When the call came yesterday, her voice was shaking.
I’m having contractions. You can come over.
Never before had I been “on call” – but here I was.
I had been hired to photograph our friends Ivy + Ben’s homebirth, and the baby was coming – quickly.
While I darted out the door with my camera in tow, my phone buzzed with a text:
We’re cooking. So we’ll have some food for you.
Leave it to Ivy to be hospitable while managing contractions!
When I arrived at Ivy + Ben’s house in Monrovia, Ivy was preparing eggs from their backyard chickens.
We greeted each other and caught up, but every few minutes she’d have to take a break for a contraction.
Even in her pain, Ivy was unintentionally graceful.
Heroically, Ivy treated her family and two friends (Jordan and Selah) to a shared meal, which was beautifully ordinary.
The comfort of home freed Ivy and Ben’s sons Diego and Emilio to play and chat about the impending birth.
After the meal, intensity deepened for Ivy.
She decided to transition to the backyard garden, which is full of life.
There, Ivy felt the labor physically and emotionally.
At one point during the process, Ivy and I were discussing what color labor is:
Waves of deep, firey red, fading into purple, she said.
Ivy’s vulnerable strength in this moment was awe-inspiring.
I remember tearing up when I saw her like this, told her the truth about how blessed her family is…
And thought about how blessed I was to witness this sacred time.
“The birth of babies in the world is a sign that God has not yet given up on us,”
our pastor preached on Sunday, while I was sitting near Ivy, Ben, and the boys.
I heard it on Sunday, but I experienced it yesterday.
What a gift.
Just like waves of contractions, the waves of emotions ebbed and flowed.
As quickly as the intensity came, it left -
and Ivy wanted to go on a walk.
Once again, we were back in the ordinary: going for a stroll around the neighborhood. Whenever Ivy felt a contraction, she would time it on her phone. When she wasn’t having a contraction, she was knocking on neighbors doors to say “hi”.
It was like she was born to do this.
When Ivy got home, the labor preparations began (with the help of Diego). Oils and instruments were arranged,
The tub was filled,
And the midwife began testing Ivy. As the excitement rose,
The intensity returned, and Ivy sought needed comfort from Ben in the kitchen.
Diego, being the compassionate person he is, heard his Mom’s cries,
And provided love.
This is love.
Ivy had garnered strength, and was soon going to give birth to a little boy or girl.
She went into the bedroom, where homemade gifts were hung from beloved friends,
and birthing preparations were made under Ivy + Ben’s wedding photos.
A breeze and sunlight filtered through the curtains.
Emilio wandered the house with his stuffed doll-
I had seen him carry it around church on Sunday, dutifully preparing for the baby in his own way.
Anticipation was building…
A few hours later, through courage and endurance,
Ivy gave birth!
To a beautiful Baby Girl!
She was deemed perfectly healthy by the midwife,
And perfectly perfect by me.
Isn’t she incredible?
What a gift!
I’m going to let Ivy and Ben (and Diego and Emilio) announce her name,
but suffice it to say, its as beautiful as she is.
Welcome to the world, friend!
Ivy and Ben, thank you for letting me be a part of your daughter’s Birthday!
Like Josh said on Sunday,
Today God is still with us.