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Aubrey was expecting her first bundle of joy and began sharing her open and honest updates on an Instagram account. I loved watching her updates as she shared the little and big moments of her pregnancy. Aubrey just married the love of her life and they both were so excited to be welcoming their first son into the world. Like many other families in the service, Elijah had a duty to perform which meant he would not be able to attend the birth of his son. I had the honor to be able to document the birth of Kaison as another way for his dad to watch him come into the world from away. Aubrey also planned to facetime with him at the moment of birth. Since Elijah was not going to be present during the birth, together they decided to hire a midwife and doula for support throughout the pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. They had planned to do a home water birth.

I got the call that Aubrey was in labor and decided to head down. I arrived and met Jordan, her doula with A labor of Love Doulas. She told me Aubrey was trying to rest while she could as they both awaited the arrival of her midwife, Melissa, of Bayside Birth & Wellness Center. Upon arrival, Melissa assessed her and began tracking her contractions. Aubrey’s labor progressed and she worked through every contraction, one at a time, riding the waves. She maneuvered her way through the stages and did whatever she was told was best to move the baby down. She climbed stairs, she sat on the toilet, she laid in her bed, she swayed in the tub, and she bounced on the ball. At times she even felt urges to push. But slowly everything backed off and slowed down. So Melissa checked, and Aubrey was at 4cm, which is not considered active labor. Soon, everything had come to a halt. No contractions and no more labor. The birth team was advised to leave as her labor was not progressing enough to be active and that she needed to be left alone.

Aubrey was pregnant for another week until she called me again that she was in labor. When I arrived, Melissa, her midwife, was filling up the tub preparing for a home water birth. Soon the other midwife and doula arrived and Aubrey went through the motions once more to work her baby down. After over 12 hours of laboring at home, Aubrey needed relief. She had been putting up such a strong fight and she had come to a point where she knew she needed to do what was best for her and her baby, so she was advised to transfer to the nearby hospital. When she checked in, she was able to get some relief and take a rest for several hours. So I was advised to leave again while she rested. Aubrey had incredible support from her doula through everything, and I will always recommend clients hire a doula whether in a hospital or at home birth, she is so educated about how best to support and help you through every bit of pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Jordan was also able to hold the phone so Elijah could facetime the birth.

I made it home and relaxed for a couple of hours to catch up on some sleep I had missed from the night before. I got a text from her doula stating she was almost fully dilated and it was going to be time to start pushing soon. So I headed back and just in time as she began to crown with her in the squatting position. As Kaisons head emerged, it was discovered he had a nuchal cord around his neck, which is very normal and usually harmless. Unfortunately, due to the way the cord was sitting, it was not easy to unwrap the cord, so the doctor had to step in and cut the cord to release the rest of his body. Melissa brought Kaison up on to Aubrey’s chest and the doctor immediately said bring baby to the warmer. This was not what Aubrey wanted. None of it was really. She didn’t have her partner there, she wasn’t at home like she planned. She got an epidural, which she tried so hard to avoid, and now, she was denied skin to skin with her brand new baby because he was struggling to breathe. Aubrey is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She fought so hard, every inch of the way, and she DID IT! She gave birth to her son. Unfortunately, as Aubrey shared with her friends and family, he was rushed to a nearby NICU where he stayed for several weeks gaining strength enough to go home. This was a difficult time for Aubrey as she navigated her new body and new life with her baby in the NICU. Having her entire birth plan ripped from her arms was not easy for her to do, but she did it with the support of friends, family and her husband. Several weeks after Kaison was able to go home, I wanted to and planned on photographing some raw postpartum images of Aubrey and Kaison when we were told by the governor to stay in place and lockdown. It was difficult for us to accept not being able to finish documenting her story in person until I discovered facetime photo sessions. I was able to facetime video chat with Aubrey and direct her with things to capture a few raw moments with 7 weeks old Kaison.















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