My birth photography clients often ask if c-sections can be photographed. Whether you are planning a c-section delivery or not, it’s an important question. What happens with birth photography if you have to have a c-section? Will the photographer you’ve paid for be welcome into the operating room with you?
Unfortunately, that I something I cannot guarantee, it is totally up to your hospital, OB and (primarily) your anesthesiologist. What I CAN tell you is that it doesn’t really matter. However your birth story unfolds, there will always be a multitude of opportunities to capture the moments of intense emotion, connection and family that inherently surround birth. Any birth. Every birth. Those moments are what birth photography is all about.
I’ve only been allowed into the operating room once, for baby Kisley’s birth. Today I’m going to tell you that story. But first, grab a box of Kleenex and take a few minutes to watch the slideshow. This one is rated PG-13. Click play below.
Damn. What an incredible birth story, right?
Mama Kista is an awesome Pensacola photographer herself. She has also done several births and when she reached out to me for birth photography the day after announcing her pregnancy on social media, I actually cried. There is really just no greater compliment than to be hired by another professional photographer, especially one who’s work you admire.
Being familiar with birth work (and having herself been denied OR access), Kista knew going in that if she were faced with a c-section, I probably wouldn’t be allowed into the OR with her. Normally, only your spouse or primary support person is allowed in with you. It’s understandable. It limits liability and the risk of contaminating the sterile field. Both good and necessary things.
The day of her delivery, everything seemed to be going along just fine. Kista made progress at a steady pace, she and her husband Justin were perfectly adorable laboring together, and we were all set and ready to push bright an early on a Saturday morning. The timing was rather perfect as our mutual friend, fellow photographer, and kick ass labor & delivery nurse, Morgan, was just beginning her shift. She came in a little early even to make sure she didn’t miss it. Hi Morgan!
Hours into pushing, hard pushing with all of us (even me!) holding her feet and providing counter pressure, the doctor came in and decided baby Kisley just wasn’t going to come down on her own. We needed a c-section. Everyone’s heart sank at the news…until Morgan came back in to report that we’d received a sympathetic anesthesiologist who was going to allow me into the OR too!
It was nerve wracking being in there. I felt like a bull in a china shop. I was so extra careful to stay back, be respectful, only go where I was told to go and not to touch ANYTHING blue. Every bit of worry and extra care was worth it not to miss the beautiful moments Kista & Justin shared as they met their sweet baby girl.
The images are some of my most favorite to date and several of them now grace the walls just outside the doors to the OR at Scared Heart. (With any luck, they will help boost my credibility as a professional and help gain me future access to the OR. I’m not counting on it, but a girl can dream right?).
Thanks to Kista & Justin for allowing me to share their super special birth story. Thanks also to Morgan for always being a huge asset, sweet friend and (dare I say) co-worker at the hospital. And all of the other hard working doctors and nurses at Sacred Heart for taking care of my mamas and doing everything they can to accommodate me and give them the birth experience they hope for, even when the plan falls apart.
Birth work is the best work.
Here are some more of my personal favorites from Kisley’s birthday…
1. Contractions getting real…even with an epidural.
2. The dad lounge.
3. Justin waiting to while they prep Kista for surgery.
4. Watching a skilled practitioners at work.
5. Kisely making kissy faces the whole time!
6. That ‘we did it’ moment of relief.
7. Justin, totally enamored with his baby girl.
8. Still totally smitten
9. This series of Kista’s sister Tiffany meeting her niece for the first time…Hands down my favorite moment of the whole day.
If you skipped the slideshow, scroll back up and watch it. Seriously! There is far to much sweetness in there to miss.