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Cesarean Birth

The Births of Olivia and Eliana : Denver Twin Birth Photographer

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The Births of Olivia and Eliana : Denver Twin Birth Photographer

This is the amazing twin birth of two little girls, Olivia and Eliana, at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. This cesarean birth was attended by one of our favorite doulas of all time, Katie Piccolo with Branches of Love Birth Services. We've worked alongside her multiple times, and absolutely recommend her so highly regardless of where or how you plan to birth your baby! I must also give a huge shout out to the nurse anesthetist, OB, nurses, and NICU at PVH for honoring our clients' wishes to have a birth photographer document their big day. When multiples are born, each baby has their own nursery care team, so as you can imagine, the room can easily become quite crowded. They were so wonderful to allow me into the OR with my camera, no questions asked, as they always have. For the sake of my clients, I am forever grateful!

Mom and dad wanted to let the photos tell their story, so without further ado, proceed scrolling, birth nerds!

**Note: All images are approved by our clients before being made public.**

The Births of Olivia and Eliana : Denver Twin Birth Photographer

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The Birth of Fiona :: Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center

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The Birth of Fiona :: Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center

This is the birth of sweet Fiona at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. We're so thrilled that Fiona's momma has chosen to share her birth story with all of us!! Read on, birth geeks!

Baby Fiona was one week overdue so our OB scheduled an induction for Thursday, September 28 at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital. When we arrived at 8pm that evening, the nurse said I was actually already having minor contractions, which I had assumed were just Braxton Hicks. She gave me the medication to induce labor, and Nick and I tried to get some rest (though I was way too excited to sleep!). I felt my first real contractions around 2am, but my progression was slow so they gave me Pitocin on Friday morning. Finally around noon, I stood up from my yoga ball … sneezed … and the sneeze literally made my water break! But despite walking laps around the labor and delivery ward with Nick all afternoon, I was still progressing very slowly.
By Friday evening, I had been in labor for nearly 24 hours, so we ordered an epidural to get me some relief. Unfortunately the procedure had to be redone about two hours later because the catheter moved out of place and stopped working. Luckily the second time worked like a charm, and we were able to sleep for a few hours before the nurse came in to check me first thing Sunday morning. I was finally 8cm dilated and fully effaced! We were all very excited and thought I should be able to start pushing soon, but a few hours later I came down with a fever due to infection because it had been too long since my water broke. What’s more, my cervix had actually started regressing due to inflammation, and I was now back down to 7cm dilated. My OB was not on call anymore, but her colleague arrived at the hospital and explained that a cesarean birth would be safest for both Fiona and I at this point.
During the surgery, Nick held my hand and we waited patiently to hear Fiona’s first cry. As she lifted Fiona up, the doctor joked that “there is no way this baby was coming out on her own” because Fiona ended up being a healthy 8lbs 12oz and 21 inches long! Nick brought her over to me and I tried to hold her on my chest but ended up having to throw up, so Nick held her while we snuggled her between our faces. When they wheeled me into the post-op room, I saw the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen: Nick holding Fiona skin-to-skin against his chest as she gazed up into his eyes. Finally I was able to hold her and in between adorable little cries and coos, Fiona latched on to breastfeed for the first time.
The next few hours in the post-op room and our recovery room are kind of a blur, but I remember that first night in the hospital with Fiona very clearly. At about midnight, Nick was sleeping on the couch beside my bed and the dim light of the street lamps was coming in my window. I held Fiona in my arms and told her “I’m your mom. I will always be here for you. I will always love you.” I’ll never forget how she looked up at me as if to say “I know, mom. I love you too.”

***Note: All images are approved by our clients before being made public***

The Birth of Fiona :: Denver Birth Story

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59 Most Loved Cesarean Birth Photos : Cesarean Awareness Month

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59 Most Loved Cesarean Birth Photos : Cesarean Awareness Month

Over the years, I've had the joy of accompanying many families on their journeys to parenthood. Looking back, I remember each and every one and all of its unique, special moments. No two births are the same, and babies all arrive differently. Some babies are born sunny-side-up, some babies are born early, some babies are born butt-first, feet-first, some with vernix, some with caputs, many with cords around their necks, some with a nuchal hand, some are born in pools, some on the floor, some in cars, and some in ORs.

