I was invited in by my good friend Kendall into her birth circle. However, I was totally surprised by the events that took place.
March 19th, Kendall sent me some messages to prepare myself for her labour. I did what any birth photographer does when there is a heads up call… I had a nap…
Around 8PM I checked back in with Kendall. She said things were steady, nothing major but they were admitted to the hospital, I decided to go and visit.
I arrived at the North Island Hospital (Comox Valley) a short time later, and the vibe was quite relaxed. I couldn’t really tell when Kendall was having contractions, but we always have a great time together so I decided to stay and feel the moments out, see what the plans would be. We were told that if nothing progressed on its own, the midwives would arrive at midnight and break her water to get the show on the road.
Conversations were easy going, the tv was on, we were simply hanging out. We chatted with her spouse Rob or John (a new inside joke) about the walks of life. Every once in a while Kendall’s wonderful nurse would come and check in.
Suddenly around 11:30 the mood shifted. Kendall was up on her feet, and I could tell things were intensifying. She would pause, she would tippy toe and sway and the room got quiet as she concentrated through her waves of pain.
I have done a few birth now, and let me tell you- Women know their bodies the absolute best. That intuition is fierce, and I have witnessed it first hand. With Kendall it was like a switch. Zero to sixty.
She knew that baby was on its way, and fast. Immediately she asked to get the nurse, to get the Midwives in the room stat. “I feel the same pain I’ve had right before I start to push.” There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that we were going to meet a sweet little baby in her arms soon, I just didn’t realize how soon..
The midwives were paged – they arrived just after midnight.
Kendall was powerful. Deeply sedated in her thoughts as the contractions intensified and came closer together. On her side- she quietly hummed through the agony.
After observing for a few moments, the midwives offered to break her water. Kendall accepted, one way or another this baby was on her way.
They explained that the contractions are going to intensify even more, but we were all there for her none the less. And her circle was in full support mode.
Now this is where things get REAL! and I mean- REAL!
That pesky little moment during the labouring process called TRANSITION.
This opened my eyes to how incredibly phenomenal woman are, and the importance of a comfort team who knows and understands the changes a labouring mom is going through. The anxiety during this short time can be striking. Mom is at her widest, the pain in excruciating, and the fear is so very real. At this time most women are done, they feel they can’t do it anymore, but that is when you know the end is near.
For Kendal the fear was intense.
But the magic I bore witness was astonishing. All of us surrounded her. Rob, the midwives, a few nurses. We all at some point had our hands on her. Her panic grew as it was almost time to push. We were all shouting words of encouragement- “You are ALMOST there.” “You will have your baby in your arms SO SOON.” “You can do this!”
The most amazing positive affirmations were enveloping Kendal with love like a hug.
But. That is when it happened….
I started asking Jon if he was ok.. “Jon.. Are you ok, do you need anything”.. “Jon, everything is good!”
Kendal- woken up by my chatter…
“AMY! WHO THE FUCK IS JON.. HIS NAME IS ROB”..
I am mortified…
However- every person including Kendall started HOWLING! Just as the room was becoming dark and sombre- Cue Amy in typical fashion to offer some comic relief.
After a few moments where we all forgot about the scene around us, Kendall flew back into transition. This time, it went deep.
She called me over, asking for me, which shocked me but I went over to her head. She was incredibly scared, feeling like she couldn’t do this.
Then the midwife took over.
“Kendall! Open your eyes, open your eyes hun!”
she felt like she couldn’t open them.
“Yes open you’re eyes! You, YOU are in safe hands, a safe room, a safe space! Everyone is here for you and you CAN do this! You are doing this and we are ALL here for you”
At that moment, Kendalls strength was restored, and not even 10 minutes later, the perfect, beautiful Adelyn was resting on Kendall’s chest.
Now- this is where I am once again blown away by the power of a woman. That moment- where you actually feel and think and breath panic. Where your world is so rocked, and there are no choices but to get through this phase, the body throws itself into survival and adrenaline is then PUMPED through the system.
It is none the less a marvel.
Laying on her back, Kendall then got the urge to push. She had mentioned earlier that she did not want to birth this way, and quickly with loving hands, she was maneuvered to her side. The head started to crown, she pushed so hard! And soon the shoulders and the rest of the sweet little baby was born.
She was scooped and placed quickly onto Kendall’s chest. The phase of relief and excitement quickly draped the room.
Adelyn was born at 12:36 AM, on March 20th.
Healthy, crying and the blondest of hair.
Congratulations Kendall and Jon.. Rob.. Jim??
Midwives- Plum Midwifery