Birth

In Home, Birth

A School Bus Home Birth | Ohio Birth Photography | Milk & Hannah |

I was on Instagram one evening after dinner decompressing from the day with a cup of hot coffee in my hand. I scrolled past photos of puppies and bellies and food and landed on a photo a friend and local midwife posted of her client's birthing land. She had hashtagged it #busbirth.

Um. WHAT?
a WHAT birth?

I texted her furiously.
She explained that Caroline and Seamus had recently relocated from Virginia onto a large plot of land they had purchased. They were remodeling a school bus into a livable home on the property. She confirmed that they were planning to deliver on the bus, in the middle of this large plot of land in the woods. But, it was 2 hours away from me. And she was due in 2 weeks.

All the details faded, but the story of this first time mama believing in herself. A warrior living off the grid and rooting for alternative options in life and birth. I loved it. I was (am) inspired by her boldness. I wanted to be there. I wanted to tell her story.

I asked her to tell them I wanted to be there.
She said she'd see what she could do.
I waited, impatiently.

_________________

A few weeks later, Susette was born in the daylight aboard a school bus deep in the hills of Ohio. Chicago softly crackling on the turntable, chickens roamed outside and a fury of rays peeked through the gold tasseled curtains.

As the wood stove warmed and the wildflowers sprouted all along the valley, she breathed her first breaths of this wild world's air in the peaceful, serene, lush homeland that her parents had created for her. 

This is the story of that day.
 

Caroline,

I am in awe of you. So proud of your intense love for your partner and your daughter. You are incredible and I was honored to watch you become Mother. 

 

Midwives present:

Amy Knisley | Well Rounded Midwifery

Lora Hart | Ohio Home Birth 

In Home, Birth

The Birth of Jenson | Columbus Birth Photographer | Milk & Hannah | Home Water Birth

 

When I pulled into the [wrong] driveway [and then backed up and pulled into the right driveway] at just after 6:30am, I opened the front door and walked into a dimly lit space of calm. The sound of boiling water for the birthing tub bubbling on the stove in the kitchen, Anna's husband Corey was just coming down from upstairs. He whispered "Hi there!" in passing, as he headed back into the kitchen with an empty 6 quart cooking pot in his left hand.

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On the second floor, a hand-painted "Hello, Baby. Hello" wooden plaque was centered on the outside of the closed door at the end of the hall. I took a deep grounding breath and creaked open the door.

A lace curtain of warm sparkly lights lit the space and created a birthing atmosphere to treasure. Anna laid across the queen sized bed, resting between surges, as Audra and Amy , her midwives, sat on the carpet against the gray bedroom walls--- her silent warriors of birth, waiting patiently to be needed. They chanted affirmations as the waves of labor came and went and helped fill the birthing tub with fresh, hot water. 
 

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A life-bringing femme of power. 

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And as the sun crept over the horizon, the little ones awoke one by one to see what all the fuss was about. 

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A bathroom break landed her at 9cm dilated and snuggling her babies on her nursery bed

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But... baby was ready, and tub time it was.

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A rotation or two of the minute hand , a gentle warrior roar, and he claimed the world as his in his Mama's arms.

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Her 4th son.

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Happy Birth Day, Anna.

Happy Birthday, Jenson.

 

The fabulous midwives present:

Amy Knisley // Well Rounded Midwifery and Audra Phillips // Art of Midwifery 

 

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, 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

Birth

The Birth of P | Columbus OH Birth Photography | Milk & Hannah Photo

It was late.
Very late.

I rode up the elevator and walked into where a Mama was nearing the end of her stunt as being "home".
She was beautiful, peaceful, happy, and ready.

Several hours, a nap for four, hot coffee, a handful of popsicles, and one pair of blue socks later...

There she was.
A 5-pound Moonbeam.

Wide-eyed, wondering, wonderful.

She couldn't stop staring at her Mama.
She knew she was looking at Home.

 

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This is the story of darling Baby P.

 

s

welcome, P.

 

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.