BIRTH WELCOME PACK
This welcome pack here to help answer any questions you may have during your pregnancy and give you a few tips leading up to your birth!
My cell number is 604-710-0749. You can text or call anytime. I "officially" go on-call for you at 38 weeks gestation, but if baby comes early, I will still come as soon as I can! My phone sleeps next to my bed and when I am on call, I expect texts and calls in the middle of the night, but I will send you some more information on when to call a bit closer to your due date. That being said, if you go into labour early, be sure to contact me right away!
When to Call
This is the most asked question I get! First, know that having photographed nearly 100 births, I have experience in nearly all situations and can typically judge when to come based on the pattern of your contractions, your numbers (dilation, effacement, station), and the way you sound when you call me. Try not to worry too much and just remember to keep me in the loop!
1. The "Heads-Up Text" is very important. If you *think* you are in labor, you are probably in early labor. Letting me know this helps me to look at my calendar, both with portrait sessions I may have scheduled and my children's' sports schedules, school functions, etc. I won't leave my house when you give me a heads up - but it helps me to get an idea that you'll be delivering in the next day or so.
2. Anytime ANYTHING changes, you should text or call to update me IMMEDIATELY. If you are checked for dilation, don't wait 20 minutes before giving me an update. Have someone let me know right away! At the hospital, they will give you three numbers - dilation, effacement, and station. It sounds and looks like this 3cm/50%/-2. That means you are 3 cm dilated, 50% effaced and baby is at -2 station. All of those things are important for me to judge when to come! If your contractions become suddenly more intense, if your water breaks, if you decide to get an epidural (let me know BEFORE anesthesia arrives), etc. Changes can either speed things up or slow things down, depending on the stage of labor you're already in and how you have been progressing.
**REMEMBER: It can take me an hour (or more!) depending on where you are delivering to arrive AFTER you tell me to come, so you don't want to wait until you are pushing to alert me!
3. No detail is too small to tell me! Sometimes moms-to-be are nervous that they are bothering me or that their updates are TMI. There is no such thing!! Treat me like a member of your birth team (doula/midwife/doctor) and give me all the gory details. Those details help paint a picture for me to know when to come.
What to Expect
Typically, I like to arrive when you are in active labor - but that looks different for every mom. Please tell your care providers that you've hired a professional photographer - especially the nurse who will be your main support. If you hired me for videography, I will probably come a little sooner than if you want just still photography. If you are having a home birth or unmedicated childbirth with few cervical checks, I will likely come when your contractions are consistently about 3-5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute long. If you are having your baby in the hospital, I will likely come when you are between 6-7cm and your contractions are consistently 2-3 minutes apart. If you have an induction (cervadil/cytotec/pitocin), all bets are off and you or your spouse will need to give frequent updates. Inductions are complicated and unpredictable and I'll need all the information possible to judge when to come!!
When I arrive to your birth, I will get out my gear and quietly begin documenting what is happening. If you are aware of my presence and want to chat, we can. If you are working hard through contractions, I will go about my business and you may not even know I'm there! I have a bag full of the necessities no matter how long labor lasts.
I do not pose moms in labor. If something is in my way, I may quietly and gently move it, but generally speaking, I don't change much in your birthing environment. My goal is to capture what happens as it is happening.
I will stay 1-2 hours after your baby is born. Typically, you'll spend the first hour with your baby bonding, maybe breastfeed a little, and just taking in all of the tiny details and sweetness! Most of the time, the staff will do the baby exam, weight & measurements, footprinting during this first 2 hours, but sometimes they do it after. If you want it captured by me, be sure to alert the staff.
Please let me know if you will want me to stay for family members or siblings to meet the new baby. You'll want to alert them right away to begin to their drive. They can wait in the family waiting area until you are ready for them to come into the room. If it is the middle of the night and you would rather wait until the next day when everyone is fresh for those types of images, I can come back for a Fresh48 session! Birth clients receive a discount on those sessions, so just ask!
What to Wear:
If you are delivering in the hospital, you may want to forgo the traditional (not-so-flattering) hospital gown and bring something of your own that you're more comfortable in. You also want it to be easy to remove if it gets wet in the shower/tub and a SECOND something that is extremelyeasy to get on once you get out of the water. Think about being in pain and having to pull on a sports bra....not very likely, right? A stretchy bralette or bikini top is a better choice. If you are very modest and prefer to be covered throughout labor & delivery, please let me know that in your questionnaire and I will keep an eye out for how I can compose shots to preserve your modesty.
Places to shop for labor outfits:
There are companies that sell gowns in cute colors/patterns or dresses specifically designed for easy access for things like IV lines, blood pressure cuffs, and monitors. You can also choose a pretty bralette, swim suit top or a short robe that you feel good in. Here are some companies to check out:
Your Partner's Wardrobe
Remember that everyone who is present will be photographed with you - so your partner's wardrobe is important, too. I highly recommend throwing a plain tshirt into your birth bag just in case your partner happens to be wearing something you don't love. I prefer no ball caps (we can't see his eyes!) and plain colored shirts. Logos and writing on shirts can look out of place in the birthing environment. Some dads wear funny tshirts on purpose, which is fine if you have decided that in advance. But we want the focus to be on the emotion of the day and, of course, that sweet baby!
Be sure to have a chat with your labor support to be sure they know how you feel about their clothing choices. :)
My best advice:
Stay in the moment. Feel what you are feeling. Try not to worry about what you look like or sound like. There is no right way to labor and there is no right way to birth.
The very best images are those where the total emotion of the moment is captured - the pain, the excitement, the fear, the exhilaration, the joy......Birth is a transformative experience. It's the moment you become a family or add a tiny human to your growing family! Allow yourself the grace to live in this moment and know that I will capture it perfectly for you! <3
I am very comfortable in the birth environment - your choices and behavior will not be judged! Your job is to bring your baby into the world however you need and my job is to quietly record it for you to and your baby to look back on these beautiful images in the years to come!
Last note: Have you heard of the "unplugged wedding"? I absolutely love when I'm at an unplugged birth! When families (including grandparents!) put their phones away and truly take in the moment, their expressions are true and I'm able to capture every single one. If you have friends & family members at your birth, or coming to meet the baby right after, please ask them to wait until I leave before pulling out their phones and cameras. The baby will still be little and fresh, but I will have had the opportunity to photograph those very first moments of emotion without cell phones in the pictures! Also, it's okay to take the first hour just for the three of you - the rest of the world can wait to hear the details, but you'll never get those first moments back. Cherish them. I'll be there to record them for you to look back on and share with your family in the future.
I can't wait to capture your story. See you soon!