Ok lets start, birth photography is not for everyone. My husband can’t even watch a well known ‘childbirth’ programme without scrunching his face up and wanting to turn the channel over. Many probably didn’t even know such a thing existed! In recent years, birth photography is growing in popularity and according to Babycentre UK around 1 in 5 women would consider having their birth photographed.
I have had two emergency c-sections and if I'm completely honest I can't really remember much detail about the births apart from a lot of people being in the room, feeling extremely dizzy due to the pre-eclampsia, me being allowed a quick cuddle, before both of my babies were whisked off to intensive care. I look back now and would have loved a to have had some photos seeing my boys coming into the world and the emotion captured forever. Many mums can’t really remember the birth or that first special moment when you are handed your baby. This is one time in your life you will never get back and most are quickly captured on an iPhone.
The images I capture are not your typical portrait sessions, birth is unpredictable, the lighting is usually poor and it’s very difficult to plan what’s going to happen. I photograph labour and birth unfolding in a journalist style and usually in black and white.
I got to photograph my first ever birth last year, and it was just incredible. Firstly it was one of my best friends who asked me and secondly it was a twin birth! I have to admit I was extremely nervous when we started discussing the subject. Would I be in the way during such an intimate and personal experience? How would I be a fly on the wall in such a small space? I was worried incase I missed the birth for some reason and I was even worried that I might pass out haha!
Kate was induced on the morning of the 1st October and the midwife broke her waters. As previous labours had been rather quick, as soon as she phoned me I got a taxi up to the hospital to start photographing the labour. When I arrived Kate was already in a lot of pain. I set up my camera and just acted like a birthing partner would, holding her hand, rubbing her back and trying to be as supportive as I could. Matt, Kates husband was amazing and knew all of the right things to say to keep her calm.
Kate delivered both twins naturally and the experience was just incredible. I cannot begin to explain the range of emotions when you witness, and capture on film two new lives entering the world, but for me it was the most amazing day. I witnessed Emily and Olivia taking their first breath, their first cry and their first feed.
I feel extremely grateful to Kate and her husband Matt for allowing me to share the above images with you. I will treasure the birth of their daughters as one of my favourite ever moments working as a photographer.
Every birth is as unique as every baby born. For anyone reading this blog and wondering if a birth photographer is right for them, feel free to give me a call and we can have a chat. Rachel xx