Pregnancy and birth play an integral role in my identity. I work with birthing women each month, witnessing the transformation of these round taut bellies into soft spaces that provide freshly born babies with the perfect home. When I found out I was pregnant again in November, I had a hard time not telling everyone that we were expecting. As soon as those two lines showed up, I began to imagine what my birth would look like...who would be there...who would take my photos...where I'd decide to welcome my second baby into the world.
The fantasy grew until I was confronted with what felt like unending waves of nausea and exhaustion. As I packed up my camera bags to head to my next birth, I'd coach myself through breathing just so I could make it from the front door to the hospital without throwing up. And then I'd sit with my amazing clients as they labored and birthed their babies - amazingly, the nausea and exhaustion would almost entirely cease when I was in a birthing space. The oxytocin in the air must have been the perfect antidote to my sickness.
I had planned on taking images each week to document this pregnancy. But then I got sick, and then the new year came along with a slew of beautiful births, and now it's Spring time and I realized that I wanted to remember these waiting days as clearly as I could. With images, with words, with physical keepsakes. Because the waiting is precious, just as the laboring is precious. The work we do to reach the finish line is worth remembering, worth capturing, worth preserving.
I'm six months pregnant now. I feel our daughter (yes, she's a girl!) move throughout the day, but not nearly as much as I felt Lucy. I have an anterior placenta, which annoys me and causes slight, over-anxious worry. I'm working far more than I was working when I was pregnant with Lucy which means unpredictable hours, late nights, and incredible, life-changing moments. There are probably a few people in my life who think that I'm overdoing it right now...and I know that there's an element of truth in their concern. But when I'm with birthing women, I'm reminded of just how miraculous pregnancy and birth is...and I feel even more connected to this small creature growing inside of me.
On most days, I imagine her placenta and cord pulsing. A weird and unusual visualization for anyone but a midwife or a doula or a birth photographer. I never got to see my last placenta, and I'm almost as eager to examine it as I am to count my daughter's toes.
Lucy is aware that our family is growing, and she's talked about her sister from the moment we found out we were pregnant. She was unwavering in her belief that the baby was a girl...and I couldn't have been more happy to tell her that yes, she was going to be a big sister. She tells her sister, "I love you" on most days, and remarks on the growing size of my belly often. I worried that I wouldn't be able to love this baby as much as I love Lucy, but I can already feel my heart growing and expanding just as I watch her excitement and anticipation. Our family has so much love to give...so much room to grow.
I'm receiving my prenatal care at Baby + Co, a beautiful birth center here in Denver staffed by some amazing professionals that I also get to call friends. I want to give birth in the water, and so I wear a beautiful water birth pendent around my neck to help me visualize and prepare my mind for what lies ahead. I gave birth to Lucy in six hours (which is on the fast side for a first time mom) and I'm anticipating that this birth will be even faster. And yes, I'm having a birth photographer (two!) as well as my best friend, Kelsey, at the birth. My sweet family (mom, sister, mom-in-law, and niece) will hopefully be able to move in and out of the birth room while they watch Lucy at Baby + Co. At six months pregnant, I think about this very special birth day often, and I can't wait to see it unfold.
And yes, I love taking pictures of my belly and my body, which I know some people find off-putting. The good news is that I really don't care what most people think (as evidenced by some of the birth photos I share). I do care about honoring and respecting and celebrating the journey that my body is on. I want to remember the shape of my belly, the stretch marks that come, the way weight distributes as I grow closer and closer to delivery. It's beautiful and fascinating, and for those that are offended...I imagine I've already offended you before. Haha.
So thank you for reading and caring and supporting this journey. I can't wait to share more with you!