birth photography :: olivia grace

steph and jarrod have this amazing way of communicating with one another without using words. he can read her face and know what she needs. watching this in action throughout their long labor was pretty touching. 

inductions are often long processes, but theirs was even longer than average. when i arrived early saturday morning, 12 hours into their induction, steph was walking and working through her pitocin-induced contractions with a quiet serenity that left me in a state of disbelief that she was even in labor. between contractions, we'd chat, and they'd laugh together.

several hours into it, now extremely tired and feeling each contraction with more intensity, steph opted for an epidural (it was my first time watching one be administered -- fascinating!), which brought her back to her talkative state and then into a much-needed nap while i wandered downtown kalamazoo in search of cupcakes and used books. 

it was late at night, and near the 40 hour mark, when jarrod texted me in the waiting room where i was taking a breather: "she's fully dilated. i think you should come back now". i happily rushed back in, enjoying the energy of imminent birth that hangs in the air at such a time. with nervousness and determination, steph pushed for about an hour before we got to see this beautiful little face appear, their sweet, as-yet-to-be-named girl. 

and i have to tell you, the look of pure maternal bliss and love on steph's face as she snuggled her baby against her for those first 30 minutes was one of the holiest things i've seen. that love filled the room with a tangible grace. mother-infant bonding is one of the most incredible things!

PS: I have a winter birth photography special on right now, so if you're expecting in january, february, or early march, check that out.