Home birth photographer Nottingham- part 1: the labour
When Jess emailed me about looking for a birth photographer in Nottingham, we got on immediately. She’s an artist and wanted the photos to reflect the reality of birth, with all its rawness. She has allowed me to share all photos and this post will be grittier that the past births I’ve photographed but I’m not posting the most direct photos.
Baby was late, 8 days late exactly, and it is impossible planning anything. There was another photographer on stand by just in case, especially as it’s wedding season and I had weddings in Wales,Norfolk and London. He happened to be born the same day as the last baby whose birth I photographed in Nottingham, and who visited me just before his birthday.
It was my first home birth and first pool birth- I don’t count me giving birth in a bathtub! There were 4 midwives when I arrived, Jess, her partner, her mum, and her best friend. I was worried about the space but it all worked out fine. It was lovely to see her mum be concerned and show her love and support. She really knew what Jess was going through having had 6 babies herself!
What moved me most- and I can’t see some of the images without tearing up was how much John suffered to see his beloved suffer. Like most men, when asked how he was during the labour, he could only answer” fine”. The woman’s pain is so much more vivid and enormous that the powerlessness and pain at seeing someone they love suffer seems pale. So men don’t say how it is for them, yet they suffer. and when the baby was born, he was clearly torn between the joy of that beautiful arrival and being aware that the afterbirth was difficult and painful.
This time I wanted to actually show labour. I will concentrate on how baby changed in the 3 hours I saw him after birth in another post. These photos made me thank the midwives who cooped up the grey baby and disentangled him without fuss or panic. It made me realise why they did panic when many years ago, I announced that my son was born of his own accord- in the bath. Thankfully he wasn’t chocked and he’s a perfect boy, just as W will be one day too soon.
I love the sheer joy on John’s face, so happy to hold his baby at last, happy that Jess and W are safe.