Early in my career, I photographed Staci’s first birth and it’s still my longest one. It’s also the birth that really showed me how strong a woman can be. It was over 27 hours and she pushed longer and harder than I could imagine was possible. You can’t blame her for wanting a different birth for her second. I spent lots of time telling her, “It won’t be like your first birth. It will be faster. I promise.” What the hell do I know?! Ballsy words, Erika… But I figured if I said it enough, it might come true.
Thank God, I was right or she may have killed me.
Staci’s water broke and because she had been 7 cm for a couple of days, she immediately went to the hospital. She was laughing during the check-in and still able to talk through the contractions. She took a walk and then tried to sleep. The nurses told me, “We’re all shocked she’s walking around.” I wasn’t. It’s Staci.
She closed her eyes and 8 minutes later she was in active labor. There was no slow climb or lengthy labor. It was fast and intense. Staci was raw and powerful once again. She was ready to meet her second son and he wasn’t going to wait 27 hours. 40 minutes later she pushed three times and Oliver was in her arms.
She told me later that natural birth is traumatic. “I don’t remember saying things or doing things. I don’t really remember him on my chest right after. It just feels traumatic” * I completely agree. I think your mind shuts down and prepares you to handle the pain.
She might not vividly remember Oliver’s birth, so here’s what I want her to see in her photos:
She doesn’t do anything in life half-assed. She does it passionately and goes all in. She is strong physically and mentally. When she leaned on her husband, he held her up and gave her more strength to continue. When her body told her to push, she listened. And when her son was born, she didn’t take a break. She reached for him and never let go. The love was fierce and immediate. She was yet again breathtaking and magnificent.
“Repeat Client” sounds too clinical for birth work. A woman lets you see her during her most vulnerable moment. She cries in pain. You see her naked and sometimes shaken. Her family accepts you, feeds you and makes you comfortable. You’re forever linked to one of her best moments. But most important, she allows you to see her true core. Then she calls for a second time. “You want to see all that again?”** Oh I do, Lady. You aren’t a “Repeat Client”. You’re a friend.
Congrats, My Friend.
Welcome to the Boy Mom club! We’re a feisty group of ladies. You’ll fit right in.
*I’m paraphrasing, but you get the point. I’m sure there were a few explicit words tossed in. It’s one reasons we get along.
** Not even close to Staci’s text. It was hilarious and crafted with colorful words…
*** Are you in Columbus? Visit Staci’s studio Bluespot Yoga. Witness how strong and powerful Staci is outside of labor and delivery. Someday I’ll write a post about how yoga has changed my life. It deserves a post, but I can’t seem to get the words right. For now, I’ll let her video speak.