Being able to shoot Jasmine’s birth was/is such an honor. She is an Austin, TX birth doula AND birth photographer. To know she trusted me to capture her labor, birth and most vulnerable moments was really awesome. (Just like it is for all families, an honor)
Of course, we met online, in a mom group tailored to baby wearing and Sakura Bloom. She reached out a little over a month before her due date and of course I said YES, even though the commute was a little over an hour. We chatted about her birth plans (home birth, pool, natural etc.) and did our best to ‘plan’ how everything would work.
I told her as soon as things started getting consistent to let me know and I would be on my way, even if it was too early. I would rather take trips up to Austin for things to fizzle out than to not even make it to the birth.
Her due date came…and it went. She figured Oliver would be a 41-weeker just like Nova. I had texted her Friday the 9th talking about how she would be giving birth soon and her guess was Monday or Tuesday. On Saturday, the 10th, I wore my Birth Photographer shirt and carried my birth bag with me all day in hopes she’d let me know things started moving along. But nothing.
Sunday, December 11th was my daughter Ava’s first cheer competition. The morning of her competition we woke up at 9 and I got nervous that Jasmine would be in labor. Her competition was downtown, which was over an hour and a half commute so my nerves were spiking a little.
At 11:41 AM, right as we were packing up the car to head to the Freeman Colosseum, I got the “I’m in early labor” text. I got super excited, like I squealed and told my husband that I would be taking my own car and my birth bag and I texted Jasmine back. I asked her about consistency and whether or not she thought I should come. She let me know they were 6-10 minutes apart, happening consistently but she wanted to wait because she needed to run some last minute errands. I let her know that sounded good, my travel time was a little longer because of where our location was and to let me know if anything changed.
At 2:30 I asked her how she was feeling. She let me know she was feeling good, the contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and getting more intense. I decided that I was going to head that way, be in the Austin area and close to her just in case.
There was no response, but I hopped on the road, picked up some extra batteries and took off my shoes for the drive.
I arrived in Austin around 4:15 and let her know I was going to stay around 10-15 minutes of her home and for her to let me know when she was ready. I didn’t hear back. I went and got some starbucks and sat in a parking lot 5 minutes away from her home and sitll didn’t hear back. So I called her. She didn’t answer. I started getting that gross hot-sweat and my anxiety level peaked a bit. She called back. She was resting and about to get in the shower and let me know I could go over in about 20 minutes (by this time it was like 5 pm). I agreed and just headed over to her home and parked in front of it and waited there.
Around 5:30 I had to go pee, so I asked if I could come in and she said yes so I headed inside, went pee and relaxed with her while watching Home Alone. Joe was supporting jasmine and doing random things while Jasmine’s mom was grandma-nesting.
She was moaning and breathing through contractions like a champ and it sounded like she was in decently early labor but I just hung around and snapped some pictures of her resting on the couch. She asked her husband to go get a liner for the birth pool and some Chipotle so she could eat something before the part really got started.
Around that time, her doula, Erica, arrived and began comforting her. She advised she should probably call her midwife, Laurie, to let her know what was going on and see what she recommended. When she called her, her contractions almost instantly started intensifying. Listening to her go from basic breathing to intense breathing happened instantly. Her midwife had the pool, but was in Wimberly and let Jasmine know she would send her assistant, Leena to check in on everything.
Leena arrived shortly after 6 to check in on Jasmine and give her main midwife an update. Around 6:50 to 7 she asked Jasmine if she wanted to be checked just to see where things were going and Jasmine agreed. The assistant stated she was around a 6-7 and was going to check in with Laurie. Out of nowhere, things got INTENSE-
Jasmine began asking(screaming) for help, Joe had just walked in from running errands, greeted her and began supporting her immediately. I thought, 6-7, no big deal, so I went to the bathroom to hear very loud grunting noises. Jasmine was bearing down. I ran to grab my camera as Jasmine was twisting off of the couch and onto the floor and she began bearing down even louder.
He was on his way.
I snapped a few pictures from the side, but wanted to get closer and there was a huge coffee table blocking my way to get closer. Erica and Joe was supporting Jasmine, Jasmine’s mom was shining the flashlight on crowning Oliver and Leena was helping Jasmine deliver. I hulked, pushed the HUGE coffee table out of the way, got on my knees and began snapping Oliver as he was making his way into this world. Just as Oliver was crowning and Jasmines water was breaking, her midwife Laurie walked in and began assisting. It all happened so fast and it was AMAZING.
Oliver Massimo Joseph was born at 7: 26 PM
Leena quickly passed Oliver between Jasmine’s legs, and Jasmine brought Oliver up to her chest. She did it. Things didn’t go as planned, but they went amazingly perfect and left us all with an amazing memory of a brave and strong mama bringing her little guy into the world.
After Oliver was born, we went to Jasmine and Joe’s room for her to rest, eat and begin nursing. Everyone was relaxed, hanging out and so in love with the alert and awake Oliver.