My friend, Jackie.
Jackie and I met when she was 5 months pregnant with her surrogate baby, Irene (whose birth I got to photograph in late November 2012). We’ve been friends ever since, and I remember feeling so sad when they moved up to Los Angeles in 2013, thinking I wouldn’t get to photograph her next birth. But as fate would have it, she wanted to birth her second son with Dr Cobb again, and so the plans for a San Diego birth formed. She had her Dr, the Doula, her Birth Photographer (ME), everything was planned. The morning of November 26th, I got the call that she, Marc and Brennon, where heading down San Diego, that labor had started. I was tracking her phone along the 5 freeway, when I noticed they hadn’t moved in a while. “My contractions stalled”, Jackie told me, frustrated. They decided to keep driving anyway, after they’d stopped for breakfast and a potty break. The plan had been for me to meet them at the hospital, but with the contractions stalled, they were going to go to a Doula friend’s house, 15 minutes from the hospital, and their Doula was going to meet them there. Jackie told me she’d let me know when it was time for me to join them. I kept in touch with Doula Martha, I really didn’t want to miss my friend’s birth!!!, but she said it wasn’t time to come, that Jackie didn’t want me there yet.
Finally, at about 12.40pm, I got the text TO COME NOW. Raced up the 15 freeway, I got off on Mira Mesa Bvld, headed west, and sent a text to Martha letting her know I was close. I promptly received a text back, saying “GO TO HOSPITAL!”. Ok…… I did a U-turn, back on the 15 north, and up ahead saw the traffic coming to a standstill just past Poway Rd. (bad accident). I got off on Poway, and had Siri (thank goodness for technology) redirect me to Pomerado Hospital, taking back roads. Parked the car, and got all my camera gear ready in case I needed it when they pulled up. While waiting for them, I received a text telling me that her water had broken. At this point I just knew I’d miss the actual birth, felt it in my gut. Minutes later, Doula Care pulled up to the hospital, driving Jackie’s car, wound the window down and calmly said, “So, we had the baby in the car, about 4 minutes ago..” (The story is, that Ronan was crowning as they were about to pass the Target on Pomerado Rd. Doula Care pulled in to the parking lot – where he was born – but since the hospital was just minutes away, they kept driving!)
I walked around the car, and as they wound down the back window, I finally saw my friend and her husband, on the backseat of their car, Baby Ronan on Jackie’s chest and covered by a towel they had in the car! The nurses arrived, surprised, and Doula Care’s just commented “Oh, we’re all birth workers, this is easy for us!”
What an incredible day. I even got to go back the next day for a freshBaby session and to photograph BIG brother Brennon meeting his little brother for the first time!
Jackie, I love you. Thank you so much for wanting me to photograph this journey for you. It all happened the way it did, for a reason. It was PERFECT!
Arriving at the hospital, 4 minutes after Ronan’s birth in the backseat of Jackie’s car…!
Not just one extraordinary doula, but two…!
Transferring from the backseat to the gurney. Not an easy to thing to do with a newborn, still attached to you via umbilical cord, on your chest.
In the elevator, going up to L&D at Pomerado Hospital.
Dr Cobb’s observation on entering the room, “So, you thought you needed a little extra excitement today?”
Daddy getting to hold his new son for the first time.
He’s so adorable!!!!!
Baby head smell. Nothing else like it the world!
BIG brother Brennon coming to meet his little brother!
Welcome to the world, Ronan!