Weina’s birth was definitely one of the smoothest, most peaceful births I’ve ever witnessed. And there is just something extra special being there for your family during one of life’s most precious momentsEven though we are obviously not blood-related, I refer to Weina as my sister. We became instant friends when we first met in high school almost 15 years ago (!!) and it wasn’t long after we met that she came to live with my family. I adopted her as my sister and she’s been a part of our family ever since!
I photographed the birth of Weina’s first daughter Sophia 3 years ago before Beautiful Beginnings existed, but this time around was so much different. Weina had an epidural with Sophia and we were all pretty much just sitting around chatting, sleeping, and eating while we waited for “go” time. Once it was time to push, she pushed for maybe 30 minutes and Sophia was born. That birth was as textbook as they come.
Weina was planning the same exact scenario with this birth until about a week before she delivered. Weina’s mom came in town from China and convinced Weina to go natural this time around. She explained the epidurals are not an option in China and that was basically all it took to convince Weina to try it. She informed me of this news and I honestly didn’t think it would happen because most women have a very strong passion/mind set along with months of education and preparation before a natural birth. Weina was just so nonchalant about it and said she’d do it if she could and what do you know – SHE DID! She surprised all of us including herself I think
Weina delivered Sophia 2-1/2 weeks early, so we all expected Serena to come early as well. In fact Weina started having contractions off and on at the end of June so her doctor put her on very strict bed rest until she was at least 37 weeks. Weina played by the rules unil that mark but then resumed life as normal since it would be safe for the baby to come after 37 weeks. Then she waited as week 37 passed, then 38, then 39…then 40!!! She reached [and passed] her due date with absolutely no signs of labor. The plan was to get induced early in the morning on July 30th which would have been exactly 1 week past her due date.
Much to her surprise, Weina was woken up by contractions at 12:30am on the 29th! She and James quickly realized these were the real deal and arrived at the hospital by 3:30am and was checked in at 4cm. Weina said the contractions were so intense at that time that she wasn’t sure she was going to make it without the epidural. Well she progressed quickly because I got a text at 4:40am saying she was at the hospital and at 8cm. Yikes 4cm to 8cm in 1 hour and I didn’t even know she had gone into labor! I hopped out of bed and made it to the hospital by 5:30am worrying that I was going to miss the whole thing.
When I walked into the room, she was calmly breathing through each contraction and laboring beautifully. Labor had slowed to a much easier pace and she was getting 5min to sometimes 10min breaks in between each contraction! She even had a lull for about 1-1/2 hours when labor pretty much stopped and she fell asleep for a bit! How you can fall asleep at 9cm is beyond me since my labors are so fast & intense the whole time that rest – much less sleep – was never an option, but I’ve seen it before. She was completely dilated by 8am, but her water hadn’t broken yet. She decided to wait it out just a little while longer, but finally decided she wanted to get the show on the road and had the doctor break her water around 9am. Things got intense from that point on, but she did an amazing job, only pushed for 20 minutes and Serena was born at 10:38am weighing in at 7.12lbs, 21″ long. Weina had another textbook delivery – this time with no drugs – and she made it look soooo easy!!
Although Sophia’s birth was special, Serena’s birth is definitely a memory I will cherish foreverWeina wasn’t planning on having anyone else at the birth besides her husband James and I, so my role was definitely more of a doula than a photographer this time around (which you’ll be able to notice in the slideshow because I don’t have the variety of pictures that I normally get at a birth because I was too busy reminding her to breath, holding her hand, and rubbing her back).
I am so happy & proud of you Weina! You now have 2 beautiful little girls to balance out my 2 little boys and I’m so excited excited to see all of our kids grow up together