Photographing this birth story was a treasure to me. I had always, always wanted to photograph a home birth, but thus far never had. When my sweet doula friend, Aubrey, welcomed me to document hers, I was overjoyed.
The whole home birth experience was so welcoming, and life-filled, and homey (uh, it was a home birth, yes). But it felt like a true celebration and full of family, both literally and spiritually. Like all the warmth, joy and anticipation of a Christmas/Thanksgiving/wedding day gathering. All of the warmth and none of the pretense, which I think describes the best kind of family gathering. Hospitality at it's finest.
So much prayer. So much pressing in to God for help. When your own strength is failing, you close your eyes in prayer, but you lift up the eyes of your heart in your despair. And when you look up to the hills that would hide your help, and just when you are start to believe that help may not arrive, the LORD who is your keeper will meet you with His faithful presence. He is always near. But in suffering and struggle, that is the first thing I begin to doubt.
Hours and hours of the sweetest worship music surrounded us in the sauna that became the bedroom/birth room (mama spent a lot of time in a steamy shower, so that happens). The oil diffuser puffed out all kinds of soothing scents as we waited, prayed, and watched for baby's arrival.
My favorite moment was the "birth pause." A moment when the baby was first born, he was placed on the bed safely in front of the mother. She was able to look into his eyes clearly, pausing, loving, enjoying, before gathering him into her arms. Then she cried out, "I have another son!" and the father said, "Everyone, say hello to Lincoln," and the room was like a chamber of worship. The weight of this gift -at once tiny & tremendous- crashed in like a wave of thanksgiving and awe.
Welcome to the world, little Lincoln. May your life be as faith-filled as your birth.