"Oh my goodness, come look!, Get a picture of this!" said one of the nurses holding mom's foot. I looked to mom who nodded yes and then untangled myself from my cramped position at the head of her bed. Another nurse laid her hand on my back guiding me over to where I had a clear view of the baby's lips protruding from the vaginal opening. "CLICK!" Quickly, another contraction washed over mom. As she bore down I took a step back. The nurses came together helping to lift mom's legs, still heavy with the effects of her epidural. Shooting beneath and between their elbows, I was able to capture baby fully emerging in a rare face presentation vaginal delivery.
The statistics for face presentation births are all over the place. I've seen 1/500, 1/600 and even 1/1,250 quoted. The Farm posted their stats from 1970-2010 which reflected only 13 face presentation births in that 40 year period. In my 5 years of photographing births, this was a first.
In the second to last image, you can see the baby return to the position he seems to have been inside of his mom and in the last image you can see some of the bruising to baby's face. Baby is happy, healthy, and home with family.
What happens when baby is coming too fast for the birth pool set up? In this case, Mama bolted for the shower at the last minute, surprising us all with a (sort of) water baby anyways.
When I first arrived, the birth team was setting up the pool while mama's close friend helped her ride the waves of contractions. It quickly became apparent that baby was going to arrive before the pool could be filled and Midwife Maggie of Birth in Awareness set up her birthing stool at the foot of the bed. Feeling the urge to push, Mama quickly jumped up and ran into the bathroom, turning on the shower. Shortly after, a tiny baby girl joined the happy crowd in the small master bathroom. These kind of surprises keep birth photographers like me on our toes! If you are laboring on a Sunday, call me! You too can be part of my Born On Sunday series!