columbus, ga birth photographer | ker-fox photography | river

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columbus, ga birth photographer | ker-fox photography | river

As mothers, we all allow ourselves to daydream about the day we give birth. Our minds and hearts fill with images of the ideal, our souls overflow imagining "that moment" when you hear that first cry, and all is right with the world. Sometimes our first lesson as mothers and parents, is that life isn't always ideal, life doesn't always play out the way our hearts imagined. We have this moment where we put ourselves and our hearts desires to the side, and put our children first. I know that seems like an obvious statement, but watching it happen over and over again with being a birth photographer is profound stuff. Watching a mother's birth plan dissolve into nothingness, melt into something that looked NOTHING like her ideal. But you know what? There is immense beauty in the strength and vulnerability to let it all go, to trust in the Lord that He's got this, to let it all go and know you're doing the best for your baby. There is beauty in the letting go. There is beauty in the surrender. 

Kelsey's first blow to her ideal birth plan was being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which resulted in a necessary induction at 38 weeks. 3 days later, she would finally meet her baby girl. Three. Days. Later. Her induction was started on a Tuesday at 5:00 pm with cervidil. Remember that time, 5:00pm. She would get doses every few hours, this continued until 3pm Wednesday. She wasn't showing much progress so her amazing midwife let her stop the medication, take a shower, eat some dinner, and rest for the evening. Wednesday night they resumed the cervidil and carried on through Thursday morning. By Thursday morning around 6am they stopped the cervidil and started pitocin, then around 6:30am they broke her water. She labored long, and hard for 2 days before she asked for the epidural. It brought her much needed relief from the contractions, but sweet River just couldn't tolerate the labor much longer. Around 4:30pm the decision was made that a csection would be the safest option for River. There were tears, admittedly, but there was peace. I've never seen a couple embrace so much change, and so many alterations to their "ideal birth", with such grace. I could feel the anxiety engulf the room though, and I asked if it was ok to pray over them and the medical staff. There is no greater honor than laying my hands on a family and praying the Lord's strength and peace over them. Shortly there after at 5:00pm on the dot, Thursday, a full 3 days later, River came safely earth-side... and she was perfect!

Kelsey and Ben, you taught me so much in those 3 days. Watching the love and respect you had for each other as husband and wife, and the confidence you had as new parents with the changing tide of this birth, it was inspiring to say the least. Thank you so much for inviting me into your lives. Thank you for reminding me why I love what I do. 

Also I would be remiss if I didn't take this moment to thank Julie Ward, the wonderful midwife in this story. This was my last birth with her since she decided to spend more time with her family, and say goodbye to the on-call life. She fought so hard to give this momma every opportunity to have the birth she wanted. That should be every provider's ultimate goal, because at the end of this birth, there wasn't any doubt in Kelsey and Ben's mind that they were heard and supported. There were no what if's, there was no room for guilt, or second guessing. They knew they were given everything. Julie, the birth community will miss you more than you know. You loved your patients fiercely and fought for them just as hard. You became a dear friend. and a treasured jewel of camaraderie in the struggle of being a mom and on-call. Thank YOU for the gift of your friendship, thank you for the late night cups of coffee, thank you for being an ear to my endless struggles of seeking balance. Thank you for making my job such a joy! I love you friend!

And of course a shout out to the amazing Dr. Neely Dean for supporting this momma through her unexepected c-section, and for allowing me to capture the most epic series of c-section photos I've ever gotten! Love to you too Dr. Dean!

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columbus, ga birth photographer | ker-fox photography | indie

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columbus, ga birth photographer | ker-fox photography | indie

This girl, and her precious heart. She knew my husband was out of town when she went into labor in the early hours of the morning. She told me she was 6cm and she didn't want to bother me to come, that I would probably miss it. I knew she genuinely thought she was bothering me. I insisted this is my job, and these things happen. I told her I have never missed a birth yet and I didn't intend on missing hers. Nor would I be able to live with myself if I didn't make every effort to be there. By the grace of God, my mom came in time to watch the kids (shout out to my mom for rushing to the house at 2am in a thunderstorm!) Needless to say, I got there in plenty of time! Sweet Tasha labored beautifully through the night with the support of her amazing midwife, nurses, her momma, and her amazing husband. And just as the sun came up, at the dawn of a new day, they welcomed their daughter into their arms.

