Today’s heartfelt submission comes from Birth Photographer Naomi Coker from Acorn & Oak Photography. A devastatingly beautiful account of how she birthed life and welcomed death all in the same day.
“Please God, don’t let me have this baby today. It’s not fair.”
After attending many births and already having had two babes, I was well prepared for birthing. I wasn’t afraid of the pains of labour or scared about the “what ifs” of a home birth, I wasn’t nervous about now having a third child to care for.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the text message I got from my best friends that morning.
“We’ve lost the baby. I have to deliver tomorrow afternoon.”
They were 20 weeks, expecting their fifth child. I was probably just as eagerly expecting their new baby as I was my own. I was ecstatic when I found out they were expecting, and equally devastated to hear we would never get to meet this little one earthside.
After crying myself to sleep, I went into labour 3 hours later and prayed that prayer. How could I birth my own baby alive on the same day she had to deliver hers sleeping?
I continued to cry and pray as my contractions continued for hours. At 7am, my friends texted me to say that they needed a few days to be at peace with their loss before having the baby and wouldn’t be delivering that afternoon. I delivered my son a few hours after that text . My son’s was a bittersweet birth. I wept for joy and sorrow.
While I couldn’t physically be there for my friend, I texted with her all through her delivery. I sent her the beads from my birth necklace for presence. My husband went to the hospital once her sleeping son was born to take photos and be with them. I wept bitter tears with her as she held my son for the first time and I stroked the tiny handprints of her son on a piece of paper.
I have learned after more than 3 years of being a birth photographer and 5 years of being a mother that birth is more than what we read in books, share in discussion, capture with photos or celebrate with parties or even mourn in ceremonies.
Birth is in its simplest unaltered form is a true reflection of what life and death is. I have been convinced that there is nothing higher in birth or in life than to be wholly self-giving.
A woman gives her body to the life inside her. A man all his devotion and toils.
Parents give their lives daily over and over again to the needs of their children.
And children, their own lives are all the better for learning these lessons of self-giving. Not only will they “love their neighbours as they love themselves” But it will be preparing them for their own days of birthing and raising their children. How could the world not be a better place for giving yourself in love for others, especially to your children till your dying day?
Living and dying to give yourself to another. That’s what life is. That’s the best of what birth is.
Are you a maternal or perinatal professional who would like to share your personal or professional story? Send it via www.angelagallo.com for a chance to be featured!
Angela Gallo Melbourne, Victoria
Doula, Birth Photographer, Placenta Encapsulation & Business Mentor