Birth

Eliot Says Hello | A Birth Story | Milk And Hannah | Columbus Birth Photographer

When I met Sasha and Corey for the first time, I stayed long and we talked much.
Birth, politics, cats, crime, philosophy, books, weddings, dentistry, college, real estate...
 It was dark when I left, and my heart was happy. 
We were a really good fit for a client-photographer relationship.
And as, like, friends.

__________________________________

Sasha was sitting at 40 weeks and 2 days when I got a text message one Friday night at 9:23 PM. 
Two lovers had spent their afternoons at the Ohio State Fair walking and eating and not riding rides (because pregnant), and she was feeling pressure and pain that were different than the Braxton Hicks she'd been experiencing. She said she'd start timing them and circle back with me.

A 2:39 AM check-in reveals the contractions are consistent- but not so painful that she's ready to head into the hospital- and that she was resting in between.
Perfect.
I let her know that I'd check in with her in the morning.

8:26 AM: 

 
 

D E A R   S A S H A  :

You are an incredibly determined, loyal, loving, hilarious, glorious, cool as a cucumber woman
snd I want to be you when I grow up.
Thank you for inviting me into your sacred space. For allowing me the honor of documenting it. 
Eliot is lucky to have you as Mama, Corey is lucky to have you as his teammate and partner, and I am lucky to know you, and call you friend.

All my love.

______________________

Birth Support: Sasha's Mom, and her husband, Corey.
Birthing Location: Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
 

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. 


.     .     .     .     .     .     .


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.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

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.

_________________

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."

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

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.