labor

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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, In Home

The Christmas Lotus Home Birth of Giovanni | Milk & Hannah Photo | Columbus OH Birth Photographer

"Miranda's water broke."
The message flashed across my screen from Amy, Miranda's midwife, as the clock in the corner of my Macbook clicked over to 11:00pm.

She wasn't due for 2 weeks.
Surprise, anxiety, and ecstasy floated through my brain channels.

"Sleep fast." she wrote shortly after-and I closed my laptop.

Switching my phone to "Loud" I pulled Ruby against my breast for a last feeding and started a night of alternating between snoozing and waking to obsessively check my phone for an update-in fear I may have missed something.

The next morning at 8:00am, I awoke to check in with Amy.
We agreed to meet at their home at 9:00am.

______

I arrived at 9:10am

The first real snowfall laid atop the ground outside... as magical as it was to see--these two had something even more so together as she labored in front of the fireplace. The light from the Christmas tree twinkling behind them.

Two braided pig tails sat on her collar bones.
She wore her lover's blank tank top.
The way the fabric fell over her belly made me swoon.
 

Shortly after our arrival, and after a brief period of separating herself to connect with her body, intensity came quickly.
It was time to utilize the birthing pool that had been filling in the kitchen.
Continuous streams of boiling pots on the cooktop.

As she surged, Jesse, her partner, dipped white washrags into cups of gas station ice water, immediately placing them against the skin of her face. She was very warm, and very uncomfortable.

And ready to move on from the tub.
As she exited, another surge welcomed itself, her midwife held her up and danced side to side as it subsided.

She headed upstairs to sit on the toilet, just for a few, and on her way back to the birthing pool, she surged once again, and found refuge laid across their bed.

With her partner,
And her midwife.

A few moments later, she was back in the warm water refuge of the birthing pool. The second midwife of her birth team, Lora, had arrived - surrounded by candles, sweet Christmas music, and the light from the kitchen windows, she continued her wonderful, life-changing journey of motherhood.

Soon-the unpredictable journey of birth turned once again.
The birthing pool was no longer a space of comfort, and so up the stairs they headed, once again. To the master bedroom.

She was glorious. A site to behold. A goddess. A warrior. A pillar of boldness and of vulnerability all at once.

She was a story.
A metaphor of beauty and pain and strength.
Looking at her labor was to read a novel cover to cover-and to be honored to do so.
I was honored to do so.

As she laid across her lover's lap...

As she surrendered to her body and listened to it--

As she breathed in the air of the Winter winds outside.. letting them swirl in her lungs...

There he was.

 

Welcome to the world, G.
You are more loved than you could ever imagine.
And your mama?



You rocked it, M.
All my love.
 


Midwife: Amy Knisley / Well Rounded Midwifery
Midwife: Lora Hart / Ohio Home Birth
Birth Photographer: Milk & Hannah Photo
 Birth Pool: Waterbith Solutions