Precipitous Birth - it happens | Seattle Birth Photographer

Sometimes babies come quickly. I know, we all think of labor as hours (even days) long. And often it is a gradual, slow process - especially for a first time mom. But birth is unpredictable. And sometimes those babies come FAST!

So what happens if the baby is born before I arrive?

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A precipitous birth is one in which delivery happens within 3 hours of the start of contractions. I’ve had one myself and it is INTENSE.

If your birth is precipitous, then that is the story I tell for you. It often involves me walking into the room mere minutes after a baby is delivered — still damp and snuggled on the chest of a somewhat bewildered mother.

I photograph the relieved smiles, the looks of disbelief, the beautiful initiation of breastfeeding. While it's super disappointing to miss a delivery for a family that has hired me to document the entire labor story, sometimes we just have the story that we have. And a shockingly fast birth will never be forgotten!

Clients who have a precipitous delivery receive the same amount of photos as usual plus a hand-designed album documenting that incredible birthing day.

Little Ezekiel was born exactly three hours after his mama was induced. No one expected it to go that fast, but a nice warm bath certainly can do a number on your labor pattern. I arrived 7 minutes after his birth, and this is the story that unfolded from there:

Grandpa is a NICU nurse, so he had to give the newest grandson a once-over. I love it! Then there were prayers of gratitude and blessings for the new family before everyone settled in to sleep. The next day Ezekiel had A LOT of family excited to welcome him.

This child is so cherished. It warmed my heart to see him handled with such love and care by his many adoring aunts, cousins and grandparents. Beautiful. Welcome to earth, sweet Ezekiel. We’re all so glad you’re here.

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Goyal Family | Seattle Family Photographer

I’ve known Ena since we were freshmen in high school.

Shout out to all the cool kids on Speech and Debate Team!

I first photographed her sweet family when their oldest was just a bump in the tummy. And now look at them - two spunky girls and a houseful of laughter. I have a weakness for those cheesy grins and a refusal to look at the camera. Little kids keep me on my toes and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My friend, your family is so beautiful. Thank you for inviting me to document this moment in time.

Canalichio Family | Seattle Maternity Photographer

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It’s such a pleasure to photograph families on the precipice of welcoming a new child. There’s joy and excitement, and frankly, naiveté on the part of the older sibling to be. An oldest child myself, my heart goes out to all the young ones about to be displaced as the center of their parents’ world.

Just kidding, friends. It’s true, adding another child does rock the family dynamics — but in all the best ways. Siblings are a gift to one another. A built in friend and confidant, a reliable sidekick for all the misadventures of childhood. No one challenges you and prompts your own growth quite like a brother or sister. I can’t wait to catch up with this delightful family again after baby is born and see what looks different, and what is still the same when three become four.

Fast Fact: Maternity sessions work best when you are around 32 weeks pregnant. If you’d like to schedule a session, send me a message and let’s chat about what you’d like to capture about the weeks of waiting for baby.

Tessa's Birth Story | Seattle Birth Photographer

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Baby Tessa kept everyone on their toes. Contractions started at 32 weeks gestation — the same time her older sister was born. So into the hospital went Katie for steroid shots, magnesium and a few days of monitoring. No one thought she’d stay in until her induction date. But she did! And the surprises did not end there.

Katie labored like an absolute champ. Contractions aren’t known for being pleasant, and pitocin contractions even less so. The sensations of labor are very intense, and every woman needs a solid birth partner. Someone to squeeze your hips, remind you to center your breath, and whisper words of encouragement. Katie worked hard and knew it was time to get an epidural going to help with pain management. A couple hours of rest (watching video messages from the kids back home) and then it was time to push.

After months of waiting, wondering what she will be like, the uncertainty of pregnancy, this baby is only moments away. Katie pushed their baby closer and closer to this world. A couple contractions after crowning it became apparent that Tessa was not moving any closer to delivery. The doctor called shoulder dystocia and an entire team flooded the room, prepped to help a baby in distress.

Katie cried out in fear. “No!” We all had so many fears and questions racing through our minds. How long will she be stuck? Will she be OK? The medical team was calm, professional, and knowledgeable — everything you need in a moment of crisis. The doctor attempted multiple maneuvers and Cam and I coached Katie to push with everything she had in her. She was so brave and strong and 90 seconds later, their baby was born.

