Kimberley is another one of the amazing beautiful birth photographers here in the Waikato who's birth I had the privilege of documenting.
You can find her on Instagram here.
Kimberley tells us about how she grieved the birth she had dreamed of for years, and how her birth photo's began healing the parts of her that thought she had failed, so she could again fall in love with the birth that she had.
My labour started late Thursday afternoon. We were snuggled up on the couch watching TV while our Christmas lights twinkled in the corner. I tried hard to ignore the tightenings, and used the time to practice my breathing.
That evening I got cozy in bed and began timing, then when my husband came to bed, I went to pace in the lounge. I enjoyed the solitude. I spent the night alternating between lying uncomfortably on the couch, standing to rock my hips, and sitting on the toilet visualising.
At 5am I decided I could handle one more hour alone, then I would call my midwives and wake Tainui.
Things were pretty intense for me when our midwives arrived. They gently checked baby and myself, and showed us how to set up the tens machine. I was devastated that it didn’t hide the pain as much as I hoped it would. I was also getting frustrated that my contractions were intense but not regular.
Midwives left us to it and reminded me to call as soon as I was ready for the Birth Center. I put my headphones back on and turned up the birth affirmations.
A series of powerful contractions made me think I was going to pee on our new couch. I managed to wiggle my butt off the seat till the wave ended and then made it to the toilet in time for my waters to break. More released on the way out the door, and more in the car on the way to Riverridge.
We met our photographer and midwives at the Birth Center, I hopped in the pool, and got in the zone.
Time went by, I felt good and in control for much of it, and then I hit that wall. You probably know the one. I cried out ‘I don’t know how much longer I can do this!’ and was bombarded with encouragement from the best team in the world.
More time passed, hours of loud pushing, sucking gas, crying and wonky conversations (thanks gas). Negative self talk filled my mind and drowned out the support that rallied around me, I cried every time a new position was suggested. My son just wasn’t moving and I was mentally done.
I felt defeated but knew what I wanted and needed in that moment. I requested a transfer to the hospital for an epidural.
At the hospital, guess who started making progress 😅.
Baby finally started moving down enough that I was offered a kiwi cup delivery. I was so ready to have the baby out of me, and I had seen a powerful ventouse delivery before, so I gladly consented.
A short while later, my child was placed on my chest. I bawled. My birth team looked into my eyes telling me ‘you birthed so powerfully’.
In that moment I felt powerful, I felt like a bloody queen (pun 100% intended). We basked in the magic of what had transpired and thanked everyone 1000x.
But, three days later when the high wore off? I was devastated. All I could remember when I thought back was pain, crying, and ‘giving up’. I had been determined to birth without any assistance, to feel every powerful contraction , to see what I was made of… and because I did not do that, I felt like I failed.
During the following weeks I clung to my birth photographs, returning to them again and again, slowly processing my experience.
As I soaked them in, I began healing that part of me that thought I had failed, grieved the birth I had dreamed of for years, and fell in love with the birth that I had.
These photos remind me that I AM powerful, I worked SO hard, I handled A LOT. They give me the chance to see my husband and midwives lovingly supporting me, and of course, I get to relive THE MOMENT when I held my son for the first time.
Birth. Is. insane.
I am so proud of me, and I am even more blown away by every birth I have photographed.
I am so excited to be back behind the camera now, to tell more stories of strength and bravery, and to show you that you are powerful too.