A Year Ago Today: Wilbur's Birth Story~ Ann Owen Poole Birth Photographer
I cannot believe this was already a year ago, it feels like yesterday when I received the call from Cherrie that they were heading to the hospital and that it was time for me to make my way over there.
I scrambled myself together and grabbed my bags and managed to be out of the door within 15 min and was on the road by 20:36. I was worried that I would miss it as I was about 50 minutes away and she believed it was all going to happen pretty quickly. Luckily the roads were empty and I had the best drive there and as I reached Poole, the sky had become this incredible awe inspiring sight, bright golden yellows and oranges and a bit of pink painted the sky in the most beautiful way. It was the perfect backdrop to the most incredible massive fluffy clouds that dominated the sky. At that moment I knew the birth I was about to witness was going to go well. I felt surrounded by a divine power.
Once I arrived at St Mary's I managed to find street parking straight away, only a minute walk away. When I finally arrived at the hospital it was 21:36 and I was led to her room by a wonderful midwife. When I walked into the room she was in the middle of talking to a doctor and midwife. She continued to go through her surges, swaying her hips back and forth, crouching up and down, going to the bathroom. I still can't get over what an incredible gift it is to be invited into the birth space, the place where you are at your most powerful but also most vulnerable. Once they had stopped chatting I introduced myself and also asked if they would mind being in any photos and they both had no issues with this at all and were just so lovely to me. I waited a little while before I took my camera out just to feel the room and to feel where Cherrie was at.
Once it felt right I started telling her story through my eyes. James was sitting in the chair in the corner, he had such a wonderful presence about him, completely relaxed yet full of confidence and love. He had brought a book he was hoping to read although realised early on that he wouldn't be able to. Cherrie had some of her music playing and there was a lot of laughing between the two of them, they were both in such a beautiful space. They're love is so palpable and so strong. She mostly laboured on her own and I was in awe of how she stood in her power. The way she flowed with her surges reminded me of a true goddess, she was so full of power. So tough. So gentle. So vulnerable all at the same time. I kept myself quiet and out of the way and just held space but every so often capturing glimpses of her story. As the surges increased in their power she asked for James to rub her back. It wasn't very long before her surges were becoming even more powerful and maybe 30 min later I sensed she was about entering transition. She intuitively moved herself into the bathroom so that she could be under the shower and the water really helped her feel more comfortable.
James was right by her side and again it wasn't long, maybe 10-15 minutes until she got down on her knees and asked for a pillow and declared. “I think the baby is coming!” She felt the need to push. But she had a slight worry when she felt the baby's head and didn't think it felt right and wanted the emergency button pressed. James pulled on the cord and I rushed out into the hall to find a midwife and she immediately came and went to check on Cherrie . She asked if she could examine her and if it was ok for her to touch her baby and she said yes. When the midwife felt the baby's head she said, “oh I know what you are feeling and that is just his skin, nothing to worry about, you and your baby are doing great!” The midwife was on her all fours and Cherrie was using her back as a brace to help go through the surges. First the head started to come out and what an incredible sight to witness; a moment of in-between world's! Then the shoulders and the rest of the body slid out. He was born at 22:37. All 10 pounds 4 ounces of him. Just an hour after I had arrived.
A couple of seconds later, they discovered they were having a little boy! She had his vernix covered body wrapped in her arms and asked to lay down. It was a bit tricky as the cord wasn't very long but with the help of James she got herself in a comfortable position where she could finally rest and take a deep breath and drink some water.
After a short while she wanted to get into the bed. James helped her and I lowered the bed so she could get in. Now she was entering the golden hour. The time where she gets to look at her baby and just feel each other on the outside. She was still waiting for her placenta to be birthed and it didn't take too long. Straight away baby latched on to the breast and had his first feed. During this time James and Cherrie were discussing baby names and it felt like such a privilege to be there in the moment where “baby” became Wilbur James.
For the first couple of hours Wilbur and Cherrie just soaked each other in. Once Wilbur stopped feeding it was time for James to finally hold his son and to have some skin on skin time with him. Wilbur was such a contented baby and only cried a couple of times. He was so calm, alert and relaxed. There's something so incredibly sacred about watching a mother & father get to know their child for the first time, just the thought of being in this space makes my heart overflow.