These are the photos from the last few minutes before Juliette Anala was born at 3 pm. All the photos are PG...you'll see more flesh at the beach this Summer, I promise.
Why am I sharing such personal photos? Like I said before, I am disturbed by how Birth is often portrayed with much Fear and negativity in the Media. Birth doesn't have to be a terrifying, awful experience. It can be a deeply positive one.
Due to the fact that only 1% of Births in the United States happen outside of Hospitals, the average American has not seen many images an Out-of-Hospital Birth.
In one of the photos, you can see my Doula (in the purple shirt) who is also a Birth Assistant (meaning she has more medical training than a Doula) using a Doppler to monitor the baby's heart-beat. Throughout my Labor, both Gwen and Jennifer listened frequently with the Doppler, which meant I could be mobile and choose exactly which position felt the BEST for me. No one told me I had to stay in a certain position. If it didn't feel right, I moved.
My Midwife encouraged me to push very slowly, since I had had a 4th degree tear with my first Birth. She had me feel the baby's head to help me push (which is what I was doing in the photo of me smiling). She had me cough through several contractions. The "ring of fire" was seriously no joke.
Erin (my incredibly talented friend who took all the photos) got some amazing shots of the baby emerging. But, I won't be sharing those ones.
Can you believe this was the first Birth she had ever witnessed? Not only did she take these priceless photos, she was a calm, soothing presence who held my hand whenever I needed. And it was incredibly fitting that she was present. My husband and I met at her 30th Birthday Party!