Tessa. 10 lb 7.5 oz.

There was only time for a moment’s connection. Mama’s hands on that warm, damp head. She was whisked away to the warmer for the NICU team to assess. After this intense delivery, Tessa was a bit limp and there was palpable tension in the room as we waited to hear that reassuring cry.

The rate of shoulder dystocia is around 1 in every 100 births, but nearly 10% of all newborns require some form of neonatal resuscitation during that transition from womb to world. It is not terribly uncommon for a new baby to be administered positive pressure ventilation. Warming beds, drying and stimulating the infant, clearing the airway — these are all steps care providers take to ensure a baby beings to use those lungs to breathe outside of their once watery home.

“Good, strong heart rate,” they noted. “This is good news,” I told Katie. She replied, “I heard a pop. I heard a pop when she was born!” Her nurse and OB calmly reassured Katie that everyone was doing what they could, but for a few agonizing moments, there were no answers.

Finally, a cry from across the room.

The best sound in the entire world.

Our collective relief. But none so relieved as the mother who heard her baby’s first wail — a signal that she was here to stay.

When they finally brought that smushy babe over, Katie’s worries melted into tears of relieved joy. Anyone who has birthed a baby knows that nothing compares to the reassuring weight of your child against your chest. They had their first hellos, minutes of snuggling and whispering and admiring this newest miracle. Then it was off to the NICU for Tessa for some X rays and observation.

As a side note, did you see the size of that placenta?! One of the most impressive I’ve laid eyes on. Baby Tessa fractured her humerus at birth, but she has recovered splendidly with just a little splinting. Our bodies are so incredible, and Tessa’s birth reminded me once again why I count myself lucky to be invited to document the birth stories of Seattle families. Birth is sometimes peaceful, sometimes dramatic. But always miraculous.

Haywood Family | Seattle Family Photographer

It's such a joy to work with this family! From that first coffee shop meet up for a birth consultation, we've just enjoyed our time together. Always talking and laughing - being with Russell and LeAnna feels less like work and more like catching up with old friends. I've been photographing little Evangeline since the day she was born, and seeing her at this six month milestone was a sweet highlight to my summer. Simply put - I adore this family and I'm so grateful they hire me to photograph meaningful moments in their lives.

That first photo! When you're OVER your parents being mushy all the time. Ha!

Jaegar Newborn | Seattle Newborn Photographer

When Seattle families hire me for a newborn session, they're not asking me to show the world what their new baby looks like. They are asking me to make art about what this feels like — what it feels like to have a new baby at home when your first baby is still so young. The sweetness and the chaos of wrinkly infant feet and silly toddler antics. The quiet moments of breastfeeding with Mom and shouts of surprise when he pees all over Dad. The dried umbilical cord and impossibly tiny fingernails. These are the details that beg to be remembered. These are the fleeting moments we capture before they are memories only.

I have fall availability for newborn sessions throughout the Seattle area. To schedule your newborn session with Seattle's Favorite Family Photographer, click the button below.

5 Reasons to Hire a Birth Photographer | Seattle Birth Photographer

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There is so much to consider when having a baby. Where to deliver? Which care provider? Epidural or no? Doula? Birth Photographer? It can feel overwhelming, to be sure. And this is all before the baby comes and you are responsible for a new life! In my daily conversations with couples considering birth photography, there are certain themes that come up again and again.

1. Birth is a once in a lifetime event. We photograph important events—it's just what we do. It's one way we show that this moment meant something to us. Our parents posed us with prom dates, we hired photographers for our weddings, we plan to snapshot each milestone of our baby's life. What could be more important than the day of their birth? My daughter's birthing day was far more exciting and emotional than my wedding day. What I wouldn't give to have professional photographs of the first time she took a breath, the first time I kissed her face—those first moments I became a mother and my husband a father.

