I feel very fortunate to have met Tamara and Devon as they made their last preparations before becoming parents for the first time. They contacted me about birth photography because they are extremely new to the Fairbanks area; they only moved to Eielson about six weeks before I met them. Devon is originally from the South, but his wife has him beat: she’s from Australia! Since they are both so far away from home and from all their family, they wanted someone there to capture the moment for them so they would be able to share it with everyone, ’round the other side of the world. Tamara actually also made one of my very favorite points about birth photography: since I would be there, Devon was free to focus on and participate fully in the birth of his child, without having to worry about taking pictures (or forgetting to take pictures!).
I was immediately extremely excited to shoot the birth. Well – I’m super excited to shoot every birth. But this one held some firsts for me: it was to be the first birth I’ve ever attended at the military hospital. Also, Tamara and Devon both simply glowed about their baby – Tamara told me, “We’re just so honored to be parents.” (A few eyes may have teared up at this point.)
We did not know it at the time, but this ultimately would also be the first c-section I have photographed. Tamara meticulously researched natural childbirth during her pregnancy, and she had a beautiful waterbirth planned, and I truly feel honored to have been there to see how her care providers attended to and fulfilled her wishes in every way they possibly could. Everyone in that room gave it all they possibly could – no one more than Tamara. Every time I look through these pictures, I am again amazed (and, admittedly, a little choked up) at her strength and dedication, her refusal to give up, and her joy that she was at the precipice of meeting her baby.
Ultimately, however, baby made it clear that this bath thing was not happening, and after hours of pushing and a second trial of pitocin, the decision was finally made that a c-section was necessary. Later, both parents recounted to me the audible “POP!” they heard when the baby – whose sex was a surprise (it’s a girl!)- was finally dislodged from mom’s pelvis, where she was firmly stuck, her little head cocked ever-so-slightly (and ever-so-sassily) to the side. Devon was able to wheel tiny baby Jozannah right back to their room while Tamara was still in the OR, joining us shortly thereafter.
When Tamara held her baby for the first time, she said, “Oh, baby, you are the love of my life.”
The love in the room was palpable. I’ll let you see for yourself.
Welcome earthside, Jozannah Maria!