• Sarah

Carothers Birth Story | 12.28.18

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

This birth was a healing birth, a "rainbow birth." Although she didn't have a miscarriage, Erin still had to work through a difficult and violating hospital birth 5 years previous. She didn't talk much about it, but I could sense there was anguish and pain still that had to be worked through in order for her to have the birth of her dreams. And she succeeded. This strong woman and her strong husband overcame the challenges together and through their faith in God.

When getting pregnant didn't happen right away, they felt that becoming foster parents was the next step for them. They became licensed and were ready to welcome children in need into their home. While they waited on that, Erin became pregnant. All of us were so happy for her, Randy and Cressida!

The pregnancy went smoothly enough and Erin was able to concentrate on healing emotionally in preparation for the birth. She decided to have a home birth with a wonderful midwife, Cathy Larson, CPM, of Pearl Midwifery, and they were going to wait to find out if baby was a boy or girl. We were all so excited for the surprises that were going to come! It was going to be my first home birth and since they live right behind me, I didn’t have far to go when it was time. Lucky me!

Part of their preparation was helping Cressida understand what to expect, especially about catching the baby. They had to make sure she knew that Cathy would be up front catching the baby and after many tears and tantrums, Cressida finally agreed that it was ok if Cathy is in front. She is seriously the cutest.

Since Erin was measuring so big, her estimated due date was pushed up to early December instead of around Christmas. All month long, we waited in anticipation for that call. We kept in constant contact, especially when contractions looked like they were picking up. They always stopped though, leaving us disappointed. We kept asking, “Baby, when are you coming!?”

Christmas came and went and still no baby. Contractions were still erratic, but it wasn’t until after midnight on Friday the 28 that I got the call. It was Randy telling me that Erin was already dilated to 7 cm. I felt the familiar rush of adrenaline as I rushed to get dressed and grab my camera.

Apparently earlier that evening, Erin had taken primrose oil and a labor bomb. Contractions were going all evening, and Randy tried to get some sleep before things started picking up. That made Erin mad since she couldn’t rest at all. We all laughed at hearing that because we could all relate!

As Randy worked to get the birthing tub set up, Erin worked through each contraction like a champ. When the tub was filled, Erin was able to enjoy it for little bit before entering into transition which was around 2:30 a.m. You could tell things were changing, and she started to become unsure of herself. She would shake her head and say, “I don’t feel like I could do this.” Randy was brilliant with responses like, “Yes you can, you got this.” He was such a great birthing partner and so strong to be with her in her most intense moments. Erin’s mom and Cathy were there as well supporting her. Rusty, their beagle, even made a few appearances, wondering what the heck was going on.

Soon, the contractions were more and more intense. Erin was so graceful and took each one in stride, and pushed and breathed when those calming moments came. Baby did not take long to crown and was out in a few pushes. Erin reached down to grab her sweet babe who was born shortly before 3 a.m. Erin’s mom went to get Cressida, who was already awake because her mom “was making loud sounds.” Ah, the things kids say.

It wasn’t until Erin and baby were wrapped in the towel did they finally look to see baby’s gender: another girl! We asked Randy if he was ok with another girl and his response was, “I’m ecstatic.”

To say they were all in love is an understatement. Cressida just couldn’t keep her hands away from baby R’s feet and head and kept remarking on various body parts like her ears. She told her “Happy Birth Day!” and that she was so glad she finally came.

Erin’s comments about her experience was interesting as it was a complete 180 from Cressida’s birth. She said she felt like she had to get out of there, that she wanted to leave and stop feeling the pain. But she told herself that she had to do it. “I’m glad I did it. This experience was a lot easier.”

Cathy's daughter, Christine Larson, CPM and LDEM, from Olive Branch Midwifery, was there for the birth too and performed all the little new baby checks. Randy weighed Baby R and to our surprised, weighed in at 9 lbs 6 oz, exactly what Cathy predicted!

As I headed home around 5 a.m., my heart was full of emotion and happiness for this family. I love seeing the power of a woman working hard to bring her baby earthbound. It was literal heaven for a moment as baby entered this world. This again reiterates the feeling that all things denote there is a God. We felt His love as one of His precious children started their earthly journey. It makes me so grateful for this wonderful job of being a birth photographer and witnessing these sacred events.

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