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2. Birth photography is for you. You grew this baby inside you, you dreamed of this baby, and now you will birth this baby. There is a lot you will miss on the day you give birth. You're kind of busy having a baby! But those small details are so meaningful. I love sitting with women as they look over their birth photos. They see their own strength and fortitude in a brand new way. Many of my clients have found birth photos useful in helping them process their labor and delivery. Whether it was a whirlwind birth or long and slow, dramatic things happen during the birth process—things we don't always anticipate. My photographs illustrate beauty and provide context—often a needed healing balm for new parents. They also give you the chance to just reflect on your own incredible power. You brought a life into the world! It's an amazing feat.

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3. Birth photography is for your partner. My husband was my rock during three very different labors. I've never felt so loved and so held as I did in those hours as we worked together to bring our children to earth. I still remember his steady gaze as I centered myself through each contraction. It's a look I see again and again as devoted partners prepare to become parents. When your baby is born, it's such a gift to give your partner the opportunity to be completely present and engrossed in that moment. Let me photograph your first precious minutes as a family—so you can just live them together.

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4. A birth photographer brings reassurance and support. You may not know which doctor delivers your baby. Will the provider on call be the one you really like? And chances are you've never met the labor and delivery nurse who will be with you during the bulk of your birthing experience. Bringing someone along with you, someone you know and trust, someone who has spoken with you at length about your birthing desires, your fears, your hopes—it really helps you feel supported and safe. As your birth photographer I have a connection with your family and also a familiarity with the process of labor and delivery. Nothing makes my heart soar like hearing my clients say what my presence in their birthing room meant to them.

Whitney was amazing at capturing every moment, seemingly unnoticed. She has an uncanny ability of being in the space while not being distracting, and creating a soft and supportive energy wherever she is.
— Averry
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5. Birth photography is about telling your family's story. I love to tell stories—whether gathered in the living room with friends, tucking my kids into bed, even on stage in front of strangers. But the stories I tell with my camera—those are honest and real and incredibly meaningful. Hiring a birth photographer is about inviting a storyteller to make art from your most intimate moments. The transition into motherhood—it's a doozy. You experience the highest highs and lowest lows. This is why I fell in love with documenting birth. There's no primping or posing or faking it. It's raw and emotional and I've never seen a more compelling story than the day a child is born.

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Whitney and I connected instantly and her warm and calming presence put me at ease. All my concerns were addressed and as promised, she was an absolute ninja. I barely even noticed she was in the delivery room. And the final images? They still make me emotional. I love being able to re-live this once in a lifetime event. And seeing your birth from someone else’s perspective is quite amazing - like an out-of-body experience. We’re so happy to have had these memories preserved. I only wish Whitney was with us for Bowie’s birth as well!
— Shannon

If you're looking for a Seattle birth photographer to tell the amazing story of your child's birth, reach out and let's schedule a consultation! I look forward to capturing the beauty of your story— however it unfolds.

Brimhall Family | Seattle Family Photographer

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Calling all Seattle families! Bring your chubby babies, bring your blankets and meet me on the beach. Even if the sun refuses to peek out, we'll have a grand time. Those rolls, those eyes - have you ever seen a cuter baby?!

Making the Case for Summer Sessions | Seattle Family Photographer

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Summer is magical. As a family photographer in Seattle it's simply heaven. The sun is out everyday, the golden light of evening wraps around subjects and the miles of coastline make a perfect backdrop for capturing family memories.

Family photos normally pop up on people's radars in the fall - gotta get those holiday cards out! But I'm always making the case for the summertime portrait session. To me, summer epitomizes what it felt like to be a child. Carefree, fun-loving, staying outside until the sun goes down. This is the energy I capture in summer sessions - and I can't get enough.

It's dry, it's warm, there's time for dinner before your session. It's the perfect reason to keep the kids up a little late and make memories in front of my camera. I only have two summer family sessions left in 2018. Book yours today!

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Kade Birth -- Seattle Birth Photographer

She birthed her prince right there in her own living room - in the home they will share together. Her grandmother, her sister, her doula, a photographer and three midwives in attendance. She swayed on the waves of labor, breathed her way through. And when it came time to surrender to the utter intensity of it all she did so with the support of the many women around her. She worked and she pushed and when he arrived, she held the greatest miracle in her arms. She is his whole world. She brought him here. And with the same fortitude and courage she called upon in birth, she will guide him through this life. Together for always - mother and son.