birth stories: healing came

birth stories, birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photography

birth stories are always so awesome to me, each one so different.  i encourage every mom to write down their experience because at birthdays, it will be fun to share that day with the child.

birth stories, birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photography

here is the birth story of Caitlin Faith.  for andrea, healing came through giving birth vaginally after a c-section.

birth stories, birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photography

I woke up on the morning of June 29, 2014 around 7:00 a.m. with an intense contraction. I was 5 days past my due date & had been contracting for weeks. They would be regular for a few hours & then fizzle out. Each time it got my hopes up that labor was beginning. This felt stronger than any I had previously had. I went to the bathroom thinking it was just because my bladder was full. But, a minute later I had another one. When they kept coming every 1-3 minutes I thought it was real labor but, still worried they would stop.

birth stories, birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photography

I had been checked the day before & was 4-5 cm. As annoying as those warm up contractions had been for all those weeks they had changed my cervix. I was glad to be off to such a good start! I told my husband I thought this was the real thing & hopped in the shower.

I was so excited & filled with adrenaline, rushing around to gather last minute things. We had an hour & ten minute drive on back roads to get to the hospital. I was worried about handling contractions on the bumpy roads for that long so, wanted to leave asap. I called my doula, support friend & midwife to let them know we were leaving for the hospital. We had to drop our 4 year old off at my in-laws, but it was on the way. Once in the car my contractions slowed to 4-8 minutes, which was a huge blessing. All I had to do to get through them was slow breathing.

birth stories, birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photography

We arrived at the hospital around 9:15 a.m. I wanted to get everything set up before focusing on my labor. I changed into my birth skirt, set up my aromatherapy diffuser, put on my lavender lotion, brushed my teeth & put Norah Jones on. Then I felt ready to really get into labor. My midwife checked me & I was a stretchy 5 cm. I got a heplock IV & had my labs drawn. I stood swaying next to the bed, leaning on it for support.

birth stories, birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photography

Then things get really hazy, labor was getting intense & I was entering “labor land.” I tried sitting on the birth ball but didn’t like any pressure on my bottom during contractions. I tried leaning on the birth ball & hands & knees on the floor. Both used too much muscle to stabilize myself during contractions, which made them feel worse. I ended up wanting to get in the tub. The water felt amazing & my husband held my hand & poured water over my belly. The contractions intensified. I was low moaning to get through them.

The pain got worse & I decided to get out. I again stood alongside the raised bed & leaned on it during contractions & swayed my hips. When a contraction came I would grab someone’s hand, look into their eyes & moan low until it was gone. This helped me to feel safe, like they understood what I was feeling.

birth stories, birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photography

After a while I felt tired & got into bed on my side.I don’t remember much of who helped me cope or what I did. I know my husband was always there holding my hand. At one point my doula reminded me of “the edges” & “seeing, hearing, feeling” techniques from the birthing from within book. Those really helped me to focus elsewhere. When I would start breathing too fast my support friend would count & help me slow down my breath.

At 2:20 my midwife checked me & I was 9.5 cm, with just an anterior lip left. Baby’s position was OP. I was very discouraged upon hearing this. It was one of the things I had worried about during my pregnancy. Someone said “You’ve made it all the way through natural labor, you’re almost there!” That lifted my spirits & I got back in focus.

birth stories, birth photography

At 3:30 I felt pressure & began to bear down on my own, my body was just doing it. My midwife was trying to reduce the anterior lip while I pushed. This was very uncomfortable & I wasn’t pushing very effectively. She offered to break my water & see if the baby would move down & reduce it. I was managing the contractions well & was worried I wouldn’t if my water broke. I couldn’t decide, so we just kept going. At 5:35 my water broke. The anterior lip finally reduced.

At 6:00 I started pushing lying on my back. This is what got my baby moving down, but I was getting muscle spasms in my hips every time I drew my legs back. I was tired & felt like I was floundering, unable to push my baby out. When I was laboring I had everyone to lean on & look to for support. However, pushing was all me, no one was going to do it for me. Once I realized this, I instinctively turned onto my hands & knees, rocked back & pushed with everything I had. I was ready for it to be over.

