Ask the Midwife- Missoula- Birth

Missoula Homebirth midwifery 
Birth Photographer Missoula Montana

Missoula Midwife- Ashley Hinton-Sharp- of Heart- Strong Midwifery

Once the baby is born she is still getting oxygenated blood from the placenta. The beautiful placenta pulses and continues functioning for 5-15 minutes on average giving time for our sweet baby to take her first breath. Once she does that – lung expansion occurs, fluid is pushed out of the lungs. the ductus arteriosis and foramen ovale shut and blood flows through a path of least resistance much like adult hearts. I call the going from fish to frog. This all occurs quite rapidly, the baby turning from blue to pink usually within a breath or two, sometimes longer. Often extremities can remain blue and it is of no concern. The flushing of blue to pink is magical thing to see. It happens as quickly as a rainbow appears or disappears. I will admit I almost never see the actual act of the chameleon like switch as I’m holding the job down on many fronts in this moment but if you are lucky enough to catch it…it’s quite amazing, a miracle. It is usually the moment where my own heart falls in comfort of reassurance, hope and promise.

Missoula Woman- Family & Birth

Megan found me on Instagram- searching home birth hashtags for Missoula. When we consulted I was blown away by her fierce energy to have the birth experience she felt best for her self and her baby. She was this petite bubbly, messy bunned mama on the screen of my computer bursting with energy and chatter in the most positive light.
She was planning on a home birth. She talked with such conviction, such confidence, self love,┬áreasonable expectations based on thorough birth research- I couldn’t help but be left with a tingling excitement for HER and myself- that I was being invited to witness her birth story.
I get to call Megan my friend. We have had countless birth aware and birth justice conversations over food and coffee dates. We have hiked together, laughed, cried, adventured, created art. I love her little family. I had the honor of photographing her first and now second birth stories. Megan is a lover, a lover of birth and women’s birth rights, lover of hard work, her husband and babies- you can see in her eyes and gorgeous dimpled smile she has a pure joy for life. She is a cup filler. Her children are lucky to have her. Our community is lucky to know her.

Who’s this?

I can dress down or dress up. Once I have my camera out, hospital staff takes notice. I am quick to make allies with the nurses. I will have more interaction with them than most of the obgyns. If the birth environment permits I always try to have a quick, kind, informative conversation with the lead nurse as to some of my client’s wishes. I always pose the wishes as reasonable requests under applicable circumstances. There is a quick team I need to form to be able to deliver for my clients. I can’t assume a position at the foot of the bed without communicating with a nurse or 3!

Once the obgyn enters the room I place my camera at my side and I usually sit if there is space. I wait to be introduced or the obgyn will ask the patient “who’s this?”, or I am directly addressed, typically with greetings like, “Oh I see you are a photographer. ” Whether I am introduced or I get to introduce myself, it is humble yet confident. Personally I love when my clients get the chance to introduce me – it validates that I am part of the team. The parents know it, the nurses know and customer satisfaction informs an obgyn. What really makes my day and my client’s as well, is when the doctor and I have report built on previous experiences. I am honored to say, a number of doctors know me and trust me in the birth space. One or two ( I won’t mention names) are familiar enough to chat photography and ask about my family. This is lovely and can also be awkward- I am working and we are there for the birthing person, but I try to navigate those times with a big smile.