A Powerful Fourth Birth at Austin Area Birthing Center South

All birth stories are beautiful, powerful, and inspiring in their own ways. I am always immensely grateful to have a mama allow (or encourage!) me to share their story in its entirety, like Cassidy has. She says:

"How do you find the words to describe something that is priceless? Being able to revisit such an intimate and fleeting experience through Kayla’s birth photography has been such a gift to me. How quickly do we forget how powerful and resilient our bodies are. How quickly do we start to criticize them for being soft and tired. I hope that by sharing my birth experience through these powerful images, people are encouraged to have more open discussions about childbirth and most importantly I hope they empower women everywhere."

Now here’s the story, in my own words…

This birth takes place in The Music Room at Austin Area Birthing Center (South) in Austin, TX. From first image to moment of birth spans a 63 minute period.

I was due with my 5th baby on March 18, 2018. When Cass emailed to say that she wanted to hire me for the birth of her 4th little boy, I was hesitant to say yes. But she was referred to me by a mutual friend, and she really wanted to work with me. Honestly, I was really excited at the thought of working with her too!

I had a history of going into labor between 39+1 and 40 weeks, which made me likely to birth between March 13 and March 18. Cass, on the other hand, had carried her other 3 to just shy of 37 weeks and twice to 38, making her likely to birth no later than March 3, assuming we both followed a similar pattern. So we gambled on it, agreed on an amazing backup and waited.

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How naïve do we sound?!

You can't predict birth. Ever.

Never. Ever.

I went into labor and had my little Foxe at 38+6 - the earliest of all of my term babies. Cass was still gestating then, and at 39 weeks, it was the longest she had ever been pregnant. She was still pregnant the next day, and the next, and the next, but we both knew I was going to need to send my backup, Vanessa, at this point.

At 40 weeks to the day, Cass texted me at 11:30 AM to let me know that she thought her water had broken. She said she was going to start timing contractions and she would keep me posted. At 11:59 PM she said she was heading to the birth center and Vanessa should head that way, so I called Vanessa to let her know she needed to come... but traffic was really, really bad. She was having her baby during one of our major film/tech/music festivals, SXSW, and getting anywhere in Austin was absolute misery. Vanessa was having to drive in from San Antonio, so I knew she was at least an hour to an hour and a half away. I couldn't stand the thought that we could miss it so my I loaded up my 6.5 day old baby and had my partner drive us across town to the birth center. A few minutes into the drive, at 12:42 PM, I got a message that said "8cm" and I was so sure we'd miss it. Fourth time mom, broken water, at 8cm after only an hour of labor... it seemed certain.

After almost 40 minutes on the road, we arrived to the birth center and was so relieved to find her still laboring. I'm not sure how I survived the drive over I was so panicked! Surprisingly enough, she labored for another full hour before sweet Apollo arrived. I shot her whole birth with my own sweet babe snuggled in a ring sling, asleep against my chest.

I was feeling all sorts of feelings when her 3 older sons came in right after Apollo arrived to meet him, one of the big brothers even cut the umbilical cord and I almost lost it. Seriously, postpartum hormones are no joke! This was a wild experience for sure, one I know I'll never forget!