I spoke to Bethany about her positive birth story.
Hi, Bethany, what was your due date?
I was due “dotty” originally on the 9th October and then that was brought forward to 4th October.
I was overdue with my first, Indie, by exactly a week and her birthday is 21st September so I was actually hoping for more time between birthdays therefore the more overdue I was the better.
I had thought baby would come sooner as my bump was so low down but I kept in good spirits considering, we made it to October 5th and that’s when I started to become a little impatient.
I used crochet as a way of taking my anxiety away from it so I could stay positive around my toddler.
I felt, by the 5th, totally ready with everything I needed or thought I would need/want for baby’s arrival so perhaps that’s what triggered me becoming a little more anxious and impatient for baby to arrive.
My birth was very similar to my first & I had a low labour building up before active labour, I was 3/4cm dilated by the time I went to have my first sweep when I was 2 days over.
How did you prepare for your upcoming birth?
I felt prepared and happy enough as that’s what I had suspected from having a few contractions a few evenings prior.
I didn’t really prepare for the birth as such merely just had my bag ready.
The Sunday came and I had gone to be checked to see if my waters had broken for the second time. I was offered a second sweep by the community midwife I had actually asked to swap from because I wasn’t a fan of her at the time (wrong assumption & now think it’s lovely that my pregnancy ended with a positive about her). She confirmed how I was a definite 4cm dilated and couldn’t understand why baby was keeping me…
Probably instantly I could feel niggles again, this continued in Tesco’s and I was having contractions all around the shop…
Must have looked mental hahaha!
Later that day they increased and become very frequent.
Do you have any particular memories from your birth?
I remember my toddler seeing me on the birthing ball despite me trying to work around where she was to avoid her worrying or getting scared but she came and gave me a huge cuddle and said it’s okay mummy with a kiss… one of those heart warming moments you just want to cherish …
Only I was mid contraction
I remember despite contractions picking up and being very frequent that I was happy at home counting and that I felt in total control – I mainly wanted to stay at home just to watch the last episode of Victoria on ITV… selfishly.
But I totally knew I’d have no concentration after baby came & had been saying all along that baby cannot make their arrival on a Sunday interrupting the programme so it would be very typical for it to happen on the last of the series!
I remember my waters being broken by accident from the midwife checking me over, I still worried for some reason that I was going to be sent home … it felt like Niagra falls in my lower half and as I didn’t experience that with my first it was just indescribable … and one I do not wish to repeat.
The moment I got into the birthing pool I just felt completely at ease, really relaxed and just quite happy TBH… I felt a bit like a mermaid.
The massive thing that does stick in my mind which was mainly towards the end of my contractions was the pain…
I knew that a contraction doesn’t last more than 60 seconds so when I started to get one I would imagine in my head that I was cycling up an arse of a hill (Copnor bridge to begin with & then it progressed to the Q.A. [email protected]*!h of a hill!) and then when I made the peak and the pain would then release I would be cycling down the other side with the wind in my hair so happy for that to be over…
Although this was then repeated how many times after and I don’t think I could repeat the cycle on those hills quite so many times, once would be enough for me …
I mean have you cycled up those hills?! Jesus!!!
Do you have a favourite photo? Can you explain why?
My favourite photo …
I have loads too many to chose, I love how me & my partner were captured …
Of course I critique myself with my double chin and what was I thinking with the school girl frenchies but the power in one photo that takes me back to that moment & the fact I can remember his touch, my pain and just the rawness of it is simply captivating, in my opinion.
You can never ever beat a photo of the dad seeing his child for the first time – I mean I love him but I was so caught up in the moment I didn’t get a chance to look at him really it was just me & my baby…
His emotion is just beautiful and so attractive to see! Reminds me of why I love him & how beautiful a man he is…
I am obsessed with the one of me in the pool holding him for the first time, it reminds me of the moments leading to it, how I felt and just think it’s pretty bloody amazing … like beyond amazing!
That little baby was in me minutes before that photo…
All the “I can’t do it’s” became I did it, the photo is there as proof and after all those months and all those contractions, he was there my beautiful ( and very big boy ) my little Arloh.
One of each, you can’t get luckier than that if you tried, both times not finding out the sex probably made the experience all the more amazing if that’s even possible!
Having a birth is beautiful, having it photographed was spectacular… and to share it with someone who is probably the most down to earth relaxed woman I know made it incredibly comfortable for both me & my partner.
You were comforting when needed, supportive if asked and a lot of the time it was like the camera wasn’t there & it was just me, Nathan, one hell of an amazing midwife and a very good friend in the room
Bethany’s birth was the second ever birth I photographed. It was very different from the first I photographed as for various reasons Bethany had chosen to give birth in the consultant led labour ward at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Because of this, I’d had to be added as a birthing partner along with her significant other. In the event, I actually drove us all there as Bethany’s partner doesn’t drive and they were staying close to me at Bethany’s mums.
This meant that no matter how quickly things went there was no way I’d miss a singe shot. Something that I worried would happen if the birth went quickly.
While Bethany’s birth wasn’t unusually quick, she progressed at a reasonable and expected pace with such grace. I really hope I caught the serenity of Bethany’s birth. she was so tranquil the midwife and I were quite surprised when she began crowning.
She really had trusted her body and her contractions and was so going ‘with the flow’ we didn’t realise how far she had come.
I had heard people speak of breathing out their babies but I had always thought it was something of hyperbole but Bethany certainly proved me wrong!
The other thing I wanted to portray with Bethany’s birth was how incredible her birth partner (not me!) was at supporting her. He was never far, always close physically, verbally and emotionally and seemed really able to anticipate what she would need as she needed it.
I took one photo which I love hats really captured this. Bethany is sat on her birthing ball while the midwives were filling the pool. She was very obviously working through a surge and her birth partner was behind her, holding her hands and physically supporting her while he whispered how much he loved and how strong she was. Gets me every time.
One thing I wish I had been able to do was view the room Bethany would be birthing in ahead of time. This would have made things like figuring out where the best angles could be achieved from. Bethany’s birth was super quick so I was able to work through this and figure it out as I went.
This is very much the nature of birth photography where unexpected things are around every corner and I pride myself on being very adaptable.
Earthside Birth Photgraphy, The Start of the Adventure.