I have always had a 'thing' for birth photography. The images are some of the most intense, emotional, beautiful pictures a camera could possibly capture, if you ask me. I know it's not for everyone but it's something that has always intrigued me. When I was pregnant with Truman I did a little research to find a photographer in my area who specialized in birth photography and didn't come up with a whole lot of options. Looking back, it's a very good thing I didn't have a birth photographer for Truman since I was induced and it took 40 hours for him to actually come out. But I still really wanted to have photos to remember the birth of number two, despite all of the unknowns that labor can bring. This time around, I only found ONE photographer who wasn't even in the Milwaukee area, and she was pregnant and due right around the same time as me anyway. Enter one of my best friends, who just so happens to be an amazing up-and-coming photographer (and has been our go-to family photographer for years now--I get to say that I knew her when she started out, before she became all famous and stuff)...
Andrea is no stranger to the blog world and I am sure a lot of you probably read her personal blog if you read mine. Her professional photography website, Andrea Weiss Photography, is another must-read if you have a love for adorable babies and gorgeous photography. And lucky for me, I actually know Andrea in real life and can call her one of my closest friends. I don't remember when we first started talking about her being my birth photographer but I'm pretty sure it was very early on in my pregnancy. I was nervous to ask her because I didn't want her to feel obligated to do it if she wasn't comfortable with the idea of seeing me in actual labor. Because let's get real, a woman in labor can't exactly hide any of her flaws. And, you know, exposing your lady bits along with other unmentionable bodily fluids and screams and curse words could potentially make things a little bit weird on the other side of labor if you don't have a rock solid relationship with your friend. We emailed about it and she said if I didn't mind having her there then she was ALL over it, because of her love for babies and birth and all things mama-related. And I told her that if she didn't mind seeing me act a fool and if she promised to like me afterward, we had a deal. :) Win-win situation for everyone.
And so the anticipation kept building as time went on. Andrea came up to see the hospital before one of my OB appointments, so I could show her the entrances and the birthing center. We talked about all different possible scenarios and she secured child care for her kiddos 'just in case' I went into labor for the weeks leading up to my due date. I got clearance from my OB to have another person in the delivery room and we were all set. And I could barely handle the excitement of it all.
When I texted Andrea on Sunday night, as my labor started at home, I really did worry about getting her hopes up for no reason. But as she wrote on her professional blog, she was already too amped up to go back to bed and I think she knew before I did that this was the real deal and I was having a baby in a few hours. And she totally called it after my 39 week pregnancy post by saying she just had a feeling it would be my last. The girl has a sense about these things, I swear.
I'll let the images speak for themselves but I have to say that I am beyond satisfied with the story Andrea captured. I will forever cherish these images and can't help but cry when I look at them, remembering the pain and the love and the intensity of those few hours bringing our daughter into the world. Giving birth is one of the most special privileges I've ever had and I'm still in awe over the experience. So thankful to have these images to go along with my memories of Cecelia's birth.
I couldn't decide between using the color images or just black and white, so I just decided to mix it up a bit and used black and white for the big horizontal pictures and then color for the two vertical shots. I love both types of images, obvi. Enjoy!
And because I'm a sucker for slideshows set to music (especially the song that we used for Cecelia's gender reveal!), watch this slideshow Andrea made. I dare you not to shed a tear. :)
The Birth of Cecelia Lorene from Andrea Weiss on Vimeo.
It goes without saying, but if you are near the Milwaukee area and have any desire to pursue birth photography, you must contact Andrea. It's one of the best gifts I have ever gotten and you will not regret it. Thank you again, Andrea, for doing this for us! And yes----she does still like me, even after seeing me in labor:)