When I gave birth to my son last year, I had no idea how much I was taking for granted! I went through an extended hospital stay before and after his birth. During that time my husband was allowed to come and go from the hospital as needed. My mom came and stayed a few nights with me. And once my son was born, our friends and family came to the hospital to meet him without restrictions.
I was also allowed to have a birth photographer in my delivery room.
Covid-19 has changed EVERYTHING when it comes to giving birth- at least for the forseeable future. And can I just confess something?
I MISS PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR SWEET BABIES!!!!
Due to the new Covid rules and limitations on visitors during births, I can't book or attend any hospital birth sessions at this time. But I still want you to have amazing photos!
So, I thought I'd put together a quick guide on which shots I consider "must-haves" and some things to remember when it comes time to document your baby's birth- but don't have access to a birth photographer.
- Think about the person who will be taking the photos. Will your hubby be responsible for taking all of the photos for the day? If you'd rather he not have that distraction, there may a nurse close by who doesn't mind taking a few shots for you? Don't be scared to ask! While their first responsibility is to take care of you medically, most Labor and Delivery nurses will go out of their way to make your birth experience amazing in whatever way they can!
- Decide which photos are the most important to you. Most moms have different "must-haves" when it comes to photographing the birth of their babies. I'd suggest making a list of your top five "can't-miss photos" that you want captured for the day. Below are a few shots that I always try to get when I'm shooting a birth session.
- Mom and Dad together while mom is laboring. (this could include a photo of them holding hands, him comforting her as she's going through a contraction, them praying together, etc)
- Doctor holding baby up immediately after delivery.
- Dad cutting the cord.
- Mom holding baby for the first time
- Mom and baby doing skin-to-skin.
- Dad holding baby for the first time
- Baby getting measurements.
- Mom breastfeeding for the first time.
- Remember that your camera has limitations. Most parents will be documenting their birth experience with an iPhone camera. And don't get me wrong- iPhone cameras are WONDERFUL. But they can only do so much. Even if you have a nice DSLR, odds are very good that you will still be wrestling with low light in your hospital room. Birth photographers spend thousands of dollars on gear that can handle low-light scenarios- so please don't get frustrated if your images don't look quite the same as ours! What matters is that you've documented some amazing memories!
- Remember that births don't always go according to plan. Things can change in an instant when it comes to birth! Sometimes babies can't come naturally and a c-section becomes necessary. Maybe you decide to take that epidural when you'd fully intended to deliver non-medicated. (In my case, I had planned to do a natural birth, but my blood pressure skyrocketed and my doctor quickly suggested an epidural for pain management.) There are dozens of scenarios that could alter your birth plan. Just remember that the doctors and nurses will do everything in their power to stick to your birth plan, and they won't change it without good reason. In every birth I've attended, the staff have always been quick to talk you through any changes or issues that you need to be aware of, and they aren't scared of hard questions!
- Hire me for a "welcome home" session. While actually documenting the birth of your baby can't be replaced, there are still lots of amazing options to allow a professional photographer to document your sweet baby! These sessions document baby coming home from the hospital. Some shots included:
- Pulling in the driveway coming home from the hospital!
- Meeting his new family for the first time. (Siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even fur-siblings!)
- Baby's first bath
- Baby in his nursery
- Baby nursing- or taking a bottle
- Diaper changes
- Mom and Dad cutting off hospital tags
- Hire me for an in-home newborn session. I LOOOOOVE these sessions. In-home newborn sessions documents your little one in the comfort of their own home. These sessions are laid-back, allow us to go at baby's pace, and fully document the bond your family is creating with its newest member.
If you have any questions about taking photographs of your baby's birth- or anything else- feel free to reach out!