I’m so excited to share this beautiful birth story with you! This was my very first home birth experience and to say I was excited would be a HUGE understatement. This was a “photography bucket list” item that I got to check off. Not to mention that I’d gotten to know the Trammel family before their fourth baby was born and they are genuinely wonderful people.
Rachel’s due date came and went. She’d experienced some prodromal labor for weeks and her whole birth team was ready to jump when it was finally “go” time. I went about my normal days as much as I could but every time my phone made a noise, I got butterflies in my stomach :) I stayed in touch with Rachel, tried to offer encouragement as her due date came and went, and prayed for her often. As a birth photographer, I can’t help but be very emotionally involved in my client’s lives leading up to their child’s birth. It’s an intimate and important role that I play and I do not want to take that lightly.
At midnight on February 22nd (42 weeks), I arrived at the Trammel’s house. Their doula and midwife were already there and she was working through steady contractions on the labor ball. I already had my camera ready and started snapping away. I loved that Rachel was bringing her fourth baby into this world surrounded by her other babies, in her own home. Some of my favorite images are the ones that show the toys in the corner as she works to bring her baby earth-side.
Around 12:30, Rachel decided she wanted to labor in the bathroom while the tub was being filled. She wanted a quiet, dark spot to hopefully get things moving.
The tub was finally filled and up to the right temperature around 2am. Rachel was so excited to get in, as you can see from the images below. The water supplied such relief that after a while, she was “too” happy and chatty – her midwife suggested turning off the lights and everyone giving her some space because she wanted to see her working harder through her contractions :) Pain relief IS a good thing, but not to the point where you’re so relaxed that labor stalls.
Soon she was asking for Josh to stay close, which was a sign we’d been looking for. During her previous three labors, she only wanted her husband’s hand once she was in transition. So when she said she needed Josh by her side, we all smiled at each other.
Speaking of which, it was so amazing to be a part of this birth team. Women supporting women will always make me so happy. Jessica with Natural Baby Doulas provided such wonderful, constant support while Rachel’s midwife provided knowledge and a quiet voice of reason when needed. They were a great team and I’m honored to have worked alongside them while witnessing the miracle of birth.
Close to 3am, Rachel had moved back into the bathroom for a quick change of scenery. The midwife suggested she walk around and see if we could meet baby soon! When she sat on the toilet, her water broke! Such a great sign and we all knew it wouldn’t be long!
Rachel got back in the tub – she wanted to have her baby in the water – and things quickly intensified. She started to feel pressure and her body was bearing down. They asked her mother to wake up their oldest daughter, Joella, so she could be part of her new baby sister’s birth. Sweet Joella came into the room, sleepy-eyed and so excited! She was finally getting to meet the sister she prayed for for so long!
Rachel moved around in the tub to find the right position for pushing and the midwife checked baby’s heartbeat to be sure everyone was okay. Joella got her bathing suit on and joined her momma – it was time! Josh supported Rachel from behind as she brought their fourth sweet baby into the world. It was so incredible to witness the strength of this momma! She breathed her baby out and stayed calm the entire time. She felt her baby’s head right before she was born into the water in the middle of their own home. Home birth is so incredibly beautiful!
Jaleesa Ruth | Born at 3:33am
7 pounds, 4 ounces | 21 inches
Slowly the boys woke up to meet their newest family member. Everyone joined Rachel, Josh, and little Jaleesa (who didn’t have a name quite yet) in their bed. This was probably my favorite part of the whole night – watching this family grow. All the kids were so excited to meet her – sweet Joella even wrote her sister an adorable note!
Dear Trammel family, I’m so happy for you! You’re now officially a family of six and I know you’re so happy to have welcomed your newest little love. Thank you for trusting me to be a part of your birth team – it’s an experience I’ll never forget!
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