birth photography

Birth

The Hospital Birth of Summit | Dublin Methodist Hospital | Columbus | Milk And Hannah | Birth Photographer

Rachel was freshly 8 weeks pregnant at our initial sit down to see how we jived, to see if we were a good fit. She made me a mug of tea and we talked in the living room. I took notes and wanted to know all about her, her 6 year old son, her husband, her birth the first go around and what she hoped for her next one. An hour later I met Adam and Shore on their way back from the pool. It was a really good afternoon.

By the end of the meeting, we were connected. It was effortless. All of the stories you’ll read here are effortless- that’s how client/birth photography should go. Every time. But we were fast friends, she and I, from minute 1.

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I drove to Rachel and Adam’s apartment for their final meeting 2 days after Christmas, at 39 weeks pregnant and had gone to 42 weeks with her first. She had texted me all that day that she was feeling contractions- but at her 39 week doctor appointment, they monitored her and none of them showed up. Monitors, man. Forever not picking up what babies are putting down. They were headed home, and would meet me there.

I arrived before them and turned off my van. Leaning the seat back a few spots- I sunk in and scrolled IG until they arrived. A beep from Adam and a wave from Rachel in the passenger seat let me know they were here.

As I approached I heard “I just had a really intense one. It was hard to breathe through.”

We walked into the apartment and got comfortable on the couch. Chatting with both of them about how she was feeling, getting final details about what my role in the space would be, or what they wanted my role to be. I started noticing discomfort on her face in intervals. I asked if I could feel her stomach and she happily agreed.

A familiar firmness. I was switched back to that feeling from my own labors.
She was in the middle of a contraction. And it was long.

A few minutes later, Adam told me about their dinner plans. I smirked at him. They noticed.

I grabbed my things, told them to rest, and said to be prepared in case those dinner plans didn’t work out.

10 hours later he was born.

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Birth

The Birth of Xavier | Columbus, OH Birth Photographer | Milk & Hannah

A sunny Sunday afternoon transitions to an early star-filled Monday morning in the Ohio State University operating room.
 

This is the incredibly beautiful birth story of Xavier.

.   .   .

To Jessica:

You are incredible.
I hope you know what a badass human, woman, and mother you are.
All my love.

 


Midwives present:

Amy Knisley | Well Rounded Midwifery
Rachel McCloskey | Natural Birth Columbus

Business, Personal

2017 + a NEW Milk & Hannah Photo | Columbus, OH Birth Photography | Milk & Hannah Photo

 

On September 25th, 2014, I watched Asher take his first breath pressed against his mother's skin.

 

On March 5, 2015, I witnessed the birth of Paxton.

 

Luke, on June 21, 2015.

 

Then Finley, on July 12, 2015.

 

Stacey, on the 11th of October,

 

and Penelope, on the 20th of December the same year.

 

Izabel started off 2016- I watched as she was welcomed into her Mama's tender and loving arms on January 7th.

 

Followed by Ethney, the first baby at home, on June 28th.

 

July 28th, brought Hazel,

 

and Jackson on August the 3rd.

 

On September 28th, 2016, there was Arbor-

 

and Elliot stared into the depths of his Mama on October the 25th.

 

Charlie was welcomed on the 23rd of November,

 

And Giovanni rounded out 2016, at home, on the 11th of December.

 

I started this photography journey a wanderer. A dabbler.

Attempting to find my place in a sea of specialties.

I went on photographing families, children, bellies. Life. But something was missing.

I remember thinking about birth photographers Sarah Shambaugh and Lindsey Scholz's work and feeling a pang in my gut. Like "DAMN. That's mind blowing." But never having the guts to try it on for size.

-------------

When Drew's sister told us she was expecting, a rainbow baby so desired, so loved already- I mentioned the desire to photograph her birth. They live in Michigan, we live in Ohio, but I threw out the idea. Just "to see" maybe "add it to the list of work experience". She wasn't planning on hiring a photographer, we just so happened to be going in town near the due date. If it happened, it happened.

And we crossed our fingers.

Our trip date was already set for my husband's birthday- September the 25th.

At 9am on the 25th of September, Amy entered the hospital doors-preparing to birth a baby . We were in town. I was at the hospital. It was happening, and on my husband's birthday, nonetheless. It felt like---something far more than coincidence.

And then--she labored.

For once in my life--I felt like I couldn't stop clicking the shutter.

I couldn't miss even a second. Every piece of every moment was part of the story. Personal. Crucial. The layout of the room. The stork painting on the wall. The t-shirt her husband, Zac wore, and the way her hands clasped around a styrofoam cup of ice water. She looked so beautiful and yet- so vulnerable-and yet-so amazingly strong.  I was in awe. High. Shaken.

And then-- Asher was born.

I sobbed. I sobbed so intensely that I couldn't see my camera. The tears were hot on my cheeks and I was attempting with all my might to gain some ounce of control and yet I could not. The second my breathing was slowed, I looked at this woman, this sweet child, and lost it all over again.

That moment- that day?

Changed my entire life.

I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to tell stories of Birth.
The Welcoming of Sweet Children.
Tales of the strength of Women.
The MIRACLE that is New Life.

I wanted to be the one that held a hand, that put hair in a top bun, that photographed your journey to Motherhood at it's peak. Conquering pregnancy's mighty summit. Becoming all at once a delicate and warring goddess of life-bringing force. That's what I wanted. That's what I want.

_________________________________

Since that September day, I've photographed 13 more birth stories.

Pax, Finley, Luke, Penny, Izy, Stacey Caroline, Ethney, Hazel, Jackson, Arbor Jane, Eliiot, Charlie, and Giovanni.

