The Exciting Homebirth of Kennedy | Greenville Birth Photographer
Alyse and I didn’t know each other (other than Facebook) prior to the day before Kennedy decided she was ready to come. We weren’t even suppose to start our “on-call” period for 2 more days! But this little lady wanted to take us all for a ride!
If there is one thing that is common among every birth I attend, it’s that birth is always unpredictable. Kennedy wanted to make sure we were all aware of that, and to make sure we were all ready for anything.
Let’s back up just a little bit. Seriously, less than 48 hours. Alyse had already booked me, but on Thursday (March 14th) we had decided to officially meet. I had planned to meet her at her home in Clemson, but at the last minute we decided to meet up with another friend (and the last birth I photographed), Laura, at Swamp Rabbit Cafe to let our youngest ones play. Ruby (my daughter) and Charlie (Alyse’s toddler) played along with my son in the gravel as we chatted as long as we could. Soon we got pulled to the play area and our friend Laura headed home.
Alyse and I started chatting more about her birth. Her plans, her past experiences, and way beyond that. I remember her saying that when her water broke, she would call. Baby followed fairly quick in her past two labors. So we knew that would be my signal to head her way, since the drive was about an hour. Eventually we decided to part ways, and planned for me to possibly come visit her home in the next few days.
Around 7pm that evening I had just finished tucking my kiddos into bed with my husband. I picked up my phone to check it, and I had a text. It was Alyse.
“So uh my water just broke.”
At first I thought she might be kidding, so my response was a simple “seriously??”.
When she replied with a yep, I knew I needed to get my kids taken care of and be ready. My husband had to work over night, so I called my parents to see if they could grab the kids for the night, instead of me having to wake them up in the middle of the night. They picked them up shortly after and I started the waiting game. She decided to give things an hour or so and see if contractions picked up. We checked in around 8:30. Nothing exciting yet so she decided to lay down and rest. I made sure my volume was up and I went to bed as well.
The next morning I hadn’t heard anything so I sent her a text to check it. She had plans to visit the chiropractor, and the acupuncturist and to see where those got her. So around 4:30pm, we touched base again. Neither worked, so she was off to try the castor oil. 5:00pm she texted me that she thought the castor oil was doing the trick. We chatted again a couple times and around 8:00pm she was starting to feel more confident that we would be meeting baby soon.
I was at her house by 10:15pm.
Alyse was working through contractions in her living room with her doula Kirsten Freeman, from Three Little Birds Birth Services, offering counter pressure when we walked in. Her husband close by and ready for when she needed him. Jen went to setting up, and I started snapping photos. After about 15 minutes we all joked about how quickly Jen swooped around and had everything set up. We were just waiting on the pool to arrive. Alyse was determined to be in the water and she was getting very anxious to feel the ease of the warm tub.
After about 20 minutes of contractions, Alyse decided that she needed to use the restroom, so she went in alone and the rest of us continued to chat and prepare for the rest of the team to arrive. Around 5 or 6 minutes passed, as Alyse’s husband waited outside the restroom door, when Jen decided to check in on her. She went in for a moment, then came out and grabbed a towel to dampen and cool down Alyse. After she went back into the restroom, I decided to sneak around and take a few photos of Jen taking care of Alyse. As I opened the door Alyse had stood up and Jen calmly asked for someone to grab the gloves.
Baby girl was coming.
She asked for a towel. Matt, Alyse’s husband found that and handed it to Jen. Then gloves. It took us a second to find the gloves, but Kirsten found them and helped Jen put them on. Once we gave her the towel and gloves Jen calmly announced that someone needed to call Carrie and let her know that baby was coming. Next she asked for the syringe bulb, as I grabbed that of the kitchen counter for her, I believe her next words were,
“Someone call Carrie now. Tell her baby is coming……you know what.” (#youknowwhat)
At first I had no idea what she meant. Then it hit me like a wall. I could not figure out Jen’s iphone, and I did not have Carrie’s number in my phone (that has been changed). I did not think of googling her number, so I did the next best thing. A facebook message.
It was 10:39pm on Friday the 15th. She was coming out feet first.
Once I sent the message, Jen then asked for someone to call 911. With us not being able to call Carrie like she needed, she wanted to be prepared. All remaining calm, we called 911. I passed the phone to Alyse’s husband so he could give the address.
Within a minute, baby came out and the rest of the midwife team arrived. Baby and mama were doing great so ambulance was canceled and the team continued to take care of Alyse and her new baby girl as normal. What a rush.
Daddy took their tiny peanut of a baby, and cuddled her in the living room as Alyse got cleaned up and moved into her bed. After a few minutes, daddy brought baby girl back to mama for some skin to skin and they started to soak in all that just happened. Alyse had just been to the midwife the morning before and baby was head down. Their only guess was that baby flipped and that was what broke her water the night before.
Alyse just rocked a footling breech homebirth, in her older daughters small bathroom. (Which side note…her older daughter was super grossed out by the whole idea of a homebirth. So shhhh…don’t tell her!) To say we were in awe, is an understatement. How badass! She literally was talking to us a few minutes before!
Not only was I lucky enough to photograph Kennedy’s crazy entrance, I got to photograph Jen (who has been one of my biggest idols) catch her first baby. Her first catch and she was a FOOTLING BREECH catch! She was absolutely amazing at staying calm and keeping mama calm. I don’t think this birth could have went any more beautifully. She is amazing at everything she does!
So welcome to the world Kennedy! I know you are going to do amazing things with your life, and you’ll probably keep your mama and daddy on their toes for the rest of their lives. I am so lucky to have been there to capture your amazing birth.
And Alyse, you are such a badass. So. Freaking. Amazing. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your birth team!