From Austin to Sacramento – A Surrogate Birth Story
In November I was privileged to travel to Sacramento to document this beautiful surrogate birth. I’ve been contacted multiple time about traveling for birth photography. At first I thought – no way. Birth is too unpredictable and I’d risk potential clients not booking me for being out of town. But I was hearing that more and more birth photographers were doing it, successfully, so I thought that with the right client, it would definitely be worth a shot.
Enter Jenae. A surrogate who’s 4 previous labors were like clockwork: within 24 of a membrane sweep, and fast and easy. So I agreed to book her.
Ah, birth. She is a mystery. Turns out that even with the most predictable mamas, she will do her own thing.
It could have been the pressure to follow her usual schedule, with the IPs and myself present. It could have been that she wasn’t carrying her own child. But Jenae’s body had false start after false start. And after 8 days I had to return home per our contract.
Luckily I discovered Nataly Bates, a doula/birth photographer in the Sacramento area. Nataly’s work doesn’t necessarily mimic my own, but she has a good eye, and upon discussing the situation with her she seemed open to taking some tips from me in order to supply my client with the style of images she’d anticipated for so long. My client asked me to edit Nataly’s images along with my my own. I had gotten several great labor shots prior to the actual day of birth that she wanted included. As you can see from the slideshow, Nataly did a fantastic job and our images flow very well together.
I enjoyed my week in CA. The timing was good for me personally. And even though I missed the birth itself, I got to know my client well and was able to provide her with the same quality of service that I provide all my clients with. I feel as if I witnessed this beautiful story – beginning to end – for myself. Surrogacy is such a moving journey to document! And I am thrilled to be documenting 2 more in 2016.
Congratulations to Jenae, Nicole and Jamison. It was an HONOR to be a part of your special day.
*A few notes about this birth because questions have been asked already on my Facebook page! The IM (intended mother) is doing skin-to-skin, not trying to induce lactation. And the cord was very short, which is why the IM is down on the bed by Jenae’s legs after the birth.