Homebirth Photo Session
Ivy + Ben

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.

Warmly,

Megan



Stephanie Feenstra - February 24, 2012 - 9:46 am

Megan, you have done such an amazing job at documenting this day for their family. Those black and white images in the kitchen just prior to the birth are simply incredible–how blessed they are to have you to capture this moment in time!

Jordan - February 24, 2012 - 10:15 am

You made mercy as I relived the miracle… Beautiful job, Megan!!

Melanie Dosen - February 24, 2012 - 10:18 am

What a beautiful gift you have given the ZR family! I was moved to tears by the beauty and vulnerability of it all. And Baby certainly looks like a ZR! Welcome, baby!

Ivy zequeira - February 24, 2012 - 10:39 am

Megan!! It was am amazing day. I felt so loved and grateful to have you with me. Thank you for holding the sacred space with us while capturing the siicity and power of the day. The photos and your words are a blessing.

Leah - February 24, 2012 - 11:56 am

So beautiful! Such a unique and perfect story… Can’t wait to welcome this strong girl into our community. Congrats ZR family!!

misty - February 24, 2012 - 1:02 pm

beautiful! thank you for sharing this sweet story. :)

Sonia Luginbuhl - February 24, 2012 - 2:05 pm

My face is wet with happy tears! I’m glad this blog post is long, just like labor is. What an amazing way to capture Ivy’s story. Congrats, Ivy! Beautiful work, Megan.

megan - February 24, 2012 - 4:23 pm

Stephanie, thank you! Those kitchen images are special to me, too.

megan - February 24, 2012 - 4:25 pm

Jordan, you really shined yesterday, too! The support you offered to Ben + Ivy by spending time with the kids was so loving.

megan - February 24, 2012 - 4:26 pm

Melanie, thank you! I agree- vulnerability is beautiful!

megan - February 24, 2012 - 4:27 pm

Ivy, I can’t stop thinking about you and your little girl! I feel so honored to have been there with you yesterday. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

megan - February 24, 2012 - 4:29 pm

Leah, I love how it is uniquely their story, too. Love them.

megan - February 24, 2012 - 4:29 pm

Misty, thank you!

megan - February 24, 2012 - 4:30 pm

Sonia, Thank you. I’m glad you were touched by their story -its such a beautiful one.

Emily - February 24, 2012 - 4:44 pm

Oh Megan – you captured these moments beautifully by word and image! What a treasure…

Meghan J - February 25, 2012 - 8:11 am

Oh this is so touching. I feel so full of joy!! Ivy, Ben, Diego, Emilio – congratulations. What a beautiful experience you had as a family. Megan, you did an incredible job of capturing the emotion and beauty of the day. And welcome, Baby Girl!! You are so loved!

Jen - February 25, 2012 - 4:52 pm

Megan… What an amazing gift for their family and so eloquently told to all of us! Thank you!

megan - February 26, 2012 - 3:21 pm

Thank you, Emily! It was so beautiful..

megan - February 26, 2012 - 3:22 pm

Thank you, Meghan! We’ve noticed a significant amount of visits from Down To Earth Forums – thanks for sharing!

megan - February 26, 2012 - 3:22 pm

Thank you, Jen! Isn’t she incredible?!

Jenny Hall - February 27, 2012 - 8:35 am

Megan,

You are a gifted photographer and writer. I found the link to your blog on Navelgazing Midwife’s page on facebook – and she said that even though all births are powerful and awe inspiring, not all births make her cry, and me being a midwife myself feel the same way. I was at a birth yesterday that was beautiful, but I didn’t tear up. Then reading through your descriptions of this birth and seeing the beauty of it, tears welled up.

I just wanted to say thank you for reminding us all of what a miracle it is to witness such a beautiful event. I hope you continue doing birth photography and educate people that birth can be such a powerful beautiful event and not medical and cold.

Sincerely,
Jenny

Meghan J - February 27, 2012 - 2:49 pm

You’re welcome! Too bad most of the women from the forum are from Australia, so they probably won’t bring much business ;)

Celeste - February 27, 2012 - 6:34 pm

I found your site though a photographer friend of mine and I have to say, this is one of the most beautiful things I have seen and read. Truly remarkable. True talent. Thank you for sharing your awesome talent and this family’s beautiful story.

megan - February 27, 2012 - 7:34 pm

Jenny, Thank you for affirmation! I posted your comment on our facebook page because it touched me so much that I wanted to share it. Take care!

megan - February 27, 2012 - 7:36 pm

Celeste – Oh my word, you are sweet! Thank you so much!!

robin - March 9, 2012 - 1:27 pm

Wow!! I almost missed this amazing gift!

I feel such gratitude to your family for sharing this sacred moment with me! James was born at home, and it brought back such touching memories for me! Such beauty was definitely meant to be shared! Megan is lucky to be born to such an inspired and beautiful family! And of course, the documentation was exquisite! It made me want to be there!

Robin

Steve and Marla D. Wilkie - March 24, 2012 - 5:13 pm

Just amazing photos of the whole family. So glad you could be there with them. Blessed us so much-like we shared in this wonderful and beautiful event with them. Thank you-

Merrilee - April 30, 2012 - 2:11 pm

Megan, these images are simply amazing! They brought tears to my eyes. What a blessing you gave to this family.

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