times when I wanted something specific, and I NEEDED it right then and there! But let’s get real, that still happens :)"
3) Which part of your pregnancy did you enjoy the most? And the least?
"I am one of those women who don’t enjoy most parts of pregnancy. So I would have to say that the only part I ever really enjoyed was feeling movement inside my belly! That was the only time that I really felt connected to each baby amid the chaos of every day life. I was also very sick during the pregnancy, so most of it wasn’t pleasant. This pregnancy I also really tried to focus on every little moment I had with Charlotte because I knew once the baby came she wouldn’t be the only one getting the attention."
4) You mentioned you had Charlotte at the hospital. What made you decide to have a home birth for Tony?
"I had an amazing birth with Charlotte and a picture perfect pregnancy! I was able to follow my plan of having an unmedicated vaginal birth with no intervention. I knew even then that a home birth was something that appealed to me, even though it wasn’t an option at the time. When we moved to CT, one of the first things I did was research my options for my second pregnancy and was excited when I learned Birth and Beyond was an option. Even before I was pregnant, I attended a Q&A with them to get more information and Trevor and I knew right away it was the perfect fit. One of my good friends is about to become a midwife, and we had spoken with her numerous times about the benefits of it. Trevor and I were both on board with the path we chose and couldn’t be happier with our journey with Birth and Beyond! It was amazing being able to bring our baby into the world in the comfort of our home, with our daughter by our side and even our dogs :) It just made sense to us!"
5) Birth photography is becoming more and more common now, but there's still a lot of mystery surrounding it, and skepticism from women who may feel hesitant to have such intimate moments recorded by a photographer, and potentially someone who is essentially a stranger. Can you tell us a little about what made you decide to have Tony's birth photographed? And why you chose dacia vu photography to have that honor?
"I had been contemplating having this birth photographed for a while, and it wasn’t until I spoke to you on the phone about newborn pictures that I pulled the plug and said yes to birth photos as well. I belong to a couple different groups on Facebook, such as Birth Without Fear, where women post their birth stories along with pictures sometimes. I always felt so empowered watching women birth their babies through photography, regardless of how they chose to birth. There is a sense of accomplishment watching a baby be born and watching a true miracle occur. Knowing this may be our last pregnancy, I contemplated having it photographed. I am a pretty open person as it is, so I was never worried about the “intimate” photos that would be taken. To me, those intimate photos are what makes each experience so amazing and beautiful. I honestly didn’t do much research in choosing a photographer, I just had a gut instinct to go with dacia vu photography, and my gut feeling was 1000% correct!"
6) What was your birth experience like with Tony? How did it differ from (and/or how was it similar to Charlotte's? (aside from the obvious and significant fact that one was in the comfort of your own home!)
"The two births were almost identical! I was actually shocked at how similar they were! Tony’s labor was a few hours shorter, and I was definitely more sick (vomiting and dehydrated) with Tony as well."
7) If you could do it again, would you choose to have Tony at home? Would you choose to have it all recorded in photographs?
"I wouldn’t change one thing about Tony’s birth and experience. It was truly one of the most amazing moments of my whole life and I am beyond thankful to have it all recorded to remember forever!"
8) What's been the grossest thing you've experienced since becoming parents?
"For me, it was the moment I lifted Charlotte in the air as a baby and she spit up right in my mouth. I followed her lead right onto the floor! Trevor has had the pleasure of tasting pee, so it’s safe to say we aren’t fans of any liquids coming out of our babies!"
9) What's the sweetest, most memorable moment of parenthood for you so far?
"For both of us it has been birth and holding Charlotte and Tony for the first time. There is nothing like that first snuggle with your newborn! We have had many sweet moments with Charlotte, watching her become who she is has brought us more smiles than we can count!"
10) What was your first thought when you found out the sex of your baby?
"We were both SHOCKED! We were sure Tony was not Tony haha. We had prepared ourselves for a little girl the whole 9 months! Waiting to find out the sex until the birth was a decision we would make again. It made the birth that much more special!"
11) I think most parents of two or more children would agree that two is the hardest number, it certainly was for me! I've learned to let a lot go since having my third child (suffice it to say laundry rarely gets put away these days). What are your thoughts on that opinion?
"So far I totally agree! It has been a challenge to balance both kids, especially since Charlotte is only 2 and still needs help with most things. I think the most challenging has been helping her understand that when I am nursing her baby brother I am unable to just stop and help her with something. We are all learning to to balance it all! But Charlotte is also a great help and LOVES to be next to Tony most of the time. It has been so great to watch her step into the big sister role and makes me excited for the years to come!"