Birth

Mama Births with a Broken Leg | Welcoming Avett Luther | Columbus Ohio Birth Photographer | Milk And Hannah

Just over 2 weeks before her expected due date, a very pregnant Allyson fell down the back steps of she and her husband's home and broke her right leg.
Severely.
In the middle of Summer.

With an immediate need for surgery on her broken leg, and the need to wait for baby to arrive before that could be completed, an induction was set for a Friday night, and in Allyson went to begin the process.

Keeping in close contact with her and her husband, Dave, throughout the evening and following day, it was finally time to head to the hospital as things ramped up Saturday evening. I arrived just before 10pm, just over 24 hours after her arrival. 


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With her crutches propped against the delivery room wall, she sat in the dim light from the bathroom, spilling out from behind the cracked door onto her bed. The warm glow casted shadows over her support system as they worked to comfort and nurture her through the throws of labor-through the throws of labor with a broken leg.

And right as the clock struck Midnight, she met her sweet son, Avett Luther, face to face.

A  L  L  Y  S  O  N  : 

I am often floored by the strength of women, but it isn't often that I witness the strength of a Mama like you.
Thank you for letting me be a small part in the telling of your story-the story of wonder and awe and the welcoming of your darling Avett.
He is a masterpiece.

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Birth Team:
Husband + Mama for support
Doula: Katie Quinn, Dayton, Ohio
Midwives: OSU Midwives L. Schrader and E. Neiman
 

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

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.

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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 

SelfLove, Lifestyle

When You Dare to Love Your Body | I'm Not Brave | A Mother's Day Tribute

As Amy Schumer laughs on her Netflix special, she talks about the last thing she wants to hear when someone compliments her on her nudie magazine cover.

"Brave."

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Brave?

Not Beautiful? Strong? Carefree? Unique? Wonderful?

Those words sunk deep into my bones and struck not one but many chords.

A problem saved quietly for the chubby, we're the brave ones.

"Thank you so much for being naked AND chubby."

I'm not brave folks.
I'm not.
I struggle with loving my body, and that may be shocking for you to read.
I still weigh myself on occasion and sink deep into society's expectation of me, defeated and feeling worthless.
 

I still sometimes wonder if I'm beautiful. 

But then, I choose the feelings that come next.

They watch me.

My daughters watch me. My son watches me. He's listening to the words that I speak about my female body, and he's creating language to speak and to think of other women's bodies.  My daughters are creating language of their own female bodies, how they should talk about them, how they should feel about them. How they should love them, which parts are worthy.

And although I can not protect them from the pressure of this world, I can make sure that when they hear me talk about myself, it's all love and it's ALL worthy. In hopes that when they look at their precious selves in the mirror they feel the same.

See beauty and bravery, friends. 
Look in the mirror and speak love to yourself. 
Speak it. 
Speak it to the parts of yourself that you don't want to. Feel the curves of your body, and become familiar with who you are. And love it. Dare to.

On this Mother's Day, I am not brave. 
But I refuse to stop looking at my body, fighting what this world tells me I should be, and telling myself I am an absolutely beautiful, incredible species. 

 

 

 

 

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 

 

Personal, SelfLove

Self-Love in Motherhood : A Milk & Hannah Photo Mission | Columbus OH, Birth and Motherhood Photographer

Mothers who are critical of their bodies breed daughters and sons who are critical of their bodies.

Mothers who love and respect their bodies breed daughters and sons who love and respect their bodies.

How you choose to talk about your body and how you treat your body--will affect so many more people than just you. 

 

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A main mission for Milk & Hannah Photo is to encourage radical self-love. 

It is the reason that photographs include nipples and butt cracks. The reason that stretch-marks aren't photo-shopped away. I won't remove wrinkles, or fine lines...whatever the fuck those are. I don't ask you to smile, and I won't ever "take off ten pounds". I don't choose the best angle for your chin at your birth, I choose the angle that shows you while you work your ass off to bring a baby into this space.

The way your stomach skin curls or doesn't curl. The slight dark circles under your eyes. . The stretch-marks on your thighs. The +20 pounds or the -20 pounds. The defined calves or abdominals. The slick or frazzled hair. The frown, or the laugh, or the hiccup, or the yawn. Your breasts and where they lay across your chest, a little lower than before or just as high as they were.  Those things need to stay in photos. 

Because they're YOU. Right now.
and they're beautiful.


And talking about WHAT OUR BODIES ARE isn't a BAD THING. We're allowed to talk about our bodies RIGHT. WHERE. THEY. ARE. and EMBRACE that without GUILT or SHAME. We're allowed to talk about stretch-marks and sagging breasts and vagina lips and blood and mucus and extra skin. We're allowed to talk about growths and bumps and bruises and leaks. And we're allowed to say those things and not feel a tinge of "I'M LESS THAN."


We are what we are.
Inside and out.

And loving yourself, right where you are... it can change the entire world. It can breed a new world of people who love themselves and encourage other people to love themselves. 

And that is power.
That is worth working towards.

From a by-product of a line of women who were too critical... I implore you to change the world... and to love you.