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Friday, August 31, 2012

My First Baby Niece! (And Second Shot at Birth Photography)

If there's anything more magical than being a support, encouragement, and photographer at the birth of a baby then it's being able to do it for a member of your family.  

Not only was I honored and super excited (a dream come true!) that my sister-in-law Cassie would be interested in my birth photography, but I was honored and super excited (thank you Lord!) to actually be able to make it there in time!

You wouldn't think it'd be that hard to make it on time... but it was considering the girls and I were with Aunt Tanya visiting Gram and Pa in Cape Cod when she started labor.  (Oh, and the fact that I usually live half a world away!)  But anyways, I had "a plan" for if she went into labor while I was in Corning... which obviously wasn't going to work out!

Thankfully, I have a wonderful set of old friends in the Philly area and with just a few facebook contacts and phone calls I was able to find someone who was free to babysit the girls over night while I *fingers crossed* got to watch my niece's birth.

So though she "interrupted our weekend" Harper actually came at just the perfect time for Tanya and I to attend.  And she even waited the 9 hours it took us to pack the cars and drive from Wareham, Ma to West Chester, Pa... Cassie met us at the door shortly after we arrived at the apartment to tell us that she was pretty sure her water had broken! So I went into my nephew's room to catch a short nap... which really ended up being 15 minutes of me being too excited to even shut my eyes before Cass decided it was time to drop Xavier off at his babysitter and head over to the birth center after all.

Cassie doesn't mess around with this whole giving birth thing.  She was truly an inspiration!  I could tell by how she was breathing through contractions as we loaded the car that she was definitely feeling pain... but she was delivering naturally (girl after my own heart!) so onward she went!

It wasn't an easy labor for her.  She'd been having strong contractions most of the day and by the time we got to the birth center at almost midnight she was already 6cm!  (For those non-Mommies among us that means she only had four more cm to go... though that can sometimes take hours!)  In just about two hours, she rocked through some really tough contractions and started pushing that beautiful baby right out!  It was incredible to me how fast she went!  

Little Miss Harper Mae Logue was whooshed into the world by her rockstar Momma at 1:50am and I was SO PROUD of Cassie for how AWESOME she did!  (6lbs 10oz, 20 inches for those of you who like baby stats)

I wish you guys could have seen it.  *cringe*  Okay never mind that would have been awkward and rather distracting. What I mean to say is, watching a woman like Cassie at work reaffirms my strong belief that labor and deliver is usually a perfectly normal thing that doesn't need a hospital or pain meds.  It's magical.

[Insert my statement about the obvious need for medical intervention in certain situations.  Like how I'm so thankful that the doctor was able to perform an emergency c-section on my friend's second twin (hi Hilary!) which likely avoided a life-threatening situation for that little peanut!  Doctor's are great.  Surgery is necessary at times.  But let's move on to my hippie-love for when natural labor works out just great...]

It was such a treat to watch Cassie and Mike work as a team.  Childbirth is a team sport, people!  You definitely need people around you who can offer you support.  And if not a doula, then a loving husband, mother, sister, and wanna-be-doula-sister-in-law work just great!

Mike was the primary arm/shoulder/chest to lean on for Cass.  I was just snapping my camera in her face every five minutes... shooting up a prayer... offering a word of encouragement... trying to make her laugh... reminding her to inhale (hey, it's important)... and at times holding her hand.

As kind of a side-note: I've heard of the fact that, if left alone, most babies who are born naturally and left with Mom will gradually nurse on their own.  And I saw it in action!  Harper was crying and started to root around and BOOM.  Found exactly what she wanted and nursed happily for about half an hour!  Even Harper makes this whole birth thing look easy!

Cassie, I can't thank you enough for allowing me into such an intimate moment in your life.  I will treasure this memory forever!  I've said it once and I'll say it five million more times... you did awesome and it was an honor to watch and take pictures!

She makes mighty beautiful babies, doesn't she? 


  1. oh WOW!! Hooray for Cassie! What a sweet baby girl. From the pics it looks as if the birthing center was awesome, so close to a home birth. (of which I am a big fan!) Congrats to Cass, Mike and Zave! :)

    1. The birth center was SO GREAT! I've never attended a home birth (yet! hehe) but it sure did feel relaxed.

  2. Oh my gosh!! Good job team!! Her baby is such a sweet, tiny little package! Beautiful pictures Jess. You really have found your calling...doula/birth photographer.

    1. Thanks girl! I really feel like you're right. I can't wait to learn more when I get back to Germany!

  3. great post. more ladies need to see posts like this; it CAN be done. It does confirm the fact that I am a weirdo though...I did not want ANY help until the last minute unless it was H telling people to "go away" or "don't touch her." And then at the last minute all I really wanted was someone to make sure baby didn't slip out of my hands or anything.

    1. Wow. You are definitely a birthing-rockstar! I was a panicky mess, even though I did it without meds... I still needed lots of support. You must be made to have babies ;o) When's boy4 or girl1 going to come?? Hehe