This was also the first birth I've photographed where an older sibling was in the room to watch her baby sister be born. Oh. My. Word. I nearly attempted to convince Wes to undo his vasectomy. Watching Ella, watch her mom, and see her sister's birth. It was the sweetest thing I've ever seen, and only added to the joy in that room. To normalize birth for another generation. I know Ella will never forget that, nor will she grow up in fear of the natural and beautiful blessing that is birth.

I hope you enjoy. This one is close to my heart. 

 

 
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columbus, ga birth photographers | ker-fox photography | elle

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columbus, ga birth photographers | ker-fox photography | elle

This has been a year of repeat clients, and a year of curveball births. It's also been a year of growth for me. Even after years of doing this and over a hundred births, I'm still learning how to better love my clients. I shot Hannah's first birth two years ago, for her son Moses, it couldn't have been more ideal. Epidural, laughing through contractions, happily present in the moment. Fast forward to this birth with Elle, and on the surface as a birth worker it also seemed ideal. From my perspective she got the birth she had fought for.... she labored unmedicated, it was quicker, it was more intense, but it was more vulnerable. What I didn't know, was that it was taking Hannah more time to process this birth. It was so different from her first... not better, not worse, just DIFFERENT. And with that comes a mixed bag of healing, accepting, and eventually loving this experience as well. I think it's impossible to go into your subsequent births without some level of expectations. I did the same thing with Alden's birth. I wanted immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping, but he had a double nuchal cord and came out purple and slow to respond. In that moment my expectations for "that moment" were gone, and it took time to process that, and admittedly grieve the loss of my ideal birth, specially since he was our last. I say all this because what may seem ideal to us as birth workers on the surface, our clients may need more time and space to process the experience.

Over time, and many conversations, Hannah and I navigated this 4th trimester of emotions and processing together. And for that I am so grateful. With a few tweaks, we got the story to a place that they now LOVE. And I couldn't be happier. Because ultimately, that is my goal, not just to give you photos, but to make you feel loved. To make you feel supported. To make you feel heard.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I have fallen in love with this birth story. 

Hannah and Luke, I love you both... thank you for the gift of such biblical friendship. Filled with grace and understanding!

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columbus ga birth photographer • ker-fox photography • clementine

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columbus ga birth photographer • ker-fox photography • clementine

Oh Maris and her labors.... or at least the two I have attended. Just goes to show how different each labor and birth can be. I was present for the birth of her 3rd, Prudence. I arrived at the hospital at the same time they did and just 26 minutes later Pru was born! When I got the news they were expecting again, only now we live 25 minutes out of town, I got a bit nervous. Even if I left at the first signs of them heading to the hospital like last time I would miss it, forget even waiting for a baby sitter to show up. Little did we know her 4th birth would end up being one of her longest. 

Admittedly she called me earlier than last time, "just to be safe". I headed over to their house, as she likes to labor at home as long as she can. It was such a wonderful vibe. Watching her mother her other 3 while simultaneously being in labor. Breakfasts were made, boo-boos were kissed, snuggles were had, all while she rocked this long labor.

When it was time to go to the hospital there was a sense of urgency, my palms were sweaty, I knew how quickly Maris transitions. In triage she found out she wasn't quite as far along as she had expected. She was admitted. And her family prayed over her. I could feel her disappointment, her exhaustion, and even confusion as to why this was going so much differently than the last. Each of her previous births had progressively gotten shorter with each child, yet here she was laboring through the longest and hardest yet.

True to form, when Maris transitions, she doesn't mess around. Her husband Kendall (who had been such a source of comfort and strength all day) wanted to catch their daughter. Well, he nearly didn't get the chance to, honestly, baby nearly slid right out onto the bed. Her midwife acted quickly, with no time to even put gloves on, caught Clementine with the sleeves of her scrubs, and gently guided baby into dad's waiting hands.

After her golden hour with their precious Clementine, their other 3 kiddos showed up. And OH. MY. WORD. The love they each had and showed in different ways for their new baby sister. I choked back tears and told my ovaries to quiet down down there!

There is always a sense of nervousness when delivering any birth story, but delivering one to a repeat client is exponentially more nerve wracking! No birth is ever the same, some can last 26 minutes, others can last 18 hours, and Maris has had both of those. They were equally powerful, equally beautiful... they were perfect in their own ways.

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