This story needs to be told. Women need to be invited into this birth, and what a privilege it is. When most people tell their birth story it usually starts with some kind of time frame to give the listener a setting. The hours of labour and time of birth become key points that people remember. This birth journey went for days. To a young woman who has never witnessed a birth, the thought of that is enough to scare the begeebees out of them and that is why I want you to see these images. Time is irrelevant to beauty when you look for it.
The space was peaceful and the kettle constantly hot. As I entered their home, I instantly felt as though I was among old friends. While Rachel calmly laboured in the pool, the midwives were knitting. They were a subtle presence of encouragement and confidence when needed. The night rolled on, and labour stopped and started. No one can tell for sure the length a labour will be, but one thing we knew was that we were there for the journey no matter how long. The sun rose the next day to a foggy morning, with Spring boasting its arrival in colour. Elizabeth and Marie Louise were a wealth of knowledge and over the time spent with them I felt like I had graduated from doula training. The hours blurred into days as labour continued to be irregular. Rachel is a truly determined woman and Matt a patience and considerate support. As time became a challenge they remained focused and strong. They prepared in every way for the birth of their baby, and chose to birth with midwives at home.
One evening we were all sitting around having dinner, laughing and sharing stories with belly dance music going. It was a special time, one I remember fondly, thinking how grateful I am to be invited into these places as an artist. I’m so incredibly blessed.
As the next morning dawned, Rachel and Matt decided it was time that they wanted to go into the hospital to help establish a continuous labour. These two were just so focused, so determined and inspiring. Credit must go to the Bendigo Health staff for making this transition as smooth as it could have been. Of course Rachel and Matt felt many different emotions at that time but the staff were so respectful and patient with their choices. Rachel asked me weeks earlier, ‘Can you please photograph the love’. That was easy. There is so much beauty in birth when you look for it, my job is to capture it.
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