I love photographing weddings. The emotions, the love, the joy… I feel very fortunate to regularly witness such happy occasions. But I have to say that photographing a birth is kind of like the nirvana of emotional photography. A year ago today, I photographed a birth for the third time, and for the third time, I felt tears streaming down my face when the little one entered the world. What a powerful experience! I can only say that I’m glad to not be a novice at a time like this, because it’s challenging to stay focused on capturing these precious moments when there’s kind of an emotional flood going on from all involved. I can’t imagine how I’d manage if I was also struggling with camera settings.

It was last June that I went to bed, wondering when I might get a call from Tracey. I remember it very well, because I was very busy preparing to get my house ready to sell. We’d just had our second floor hardwood floors refinished, so the rest of my family was sleeping elsewhere, and I was sleeping in our lower level guest room with my mom, who was spending the week with me to help me paint.

Sure enough, it was that very night that I got the call from Tracey’s husband Chris, saying it was time. Not much later, I was on my way to Magee Women’s Hospital to photograph the birth of baby Giulia.

I know a lot of people think the idea of birth photography is weird. “Why would you want photos of that?” To that I have lots of thoughts, but the key thing I’d point out (besides that I believe that birth is amazing and beautiful and not just the horrific ordeal it’s so often portrayed to be) is that it’s not so much about the actual birth as the moments immediately following. Those moments of joy when a mother and father first see and touch their baby are extraordinarily powerful. While I love to tell the story of the whole process, my favorite part by far is the first 5-10 minutes after birth.

Here are a few of my favorite photos of baby Giulia’s arrival. (Also, note that Tracey looks calm and peaceful in almost every moment. She did have a few rough spots, but wow. She was amazing. Smiling and content about 97% of the time.)

Also… I did not plan to shoot any video ahead of time, but I couldn’t help myself. Thank you to Tracey and Chris for allowing me to share their video as well.

Happy birthday Giulia!

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