I am so, so grateful and humbled each time I am asked by someone to capture an important moment in their life. In September, I was asked to capture a birth. I gave birth to four children of my own and at the time, I had only witnessed my nephew being born in 2012. But its a little bit nerve wracking to be there capturing one of the most intimate and important moments in their life. I agreed to do it, because I felt this unexplainable connection to the Mama and Daddy to be. I first met Chanele and Michael at a shootout back in June. The lovely Chanele was a maternity model for us and boy did she kill it. She rocked that golden glitter gown like a boss!!! Michael even got in on some maternity photo action!
Chanele was set to be induced on September 11, 2016. Since we knew (give or take) when baby Bodhi was going to make his grand entrance, we had arranged for me to arrive at 10am the morning of the birth. I was so anxious/nervous/excited that I left my house over an hour early. Ha! I got a coffee from my absolute fave place, Dutch Bros. and a GF banana nut loaf to go with it. Since it was a Sunday morning, I got through the line at Dutch quicker than expected and I was on my way to the hospital. I sent a quick text to Chanele to let her know I was on my way, and off I went. I was literally like a kid on Christmas morning. I was so damn giddy. Like, annoyingly giddy. I arrived to the Phoenix Indian Medical Center suuuper early and I sat in the parking lot and ate my banana loaf waiting for another text from Chanele. The text that would say that they were ready for me to head up to the room.
As I sat waiting, I had so many emotions running through my head. I was nervous that I would miss a key moment in the day or that I wouldn’t capture the day absolutely perfectly. I was thankful. Thankful that my job allows me to connect with people on such a personal level. I had never met Chanele and Michael other than during our shoot, but they felt a connection with me and trusted me to capture this beautiful moment in their life. That is so very special to me, and I truly am honored that they chose me. As I sat there in my car pondering, listening to the Adele’s 25 album blaring in the background…my phone buzzed with a text from Chanele. They had administered the IV of pitocin and she was on her way to babytown! I don’t remember walking up to the room or how I even got up there. I got to the door, took a deep breath and opened it. All my nerves were gone as soon as I walked in. I was welcomed with hugs and introductions to the rally crew that was there to cheer on Chanele. Michael’s Mom, sister, Dad, and Step-Mom were there as well as 3 of Chanele and Michael’s friends. The overall feel of the room was so uplifting and happy. Everyone had a smile on their face and you could feel the amazingly good vibes surround you.
To the right of Chanele’s hospital bed, there was a beautiful memorial table set up for her late mother. Gorgeous sunflowers floated in a bowl of water on top of a purple scarf stretched across the table. On top of the scarf lay beautiful amethyst and quartz stones amidst photos of Chanele’s Mother and Chanele as a baby. It was a beautiful tribute to her. She was very much there with us all in spirit, waiting for Bodhi’s arrival.
We all sat in the room as the hours ticked on, watching contraction after contraction go across the monitor and yet Chanele continued smiling and laughing several hours into her labor. I was amazed at her strength. She would barely flinch at the mountainous peaks that were showing up on her contraction monitor. Everyone sat in the room talking and visiting with each other. Chanele and Michael even played around on snapchat for a while. You could feel the anticipation in the room as the hours went on.
After several hours of labor, Chanele finally started feeling strong contractions. There was almost no break in between them. They were slamming her one after another and her labor got really intense, really fast. It was time for the rally crew to head out of the room, except for both the Mama’s. Chanele had an incredible support system there for her while she was giving birth. Not just one, but TWO Mom’s who have been through childbirth before and know what you’re feeling and what you need. And Michael, who was absolutely incredible every step of the way. It was so beautiful to watch these two labor TOGETHER. So, so beautiful. From the time pitocin was administered, until baby Bodhi was born it was a total of 6 hours. It was an intense fast labor on a day filled with love. Bodhi was born with a true knot in his cord, a true rarity. He is one special little boy for sure, and I feel so privileged to have captured the day that he was born. Hope you enjoy some of my favorite photos from his birth story 🙂