Caitlin Faith was born into the world at 7:12 pm. I yelled “I did it!”, & reached down to hold my daughter for the first time. She was so beautiful. I felt so elated & proud in those moments after her birth. It was everything that I had dreamed of & more. I thought to myself, “my healing birth,” as I cried tears of pure joy. I had gotten my vbac!

birth stories, birth photography

I wanted my birth documented with photos but was unsure of what it would be like to have a photographer there. Would I feel watched or be too aware of the camera?

birth stories, birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photogrpahy

I corresponded with Laura multiple times trying to make a decision. She was very patient with me. I am so glad I decided to have her there!

birth stories, birth photography, lifestyle birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photography

She was like a fly on the wall. There was no flash & I was only aware of the camera clicking a few times.

birth stories, birth photography, hospital birth, lifestyle birth photography, laura swift photography

Once I saw her sitting & praying for me. That made me smile. She lent her warm, quiet spirit to my birth & made me feel safe.

birth stories, birth photography, lifestyle birth photography, laura swift photography, hospital birth

I especially liked it that she had been a labor & delivery nurse herself. I would definitely recommend Laura to anyone wanting to photograph their birth. I am going to treasure my beautiful photos for years to come!

birth stories, birth photography, lifestyle birth photography, hospital birth, laura swift photography

my thoughts:  i loved being a part of this entire birth experience.  it is a sacred, intimate time between couples and i love that they were willing to share this moment with me. i feel so at home and comfortable participating in a birth.

thanks so much for sharing this time with me, andrea.

to read more about me and my story, check out my about me page.

to see more birth photography, here is my birth portfolio

birth photography questions, contact me  ~laura





  1. by Linda Collett on July 25, 2014  7:33 am Reply

    What a beautiful baby congratulations to all three of you. I love the idea of a photo diary. It was very tasteful and I agree I think you will cherish it always.

  2. by Angie on August 20, 2014  12:24 pm Reply

    This story blessed me and made me think of my labor as well. What a joyful time! I also had Laura at our birth and your description of her presence is so right on. I was so thankful to have her there as well.

  3. by Amy S on February 9, 2016  12:03 pm Reply

    Such a precious family and an amazing birth story! It makes me wish I would have hired a photographer to document my 3 birth stories. Congratulations!

  4. by Corey Sewel on February 9, 2016  3:04 pm Reply

    I love reading birth stories because each one is so different! Congratulations to this beautiful momma for being able to have a successful VBAC!

  5. by Maria on February 10, 2016  3:26 pm Reply

    I LOVE this! I never thought to include mamas full birth story on my blog. Such a great idea and I felt like I was there with her. You did an amazing job as her birth photographer!

  6. by Melanie Painter on February 10, 2016  3:53 pm Reply

    This birth story inspires me. I had a c-section with my first and I hope with our next baby I will be able to have a vbac. Congrats to this momma and her new baby. What beautiful birth photographs to go along with such an amazing story.

  7. by Brenden on February 10, 2016  10:30 pm Reply

    I think this is the first birth story I have ever read. It was so beautiful. This momma definitely had a plan, and it is so moving to hear how happy and determined she was through the whole birth process. The photos and the birth story are going to be a family treasure.

  8. by Beth on February 11, 2016  5:00 am Reply

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful birth story, and huge congrats to this strong mama. I just love hearing stories of successful VBACs... the ultimate happy ending!!

  9. by Esther on February 11, 2016  12:28 pm Reply

    Beautiful birth photography! I am just about to do a fresh 48 this morning and these images are inspiring. :) I look forward to following more if your work.

  10. by Megan on February 11, 2016  2:44 pm Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous birth story photography. What an amazing service you offer to expecting moms and what a perfect little baby in this post! :)

  11. by Christine D on February 11, 2016  4:39 pm Reply

    Such a great birth story! Giving birth can be so empowering, yet it can make a mother question herself in scary ways along the way. Your birth experience as a nurse and doula are such great skills to help you capture the important moments through your photography in a respectful and supportive way.

  12. by abbie on February 12, 2016  6:17 am Reply

    Lovely birth photography! What an amazing moment to have captured and remembered!

  13. by Kathy on February 12, 2016  2:07 pm Reply

    Congratulations to this Mama on her VBAC! It's such an accomplished feeling! (I know from experience!) This was a beautiful birth story to read. Labor is intense and unpredictable, but it sounds as though this Mom was a warrior and handled it perfectly! If I choose to have another Child, I am definitely going to be looking in to getting a birth photographer. What an amazing moment to experience!

  14. by Jenny Storment on February 12, 2016  3:04 pm Reply

    Wow congratulations to her for doing a VBAC. I have know a couple moms who have tried to do them and it didn't work. I really love your birth stories such a unique way to show off your clients births.

  15. by Samantha on February 12, 2016  8:24 pm Reply

    These photos by Laura Swift Photography are just touching. They are beautiful and tell the birth story of this sweet baby perfectly. These photos make the birthing process look easy when we all know that's definitely not the case. That's talent!

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