Using FaceTime during birth is always an adventure as a doula! What a gift, though, for a dad who happens to be overseas when his child is being born! Doula Andrea Gerdes shares not only about technology that brings Dad in from afar, but also the value of birth photos in situations like these. This mom has such foresight in wanting to create the best memories possible for their child's birthday -- memories that will be treasured for a lifetime.
When I first met Tara, I was immediately impressed. Here was someone who had done her research and was really committed to having an empowered birth. She was taking Bradley classes, had chosen a great midwife group as her care providers, and was now looking to hire a birth doula (me!). There was one big difference between Tara and all of the other clients I had worked with before: her husband would not be attending her birth in person because he was in the military and stationed overseas.
This didn't mean that Tara was going to be alone for her birth, however. She had assembled an amazing group of people to help her through her labor. Her mom was her main support person and Bradley partner. I attended as her doula, and her nurses and midwives also provided great advice and assistance. Her sister-in-law attended the birth and was in charge of making sure that Tara's husband was able to participate, not in person, but still present through technology (hooray for FaceTime!). The final member of Tara's "dream team" of birth support was her birth photographer, Alissa Bray of Alissa Bray Photography.
I have always loved birth photography but this was my first experience attending a birth where a professional birth photographer was present. I loved seeing the photos afterward and I was impressed with the way that Alissa was able to capture some of the special moments of this birth. I decided to talk to Tara after the birth about her experience with birth photography to see how it had impacted her personally.
I already knew that the reason Tara had chosen to hire a professional photographer was because she wanted those memories captured for her husband. She said that she found out about about birth photography the way most of us discover new ideas these days -- via the internet. She chose Alissa because she was excited about working with Tara, and she was affordable; and she was able to do Tara's maternity, birth, and newborn photos all for a great price.
When I asked Tara how she felt when she saw the photos of her birth, her first response said it all: "I cried." Tara had a fast labor which she said often felt overwhelming, but the pictures helped her to see the experience from the outside, and to know what the rest of us who attended her birth had seen. She was very pleased with the photos that Alissa had taken. She said," She was able to capture the emotion, the bond between me and my mom, and the unique aspects of my birth." She said that the images also meant a lot to her husband and made him very emotional when he saw them for the first time. When I asked her for her overall experience with birth photography, she said, "I am so glad that I did it. It was worth every penny."
Tara shared with me some of her favorite photos from her birth to share with you. I hope you love them as much as I do. I was so honored to attend Tara's birth and witness her strength and resilience. In my next blog post, I will be sharing three local birth photographers and their work with you. After this experience, I am an even bigger fan of birth photography, and I highly recommend if you are giving birth soon that you look into it and see if it is something that you would like to do.
Andrea Gerdes is a certified birth doula (BAI) and trained postpartum doula. Her journey to a career in birthwork began with her own births, each of which was very different and special in its own way. As a doula, she is passionate about sharing evidence based information with their clients so they can make the best decisions for them. She believes birth to be transformational and she enjoys supporting women and families through this transition.
Andrea lives and works in Charlotte, NC. When not attending to the needs of her clients, you will find her hanging out with her amazing husband, homeschooling her three wonderful kids, drinking lots of coffee, or reading one of her many unfinished books.
To learn more, visit her website, or her Facebook page.
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)