Missoula Newborn Photographer.

Just so sweet.

I went to an ICAN meeting tonight. I am so glad I went.

ICAN of Western Montana is a chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. (ICAN), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).

Libby was a guest facilitator and we processed our cesarean births through guided art.  I chose one cesarean to reflect on as I do have 4 experiences to pull from, but I wanted to give space to each one.

I love the art and the emotions that rose inside my chest were hard, but not strange.  Those emotions over my births are imprinted for life.  Just as your children are forever, so are the birth stories.   I am glad we all had tears. It felt so good to share and not be judged or pitied but empathy was thick.  Every women’s story is so rich and real, and to validate that story reclaims humanity overall, even if just for a night.

Cesarean Mama

I am a cesarean Mama.  I had started my birth mama journey on the path to home birth.  I was not as educated as I should have been about the world of birth, the opinions, the stats.  I was encouraged to change my plan to a hospital birth and I did.  I found a wonderful Midwife at Western Montana Clinic.  I felt that I had a little of both worlds, this made my family happy and me as well.  I ended up on bed rest from week 35 to 37. I was experiencing pre-term labor. At week 37 I was sent home.  Two days later I was back in the throws of pre-term labor and baby was breech.  My midwife suggested and scheduled a cesarean that very morning.  I believe my excitement to meet my baby trumped feelings of disappointment and fear of the cesarean or even questioning the decision.  As soon as I was on the operating table much fear and emotion came rushing to the surface. I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe, my chest was caving in.  My husband held my hand and described to me a summer camping trip from our past, taking me to a calm place.  My baby boy was born healthy. I was able to see his little strip of face between the baby hat and the blanket.  I kissed him before he left me for 3 hours to recover.  I can describe this life event so swiftly and compact but for those cesarean mamas and all mamas out there you know there is so much more to the story. Details, emotion, loss, sacrifice, endurance, joy. I am a BIRTH WARRIOR!  


My Cesarean Story

I thought a lot about whether or not I was going to add this page to my website.  I decided that there would be no better way to make a personable impression than to share my very personal story.  I amproud to tell my cesarean story first because without the story I would not be a mom of four great kiddos and second my experience is my push and determination behind bringing my birth photography services to you.

I am not writing to critique the hospital or staff that worked with me.  I am writing to share how the difference in my cesarean births affected my feelings about the birth, and my life. And I’m writing to illustrate to you the power of a few simple photos

My first two cesarean births were unplanned.  I did not have a birth plan that specifically addressed my desires.   I felt so blessed to have my babies and have them healthy, however  their final journey into this world was sad to me.   Words that come to mind when I think of the births are: vacant, scary, white, distant, alone, wondering.  While I was in the recovery room I wondered what my baby looked like, smelled like, felt like.  I wondered what the nurses and doctors were doing with my newborn child?  I wondered why everything was taking so long?  Yes, I got to see my baby’s little faces before they were taken away, but they change so fast.  And you don’t understand this unless you see your baby, and then don’t again until 3 hours later and you can tell your baby already looks truly different.  I was not able to see the umbilical cord cut, nor the first bath.  I wasn’t able to hold my baby until hours later, this was anguishing.

In contrast, my third and then fourth cesarean were the most gratifying to me.  I had a very demanding birth plan, but not one that was outside the means of the nursing staff.  My last two babies never left my sight, they stayed with me while I recovered and then both baby and I traveled back to my room where family awaited.  The first bath was done in my room where I could watch as were the other newborn exams.

The fourth cesarean is highlighted in my mind because I had immediate and continual contact with my baby as well as snapshots taken of the birth.  I also was lucky enough to have my sister in the operating room with me as Charge Nurse that morning.  Since she was going to be there, I asked her to take pictures.  She was able to capture my tearful expressions as my baby was being brought into the world, my husband holding my hand, my husband feeling nauseous, the cutting of the cord by my husband, my babies first wide cries, little toes, and fingers in the warming bed.  All these awesome sights that I couldn’t myself witness because of course I was on the operating table.

Pictures of me on the operating table holding my little pink cheeked bundle amidst a variety of thick, cold, and intrusive cords speaks so loudly to me.  I look at these pictures and see how brave I am, how amazing my doctor is, how strong and vulnerable my husband is, how me and my baby are a glowing contrast to all around us.  These pictures serve as my inspiration to offer other women the same opportunity to create lasting memories of a truly blessed event.