I've serviced Columbus, Lancaster, Reynoldsburg, Pickerington, Chillicothe, Ohio and Rochester Hills, Michigan.

And I've fallen deeply in love with my work.

I've continued to dabble, to wander.

But with the end of 2016 came the end of three pieces of what Milk & Hannah Photo was:



This year and beyond, I am focusing on the true passion and drive behind my business.


 Bellies. Babies. Birth. Motherhood. Life.

 

I'm focusing on telling authentic stories.

With the exception of my milk baths, I no longer offer any posed photography session. Everything is photo-journalistic and documentary based. Your story, exactly as it is.

 

I'm cutting out vows.

I am no longer accepting wedding or engagement clients. The 2017 weddings on my books are my last. I am honored and excited to be ending my season of wedding photography with such wonderful people.

 

_________________________________________________________


I knew what I wanted to do 2 years ago, but I was afraid.
Afraid to fail, afraid of regret, afraid of change...

It took me awhile, but I listened to the calling on my life. I stopped doubting and starting trusting. There is a journey set for every single one of us. A journey far greater than we can imagine if we have the gull to work hard, the ambition to keep moving, and the guts to fail and then get up to fly.

I am honored that you're here with me. That you're reading this.
I'm thankful that you're along for the ride as 2017 shapes into what I've wanted since that stork-painting-styrofoam-cup-of-ice wonderful, life-changing, breath-taking day of photographing my first birth.




Ready for all the babies, all the bellies, all the Mama's, and all the births--


Hannah
 

Birth, Breastfeeding

The Birth of Elliot | Columbus Ohio Birth Photography | Milk & Hannah Photo

I walked through the doors of The Well to meet Jessica for the first time.

She had e-mailed me near the end of her pregnancy and we squeezed in a "hello-nice-to-meet-you" before a "hello-I-will-definitely-see-your-vagina-hopefully-we-like-each-other".

I arrived early, found a table in the corner and slumped into the curves of a modern wooden chair stationed across a twin of itself. I said hello to the owners, and ordered myself a dirty chai smoothie-my very favorite-while I awaited her arrival.

She walked in glowing, Her spirit was so tall, so wonderful.
She'd didn't know they served coffee, and held a near-empty Starbucks still hot and sitting in her palms. (I liked her already.) Having reached her caffeine limit for the day-she grabbed a homemade vegan chocolate peanut butter bar sitting in a basket by the register. And as she finished reading the label, we ventured back to the table to see if we were a good fit.

We so were.

_______________________________________________

She labored quickly-mightily.

I arrived into her room right in the midst of her epidural- I excused myself to the waiting room while they finished up.

Beside the nursery a small slotted magazine rack was affixed to the wall.
The Boxcar Children squeezed in front of Time and Entertainment magazines.
I chuckled.

Her Mama and Daddy were perched on stools under the windows. Her father held in his eyes a weight of something only described as deep-deep love for his little girl

Once back in the room- her labor progressed rapidly, I began taking an account of the space around her. Accounting photographs for all the details lost while focusing on something much greater than the ticking and buzzing around her.

She was complete. She was ready. She grabbed some extra breaths and sent them to her baby.

Her mother spoke encouragement and admiration in Spanish. An intimate gift-only for the two of them- two mother's ears.

And soon enough--

an

She saw his sweet face- and he hers.

in awe of his beauty...

And as their skin meshed together under the warmth of white sheets...

They fell madly in love.

To my empowered, wonderful, kind, badass Jessica:

You are an incredible Mother.
Thank you for allowing me the honor of photographing the birth of your Elliot.

All my love.


 

Birth

The Birth of Arbor Jane | Milk & Hannah Photo | Columbus, Ohio Birth Photographer | Adena Regional Medical Center

Just outside her window, passerby's walked with newspapers lifted high above them, keeping the wet, heavy drops from meeting their skin.

The air was chilly.

Inside her danced life.
A life with a gender awaited and guesses made.


She was strong.

And when her body told her, quietly and quickly, surely and with force, that it was time-she listened. Surrendered.

 

As the sun went down and the trickles ran down the hospital windows.

Through cries of strength and power.

She birthed their child.


A daughter.
Arbor Jane.

 

 

welcome, sweet girl.

you are so very loved.

Birth, In Home

A Home Birth in Pickerington, Ohio | Columbus, Ohio Birth & Photojournalistic Photographer | Milk & Hannah Photo

Theirs was my first experience at a home-birth.

The sun was setting and the house was calm as I walked through the front door.
A pink, tin tea set was sitting on the mantle.
Their wonderful midwife was resting in the recliner, fresh from another birth.

I walked up the stairs past tiny untied shoes and followed the dim light beaming from their bedroom lamp.

She was beautiful.
Laying in her own space next to her beloved.
He had his fingers interlaced with hers and they were riding the waves of labor together on their rust colored sheets.

There was a Facetime-ing iPhone propped on the top of the dresser and oil diffusing into the air.
It smelled so good-so peaceful-so relaxing.

She decided a shower was her next order of business, and so, naturally, he accompanied her. When the shower doors proved too intrusive, he removed them and handed them to me. Putting himself under the stream of warm drops too.

He held her through a few surges-I could tell they were getting intense-and then lathered a sponge and ran it over her every curve. The soap spiraled down the drain as she took a seat in the corner of the shower and worked through another.

She made her way back to her bed, feeling the time was near-- and slowly, she allowed her body to labor. She allowed her body to surge while she laid breathing, warring, goddess-ing.

Sweet darling daughter arrived into the hands of her daddy.

The rest, well?
The rest is happily ever after.