Embarking on a Home Birth Journey with Stephanie Cabrera: Embracing the Joy of Doing What You Love and the Unexpectedly Overwhelming Response that Follows
When the news of our second baby’s arrival reached us over six years ago, a wave of determination washed over me. I knew deep within that this home birth experience had to be different, a cherished journey I wanted to embark on with renewed perspective and passion. Little did I anticipate the incredible reception and ongoing support that would unfold before me.
Images by STEPHANIE CABRERA
I decided to have a water home birth with a Midwife and Doula. With much research and preparation, I experienced the most empowering feelings I’ve ever come to know, the power that we have of giving life.
I became obsessed with our bodies, our potential, and the ability we indeed possess as women.
Years went by…and eventually a spark ignited it all. This slow season I vowed to focus on myself, on doing what makes me happy not what makes me more money.
I had wanted to photograph births for so long, here was my chance. I posted about my availability, and someone replied right away.
She was due very soon, this felt like a great way to start building up my portfolio immediately. Not knowing much about Shauntay, whose home birth I’d be witnessing and photographing, I prepped all my stuff for the big moment.
On Sunday, January 8th around 3:30 am I receive a call from Shauntay’s midwife…she’s in active labor!
Shauntay had been dealing with pain for about seven days already with Prodromal labor, and we all knew she was exhausted. I jumped out of bed grabbed my bag and left.
As I rushed over to her house I couldn’t help but feel relief and anxiety for Shauntay, she had been through so much and today would be the day. She would have a water home birth.
When I got there, things were a bit calm, but you could feel the mental and emotional activity happening. Mama was giving it to her all through the contractions.
She was tired; she felt defeated; I get it I’ve been there. ‘you have to do this,’ ‘no one else can do it for you’ ‘you have to do this now cause this baby is coming’ that’s what we all knew she felt.
That feeling of being defeated but having to continue somehow. She sent everyone other than her Midwife (Bethany Stricker) and Doula (Courtney butts) out of the room.
Two assistant Midwives (Jennifer Mozeke) (Becky Thorpe) and I waited anxiously outside of the door as momma screamed and roared in the other room.
We waited for quite a bit until a bit of silence we had was broken by a loud shout “I have to push now!” We all ran in like a pack of lionesses tending to their young and got ready to welcome this beautiful being into our world.
With everyone ready to help her and I ready to document within a minute she lets out the biggest roar of the night, with that push the baby crowned.
Followed by what can only be described as; a roar unlike any other, not loud, not shrill, a roar of accomplishment, strength, and power, the ‘roar of life.’ She had been reaching down, and when he was out, she pulled him close to her chest as fast as she could.
She couldn’t believe he was finally here, all the months leading up to this moment, the mirror selfies, the belly rubs the surprise kicks, all of them now had a face, ten fingers, and ten cute little toes.
The tears would not stop flowing, she had the love she carried inside of her for so long finally in her arms, resting on her chest.
She could now hear and feel him breathe, and she had done it. She had summoned all her strength and courage to bring this beautiful little bundle of love into the world, a proud Mama.
This is what I love. This is what moves me. Home births are more than a statistic, more than an inconvenience you want to get over with.
The women of Abide Women Services know this all too well and try their hardest to bring this beautiful experience to everyone they can, working with low-income families and women to bring them the best care in the most natural way.
It’s people and communities like this that motivate me to continue. Women need to know their worth not what someone perceived our worth to be. I want and will continue to document women in all their glory and power.
I’m super excited to experience and learn so much more along this journey.
We really hope you enjoyed this home birth/water birth by Stephanie Cabrera and the power her images have. Birth photography is something special and unique and capturing images of birth is one of the most fascinating things ever.
There are many ways in capturing Birth Story Photography but the way Stephanie was able to capture this birth of a child is truly unique and memorable.
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