One surprisingly snowy day in early April, i drove north to Big Rapids to meet Meadow in the early part of her labor. It was the first time we'd met face to face, and I immediately liked her. Their home radiated intention, compassion, and warmth, and besides that, I was googly-eyed over their the presence of all the Waldorf materials, and everything that that method of education implies about a family. :)
When I arrived, her midwives were already present, and her mother was in the kitchen making us all salad and lasagna, while the children watched shows and hovered around their laboring mama, and husband Dan stood by ready at a moment's notice to offer his strength. Meadow was excited and chatty and it seemed everyone was in a state of happy, patient anticipation.
Between contractions, Meadow extended hospitality to every one of her house full of birth team members. It wasn't until after she'd seen us all adequately fed our lunches that she really got down to business, going deep inside, and into a dark solitary space upstairs to labor her baby down. At last, she climbed into the birth pool in the beautiful birth space she'd so carefully created for herself, Dan never leaving her side. Very shortly thereafter, she powerfully and quite quietly birthed her baby, and brought him up to her chest from her midwife's hands. She and Dan enjoyed a few still and maybe slightly stunned moments of gently clutching and peering into their baby's face before they even bothered to take a look between the legs and discover the gender: a boy!
Their older children came into the room with their grandmothers with looks of happy wonder on their faces and reached out their hands to welcome him and to smooth their mama's hair. Truly a peaceful and sacred scene.
I've avoided showing any of the children's faces -- including baby's -- by Meadow's request and for respect for their privacy, and yet even without their (totally adorable) faces visible, these images tell a good, full story, and I know you'll feel the love.
Here's a shout out to Jennifer Holshoe of West Michigan Midwifery, who took the the lead in helping Meadow achiever the birth of her dreams, and to Laurie and her assistant of Faithful Guardians Midwifery in Northern Michigan whose presence added an additional layer of support and wisdom.
On a personal note, attending a birth with Jennifer was a special full-circle moment for me! She was at my daughter's birth (at that time, she was a student midwife) and photographed it. Her support was instrumental in seeing me through a really really long labor, and her photos are what made me fall in love with and decide that I simply must try my had at birth photography. I'm so grateful to her for both of those things.
I'm booking births for October and November now.