At 8:53 am on Saturday, December 23rd, Beth sent me a text. She had started having contractions earlier that morning and it was baby time. I was feeling the excitement and a bit of pressure as it had started heavily snowing earlier, I was traveling from Windsor and she is known for having quick labours (her midwife didn’t even make it for her last birth)! I wasn’t sure I was going to make it in time, and I drove a little faster than I should have on those snowy roads.
A couple months prior, Beth and I had sat down and talked about her birth plan and her hopes for what I would capture as her birth photographer. She was planning to labour and give birth at home, surrounded by a team of professionals and family. Being a Doula herself and having two prior labours, she knew what to expect and knew what she wanted. Her husband by her side, her oldest son to cut the baby’s cord, and a support team of the best Midwives and Doulas.
I made it to their home and pulled into the driveway where Ben’s dad helped me get my gear through the snow and up the stairs to their home. I still didn’t know if baby had arrived yet, so I slowly opened the door to a busy but quiet room full of people. Thankfully, I had made it! Baby was still warm and cozy inside mom, not yet ready to make his or her entrance into the world. The only thing that could be heard was Beth’s focused breathing as she worked through contractions in the birthing tub with her husband Ben patiently and quietly talking her through them. Her sister sat with Honour and Journey, Beth and Ben’s older children, keeping them occupied with movies and books. Beth’s mom stood nearby, serving food and drinks and watching her daughter work to bring her newest grandchild into the world. Her Midwives, Amanda & Maria of Midwives of Windsor and her Doula Jenn stood watch as well, tracking babies heartbeat, pushing her hips together through contractions and listening to Beth’s cues as she worked through her labour.
The snowflakes that fell outside were the thick kind that float slowly to the ground, and the sunlight that streamed through the patio doors in front of Beth’s birthing tub lit up the room. As Beth’s contractions grew closer together, Honour sat with his dad and stroked his mom’s hair, telling her ‘You’re doing a good job, Mama’ *cue tears from everyone in the room*. When it was time to push, Beth knew and took control, listening to her body as she delivered her new baby into the world. His cord (the longest one I’ve ever seen) was wrapped around his body several times and her midwife Amanda quickly reacted, unwrapping him before he came up and took his first breath in Mom’s arms. There was a look of sweet relief from Beth as she laid back and held her new baby, Ben gave her a kiss on the forehead and Honour stood captivated with his new sibling. Ben made the announcement, as was tradition, that it was a boy, and Honour cut the cord. Valour Clark had arrived after 6.5 hours of labour.
To say Valour’s new siblings were enamored with him would be an understatement. Honour kept close to his mom and new baby brother, touching his tiny little hands and gently stroking his hair, typical of his inquisitive and gentle nature. Journey had napped through most of Valour’s entrance, but when she entered the room, she lit up and crawled into bed with her mom and brother to meet the newest Clark.
Once Maria, Beth’s Midwife, had check Valour over and he was given a clean bill of health, the new family of 5 cuddled up in bed for their first family picture. What. a. moment.
Beth & Ben, inviting someone into your birth space is a tremendous act of trust that we do not take lightly. I am so grateful to have been able to capture Valour’s birth for you. I was incredibly impressed with both of your calm, peaceful and sure natures as you worked as a team to bring your newest child into the world. Congratulations, Clark family!
Beth has her own blog and wrote about her birth experience from her point of view. You can read it here.
“There’s a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” – Laura Stavoe
“Manifesto has been a part of our lives for many years! From when we were first engaged through to the birth of our third child. Every connection with their team has been one filled with calm, kindness, laughter and professionalism. Kristle was applauded by many in my birth team as she crept in with respect, captured the events and emotions without intrusion and seamlessly blended in with the others present at our birth. She made sure I was not distracted and did all she could to ensure our birth was photographed as we had dreamed. I am so grateful for Kristle’s presence and completed work! Her images allowed me to remember details that never implanted in my memory and be introduced to events that I did not realize had happened, like my oldest son running to the kitchen to find the new toy his little brother had been gifted or my daughter fast asleep on my own mother’s shoulder. Thank you Kristle and Manifesto for your beautiful souls and gorgeous work. I always know that if I have photography needs this team will be my first call!” – Beth Clark