The Birth of Theo | Connecticut Birth Photographer
I realized I haven’t yet shared Theo’s birth story, initially I needed time to process before I wrote about it and shared, and I want to share it now. Please be aware, this birth story does include medical emergency and may be a trigger for some.
I met Debbie when she moved to my hometown in either freshman or sophomore year of high school. I sat in front of her in math class, and we instantly clicked. Throughout high school, throughout college, through moves and boyfriends and marriages, we stayed friends. No matter the time that went by, we picked up right where we left off as if no time had ever passed.
We even conquered pregnancy together. Her, pregnant with her first child, 5 months before me. She would give me pregnancy tips and tricks, what to expect, etc.
I remember her asking me to photograph her first birth, something I had never done before. I remember agreeing to it prior to my own pregnancy, and then COMPLETELY freaking out as her pregnancy neared an end, my own belly growing, fearful of what I would witness. The day finally came and she was induced.
I couldn’t sleep that night, excitedly waiting for the text message. At 6am it came, she was pushing! I jumped out of bed, chugged a glass of OJ, hopped in the car…….and I missed it. She had pushed her precious little girl in record time for a first time mama, and I had missed the big moment.
There I was, flooded with emotions, excited to see my best friend holding her sweet babe. I captured a few of their first moments, until my pregnancy/lack of adequate breakfast caught up to me and I almost passed out (not once, but TWICE) and was admitted in a room down the hall. It’s a funny story we still laugh about.
So when Deb told me she was pregnant again with her son (or “Chip” as we called him because we didn’t know he was a he!) I knew I was ready to document their birth story and wasn’t going to miss it this time. She was giving birth at Baystate Hospital, and I was going to head up there the moment she was admitted.
The time came, and Deb was induced yet again. This time I headed up to the hospital as soon as possible, anticipating this birth to be similar (or quicker!) than her last, which was just under 8 hours.
When I arrived she was doing great, having some back pressure from contractions, but otherwise feeling good. Hours later, things intensified and Deb was asked if she would like to have an epidural. Initially Deb had wanted a natural birth, but was completely fine with altering her birth plan and opted for the epidural.
I remember leaving the room and standing outside. I remember feeling time passing by, feeling like it was taking a long time. I remember beginning to feel nervous, to want to know what was happening with my dear friend.
I was allowed finally back into the room, and she was laying in the bed, contractions still coming fiercely.
As her contractions intensified, she was moaning in discomfort, and I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t think the epidural isn’t working”, and it wasn’t. After 8 attempts to place it, it wasn’t infused correctly and wasn’t alleviating her discomfort. At this point she had asked her nurse if anything could be done, and they called the anesthesiologist back in. Her epidural would need to be re-positioned, and Deb was ready to cry. My heart swelled in my throat, knowing this was a part of her birth she did not want, that was definitely not in her plan. As she contracted and moaned painfully, her husband and I tried to encourage her and help her, as best we could.
She neared transition, attempting every position to find comfort and bring her baby lower. She began pushing, and as her sweet baby’s head emerged, dad ready to catch, it was evident baby was suffering from shoulder dystocia, when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal.
A few moments later (which felt like centuries), baby was free and placed quickly on Deb’s chest; but only for a moment. He was whisked away, his body a shade of purple and limp. I will never forget my best friends wide eyes as she thought the worst for her sweet little baby boy. Or her husband standing over her, looking her in the face telling her everything was going to be OK.
Finally, we heard the sound we all were waiting for; her sweet baby boy’s first cry.
That’s when we all broke down. Never had a sound been so beautiful.
I sat down on the couch next to her husband, and both of us just sat, processing what had just happened and holding space for one another.
Once he was stabilized, he was placed on Deb’s chest again and he began to nurse.
But the hard part still wasn’t over yet; Deb had to go through a long and intense repair, as she was hemorrhaging and their priority was to stop the bleeding. I remember standing over Deb to comfort her, while she grimaced and cried out from the pain of it all. I remember it feeling like forever, my mind continuing to say “is this over yet?” feeling helpless and upset for my dear friend and her pain. Eventually repair was complete, and everyone left the room but us.
I remember seeing the emotion and relief on Deb’s face as we all just sat quietly, contemplating what had just happened. Physically everyone was ok, emotionally, not so much.
This birth was completely different than with their first. It was not what they had planned for, it was not exactly the experience they had hoped for, a definitely an experience that will stay with all of us forever.
Now, just about 8 months later, baby Theo is thriving beautifully, and mama and the fam are doing just fine <3