If you know me, you know there's a special place in my heart reserved just for babies arriving via cesarean birth.

You might assume that by the time one is admitted to the OR, every cesarean birth is the same... a cookie cutter operation. After all, the surgical team has their regimen perfected like a finely-tuned machine, right? As a birth photographer, I can tell you that each cesarean birth is just as unique as each vaginal birth... it's just a matter of noticing the details, the small important moments, and honoring them.

And so now, I'm thrilled to share with you, in honor of Cesarean Awareness Month, some of my favorite cesarean images I've captured during my career.

(C) 2014 Michelle Garey Photography

Hold on.

Before we get too far in, I first want to raise a question: What does Cesarean Awareness mean to you? You're probably seeing a dramatic uptick in cesarean-related posts this month (if not, you will), so I'm wondering, what do those images mean to you, as you scroll through? Do you feel more educated by these posts? Do you feel Inspired? Honored? Validated? Frustrated? Defensive? Joyful? 

Cesarean Awareness Month is an advocacy initiative by The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc.  

(ICAN) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).
— ican-online.org

And that's the whole mission behind awareness month.

This month, let's honor cesarean mothers and support them. Let's share research. Let's ask our local hospitals whether they ban VBAC births, and advocate for change if they do. Let's steer clear from shaming cesarean mothers. Let's never imply that they "had it easy". (Honestly, how devoid of empathy must one be to emit these words?) Let's spread love to those around us without judgement. To become an ICAN member or volunteer, visit ICAN.

Alright, back to the photos, all taken during cesarean birth days! (Some viewers may find some of these images to be graphic.)

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The Birth of Ellis :: Breech Cesarean Birth Story

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The Birth of Ellis :: Breech Cesarean Birth Story

. .:: It was during our maternity session that mom informed me Ellis was in the breech position. If you've ever hoped for a natural birth and experienced malposition in late pregnancy, then you're familiar with the interesting menu of options you go through to encourage  baby to maneuver into a more ideal position. They had tried them all. The day soon dawned when Ellis was scheduled to come earthside via cesarean. An ultrasound was done to confirm position just before mom was ushered into the OR. Indeed, he was a stubborn one. Still breech.

Checking into the hospital for a scheduled cesarean is an occasion where nerves demand to be addressed. You breath deeply and try to remain calm, but knowing you'll be holding your child within the hour, knowing you'll be undergoing serious surgery... it's all a little much. This couple was wise to invest in doula care by the lovely Karina Constantino with Dynamic Doulas. She brought along her loving presence, her sense of humor, some mad massage skills, and confident support, completely transforming the atmosphere. It was truly a birth day occasion.

Adding to the nerves, this was one of those instances when we all had to advocate for me to photograph in the OR. The nurse anesthetist, bless her heart, seemed appalled by our request. "What will you even take pictures of in there?" My list began, "Well, I love capturing the first time they lay eyes on their child, the first time she holds him, the first time he opens his eyes, the newborn exam, the first time dad holds him..." 

She allowed me to join them in the OR, and we are all forever grateful to her. Here's what I managed to capture that day (some of my favorite cesarean images of all time). ::. .

**Note: All images are reviewed and approved by my clients prior to being made public**

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The Birth of Magnus : Denver Cesarean Photographer

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The Birth of Magnus : Denver Cesarean Photographer

. .::“In this way, every birth is a natural birth: each of us is part of nature, not separate from it, and nature is always stunning in its variety. Your birth, then, is part of the natural world, however it unfolds.” — Lauralyn Curtis. This is the story of the birth of Magnus.

::. . **Note: All images are reviewed and approved by my clients prior to being made public**

The Birth of Magnus : Denver Cesarean Photographer

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