There’s something so surreal, so dreamlike, about the birth experience. Whether it involves an epidural, a water birth, induction, or a C-section. Every birth is important and every birth is beautiful. My job is to capture that beauty–the emotion, the pain, the uncontrollable joy.

Ashley went into labor at 6 in the morning on Sunday, just two days post due date. I got a text later that night on the way home from a long engagement shoot giving me the heads up that she was in labor and they were headed to St. Joe’s. I asked them to let me know when she was dilated to 8, and I turned my phone ringer all the way up before falling into a very light sleep. Around 6 am Monday morning I got the text that she was at an 8, and had been progressing steadily thus far. I packed my gear, brushed my hair and my teeth, scarfed down half a scone, kissed my son who had just woken up goodbye, and I was out the door. I figured that she would progress one centimeter about every hour or two, based on her progress the night before. I got to the hospital right around 7 am and waited. Their doula, Abby, came and updated me and let me know that they would call for me when she was getting ready to push. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more.

You see, here’s the thing about babies: they are on their own time, and especially if it’s the first one. It took nearly 10 hours to progress from 8 cm to complete. Ashley ended up enduring a nearly 38-hour labor (drug-free!), but the end was totally worth it–it always is. Ashley’s husband, Wesley, was so supportive and was with Ashley every step of the way, and Abby (from Doulas Northwest) was down-to-earth and encouraging. William was born at 7:46pm on Monday evening, kissed by the summer evening Tacoma sunshine, into the arms of his incredibly strong mother, in the presence of his father, and welcomed by the amazing nursing & midwifery staff at St. Joe’s.