A study in life and death and derma


This was my first experience where I was witness to the mighty tone of a midwife. I have heard some intense instructions before but this was a few page turns of a thick board book in comparison to just a verse.
Birth seconds feel like stretched out minutes and when baby is not in optimal flow..this time passing feels like a pause while holding your breathe while having a galaxy of aliveness and death dance and rush through your veins. The room is primal, thick, humid
911 was summoned.
Commands were given.


Movements in the room are curated, more precise at the same time spontaneous because this is birth.
A flash of fight flight or freeze lights up in my peripheral, a mental rolodex with client intake forms spins,
“In case of an emergency would you like me to keep documenting, stop or trust my judgment.? “
For 8ish years I have been told to trust my judgment. That is a huge risk to take on.
I keep shooting. Rapid fire shots followed by longer than usual pauses to reassess- where do I need to be to do my job but be out of the way of the medical birth team? Is my perceived importance actually valid? Is this next shot crucial to the story?
Just like a balloon releasing, but in the opposite direction- all the air gets let back into the room as baby takes his breaths.
911 walks into a managed and thriving space, they are called off.
Mother has already, seamlessly begun to nurture….
.
The story settles deep into our derma.
.
As the world around brushes at it like dust.
.
But we know.
Birth keepers.
#missoulamaternity #missoulabirthdoula #missoulabirthphotographer #buttebirthphotographer #whitefishbirthphotographer #bozemanbirthphotographer

Montana Maternity Art

I choose to create art with my sessions. I really want you to work with me to create art together. What I will not give you is: pastels, mediocre and Jcpenny catalog. Don’t get me wrong I love Jcpennys- but the images that we visualize in the catalog- that’s not art, that’s not me or YOU.

Here is Missoula Montana, we have an amazing backdrop to work with and even the smallest of intimate spaces will hold us, just long enough to capture something truly stunning. I want to adventure and that doesn’t just have to do with outdoors. I do plenty of studio sessions and in- home sessions in Missoula. I want to adventure with you and your skin- your motherhood journey. When we talk and share- when you hear me- my motherhood stories- when we laugh together, the vulnerable slowly appears from behind the foggy veil of everyday. I get to see you, you get to feel me lOVE on you.

Megan Branz- she is a delightful mother of 2 now. Megan is up for anything, trusting me with a road trip, barreling up snowy mountains- then into the birth space- twice now! Megan gave birth at Community Medical Center for her first birth. Her second birth was a homebirth- attended by local licensed homebirth midwife- Ashley Hinton-Sharp. Megan’s births are pure magic to behold. She is strong and confident. Megan has shared her birth experience with me many times- she is empowered by them, ripped open, glowing. Megan caught her own baby boy just a few months ago, gently guiding him out from between her legs, into her arms- gliding back into the birth pool.

Missoula Maternity Photographer
Missoula Maternity Photographer
Megan was adjusting herself on the rocks when I captured this. It is one of my favorites. Showing her in natural movement. She is human, curved and angled, expecting- beautiful.

Delayed Cord Clamping. Ask the Midwife. Missoula Birth

The umbilical cord… that beautiful lifeline between a mother and her babe, coiled strong, pulsing blood and life for only a brief period once the baby is earth side… deserves our attention and praise. The benefits of leaving this in tact after birth has been an easy one for me since day one. I’ve never worked under a midwife who felt it wasn’t the standard of golden care. I have advocated for clients to their OBs and even CNMs to leave it only to be met with opposition and have even seen some occlude the cord saying “yep, it’s in tact” but not allowing it to pulse to the baby. Times are changing on this tide though. Finally OBs, and CNMs are following better guidelines and we are moving towards a norm of letting that cord pulse or delayed cord clamping. Why would we even do this? My question is why would we ever have not done this? Some of benefits are things such as decreased rate of resuscitation. This is a no brainer for home birth workers. We resuscitate babies when needed but almost exclusively we leave that cord in tact while doing so. The oxygen rich blood is my personal “insurance policy” while I may be helping a baby along to take her first breaths providing oxygen rich blood to the baby during this time. It eases the transition in any baby, not just the ones who need some help. The iron stores are increases and a 50% decrease in anemia can be found in newborns. Increase in myelin for brain function, stem cells, red cells, immune cells are also happening in this time. There is a 30% higher blood volume found in infants… I mean it is their blood after all. A decreased rate of brain hemorrhage and a decreased need for blood transfusions are also found. Premature babies are needing these benefits even more so than a term babe!
This entire process takes approximately 5-15 minutes. When the baby is born, reach down and feel that cord, feel that powerful force coming through. Know you are not only allowing the natural process to take its course but also giving your baby a better start. These fleeting moments are for wiping your own brow, listening for the first cry, reaching down and welcoming a new person into your world… all as it should be in tact, together, transitioning to the next phase of your lives side by side instead of as one. Written by Ashley-Hinton Sharp- Licensed Homebirth Midwife.