I met Luca's mama, a wedding photographer, about 9 months ago while she was in Lynchburg to shoot a wedding. Originally not from this area, she needed a local second shooter for the wedding and I was happy for the opportunity. About 2 minutes after meeting her at the wedding, she whispered to me "I'm pregnant! The bride doesn't know and I need major help today!" My jaw dropped and I was so excited for her! We worked hard that day and near the end of my time with her, I gently started a conversation with her about pregnancy, birth, and running a wedding photography business alongside the journey of entering motherhood. I tried to contain my birth-nerd-status as much as possible, but it turns out (as she shared with me months later) I was pretty obvious about it. Hah. :) That turned out to be a good thing because a few months ago she moved to Virginia and was in need (want) of a birth photographer. I couldn't believe she lived so close and that she wanted ME to shoot her birth! I was absolutely thrilled at the idea of being there with her during such a momentous time!
Her due date came and went, and with it all of my "cannot miss" sessions and weddings passed as well (score!). As she neared 41 weeks, I knew there was no longer a chance of me missing her birth due to prior scheduled conflicts (though I did have a wonderful back-up photographer on-call for me just in case!) and I was getting more and more excited! On Sunday afternoon (June 1st), she contacted me and let me know she was checked into The Birthing Inn at INOVA Hospital and it looked like she was going to be induced. After some hemming and hawing (and a phone conversation with a very experienced birth photographer - boy am I SO grateful for the Virginia Birth Photographers group!!), I made the decision to stay put and get a good night of sleep before hitting the road in the morning for the 2hr drive. I left the house and I wasn't on the road for more than 15 minutes when I got the "It's time" phone call. So perfect!
I arrived at The Birthing Inn and was quickly escorted into her room while she was deep into working through contractions. Her doula, Tara, was incredibly calming and encouraging while her husband was tending to any and every need she mentioned. "Water, please... Hands! Please!..." Every request fulfilled... her team was awesome.
She was induced with pitocin and labored without pain-medication for about 7 hours before her sweet Luca boy entered this world. She worked hard and her team was incredibly supportive. I have honestly never felt so welcome at a hospital birth as I was at The Birthing Inn. The staff were truly respectful of and eager to do whatever they could to please this mama. Because she wanted a birth photographer, they would duck out of the way of the camera and invite me in closer to get good shots for her to have. I never expect this from birthing professionals because, honestly, pictures come in low priority after both the mama and baby's health (as they absolutely should!). So this was a total treat and I was able to get some really unique shots! I can't thank everyone enough for making the whole experience so wonderful for everyone involved!
Without further ado... Luca's birth story in pictures: