Birth Photography | Columbus, GA | Ker-Fox Birth | Madilyn



My photographic hero/icon/inspiration, Dorothea Lange‘s birthday was yesterday, she was a pioneer for female photographers… I felt her quote on courage was fitting for this blog post.

After you read and watch this birth story, if you yourself had a similar birth experience, I ask that you please leave this precious momma some uplifting words of encouragement and healing. As women and mothers we are each other’s biggest supporters!

Meet Marlia. She wanted as natural of a delivery as possible. Her birth plan took a few turns along the way. But watching her, each step, each change, accept with grace and bravery what was unfolding was truly inspiring. I hope she reads this and believes each word I say. She showed true courage under pressure. The first curve ball was an induction versus spontaneous labor, which meant pitocin. She labored for hours on end, battling and breathing through each contraction, holding off as long as she could without an epidural. Progress was elusive and the pitocin was at it’s near highest level. Marlia had managed her labor amazingly, pitocin contractions are no joke, and at that level I’m in awe she made it as long as she did without the epidural. So yes, epidural was her next curve ball. But again she embraced it, charged onward with her goal set on a safe delivery for her sweet little girl. Fast forward a few more hours, pitocin maxed, epidural in, Marlia just wasn’t dilating. I must say I was so very impressed with her OB who let her labor and try as long as she had, but Marlia was officially past 24 hours of labor since her water broke with a small fever setting in. So after 24 hours of true grit and determination, Marlia was taken back for a c-section. No tears, no fear, just strength… that is all I saw at least through my lens. I wanted to hug her, pray over her (which I prayed to myself throughout the day/night), I was so proud of her, and soon her baby would be here, safe.

Madilyn had come down transverse (ever so slightly sideways), there was no way she could descend far enough down to dilate her cervix. There was no way sweet girl was going to be born the way her momma had envisioned. I’ve since talked several times with Marlia, and like any momma, she’s going through the stages of grief over the unexpected events of her delivery. Things did not go according to plan, and I think it’s ok for mom’s to be sad, to be frustrated that they “missed out” on their ideal birth. But I also, so desperately want my mommas to know, that with 100% certainty, there was nothing else she could’ve done to change that outcome. So I pray, that after the sadness, and frustration passes over the coming months, that Marlia can watch this slideshow and see the strength, the courage, the determination, and the rock star momma she was for her little girl as she came into this world.

Marlia, you amazed me in that 24+ hours, I’m so very proud of you!


  1. Vanessa says:

    Marlia,I too had a very difficult first delivery. Everything seemed to go wrong & the healing took months. I’m sorry yours turned out the way it did! Know that you’re not alone! I just had my second child on Saturday & this time around I said “things will be different!” I chose Hypno-birthing on a recommendation from a friend, and it was utterly amazing. Simple, easy, natural… Everything I wanted. Vindication for my first that went so terribly wrong. I know that can’t make things better for u now, but there will come a day when time heals both your body and your heart <3 best wishes to you & your baby girl!

  2. Whitney says:

    This made me tear up as I read it because it could’ve been my story. I so wanted a natural delivery, but it wasn’t in the cards. Ten months and a healthy baby later, I have more perspective, but I’m still sad I didn’t have the birth I envisioned and that next time probably won’t be that way either. I am so thankful that my doctor had the wisdom to keep us both safe even though it was a tough decision for me.
    Keep your head up momma. You are truly amazing. Love your sweet girl, and remember natural birth or not you still birthed that wonderful child.

  3. Rachel says:

    I had planned for months to have an all natural birth. It didn’t pan out that way and I was devastated. A c-section was the last thing I wanted. It took me a while to work through it and even now I have a small amount of sadness over what could’ve been. But, baby and I were safe and well taken care of by the doctors and nurses. My boy is 16 months now and is healthy and so happy! He makes us laugh all the time! Don’t let how you gave birth determine the momma you are! You are awesome and have so much strength! Congratulations on your sweet baby girl. She is beautiful!

  4. Alda Smith says:

    Hi Marlia,I’m a mama of 3 C-Section babies. I longed, tried and worked so hard for a natural birth with each (which was such an uphill battle in a country that has one of the highest C-Section rates in the world). I never got my natural birth despite all my efforts. I always used to try and think my sadness about it away as I felt guilty for it – here I have 3 beautiful, healthy children…how can I feel sad about how they got here? But you know what you can be sad and happy at the same time – you can allow both feelings. Like with labour I would like to encourage you to lean into where it hurts – breath through it – own your (in this case literal) scars. That is true bravery. And with time something beautiful will come from it….God draws the straightest lines with the most crooked sticks xxx

  5. Caroline says:

    Dear Marlia,
    First – congratulations on the birth of your BEAUTIFUL baby girl! I write this from a place of love and hope it comes across as such.

    In 2010 as I went into the very start of labor, my son passed away. He was stillborn. His death, the longing for all the should have been for his life, is something that I will grieve for the rest of mine. I miss him every single day. I miss all that should have been.

    But I understand that part of what should have been is the birth plan itself. I have since had two other children, both of whom were born via induction. It wasn’t my ideal plan. My ideal plan would have been to go into labor naturally. But it was the best plan for my family. So I understand the longing for something we want, something so special and so magical, and so hoped for – I understand the longing for that when it doesn’t go according to plan.

    And I am sure you’re profoundly grateful for you and your baby’s health and that you know it truly is the most important thing. But it’s ok to have wished it went differently. But like the comment above from Rachel, don’t let it determine the momma you are.

    I share this article with you. I may personally disagree with the title, but I recognize the valid points contained within.

    I’m so glad you had Neely document your story. It is a beautiful one full of such happiness and LIFE. Thank you for sharing the gift of your baby’s life with all of us. It’s so special to witness through pictures and video.

  6. Laura Anne says:

    Marlia, you had no control over those events. I, too, was induced and ended up in a c-section. I pushed for a few hours, and they could see his head, but I just couldn’t get him out. My heart broke going into the c-section. I was so exhausted I actually missed his birth. The only thing that really eats me up is that I missed that first hour of his life. They tried waking me up, but it was no use. But I know that I did my best. And I know that the doctors had mine And my son’s best interest at heart. Please do not beat yourself up! People often say mind over matter, but I don’t think some of those people experienced labor 😉 next to beating yourself up, the worst thing you can do is compare your birth story to any other… especially the all – natural ones. Honey, you did your best. Every body (literally) is different. Take pride that you got that beautiful baby here and praise Neely for capturing what so many miss with the unexpected of delivery.

  7. Maria says:

    Marlia (I love your name!!!)
    Wow what a beautiful, inspiring story! Don’t ever be ashamed about it! It’s an inspiring story, one your daughter will be proud of!
    God makes no mistakes and has a purpose for everything! Your story has His fingerprints all over it! Be proud of your accomplishments! You are strong, your are inspiring and you are beautiful! Your Heavenly Father takes such pride in you! Don’t let situations strip that from you! Beautiful baby, family and such beautiful moments! Thank God from whom all blessings flow, thank Him all creatures here below! (From a mama who has had six pregnancies, three children, 3 c-sections, and nothing went according to my plan…thank God for that!) love you precious mama…you did good! 🙂

  8. Donna says:

    I have read your story, and I know that immediate feeling of disappointment when the plans change, mine did as well. When I look at this video of your sweet little angel coming into the world, all I saw was a baby that was in awe of her surroundings, and so much love being given to her from her loving parents, and I thought, no matter how our little ones arrive, I think they are just happy to be here with the ones that love them so much!! Love will take the place of the disappointment and as weeks and months pass by, she will fill your heart with a love that will make everything beautiful… God Bless you and your precious Madilyn… I am so happy for you and your husband!

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Specializing in Birth, Underwater, & Family Documentary