Photographer Lisa Robinson-Ward from California specializes in wedding and portrait photography, but when she found out she was Pʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ last year, she knew she wanted to take on a new photographic challenge: photographing labor and delivery herself.
The pregnancy itself is a sᴜʀᴘʀɪsᴇ, but a welcome one. Robinson-Ward and her husband have a 9-year-old son and have been trying to get Pʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ for many years but miscarried twice. They actually decided to stop trying for another baby when Robinson-Ward became Pʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ with their daughter Anora, now 6 months old.
She thinks that taking pictures of the birth will help her stay calm and focused, and keep her pain-free. Robinson-Ward said: “I didn’t know if I could take pictures. I’ve decided to do it, but I’m not sure I can actually do it.”
She did, and the images she captured offer a rare glimpse into the birthing process. Here, she describes the incredible experience in her own words.
“I had constant contractions for a week, then my water broke at 3am. We grabbed our belongings, our cameras and got in the car to go to the hospital – thankfully without having to drive too much. When we got there, I was shaking with every contraction and there were times when I thought to myself, There’s no way I can hold the phone.
Between contractions, I can take pictures of what I see around me – IV tubes, monitors, things like that. But it’s very intense.
I had an epidural, and after it was done, I felt much more in control. I was very lucky. I’ve been in labor for 14 hours, but it’s nothing like it. Time flies, partly because I have so much pain control… and partly because my husband is so supportive.
I asked my doctor early on, “Do you have a problem with me taking my birth pictures?” He agreed. But when he came into the room and saw me holding the camera to my face, I think he was sᴜʀᴘʀɪsᴇd and laughed.
I took pictures while I pushed! When I’m ready to do push-ups, I’ll bring my hands and camera up in front of me. I didn’t know what I was getting at the time, and I didn’t know if anything would be in focus. But it did help me focus.
Part of me worries that if I take pictures, I won’t actually be there. But I was completely there. I was very present when she walked away from me.
When I look back at these photos, I can remember exactly how I felt. I can relive the moment my daughter was born.
I love seeing my husband’s face the moment he sees our daughter for the first time. He cried. He was very happy.
I know that I’m lucky. I had a really easy labor and delivery.
Our daughter is really easygoing. She is gentle. She sleeps! She is a happy child.
We were Sᴋɪɴ-ᴛᴏ-ꜱᴋɪɴ immediately and I breastfed her right away.”