2017 Year in Review - Best Pittsburgh Births

Pittsburgh's Doulatographer

I love every birth I attend. True, some are way more trying and difficult than others but each is unique and touching in some special way. I've also been incredibly fortunate to have the most kindest clients to work with. 2017 was a wild year with many of my births clustered together, which made wonderful off-call downtime with my own family and chaos/excitement when it was a birthing month!


I'd like to share with you the births I attended and some of my favorite images from those births.

The Perfect Second Birth

This mom kicked off my year in January and it was such a joy! literally, a joy to be around her in birth. She was happy and laughing and smiling almost the entire time. Kate and I have become friends and even fellow photographers now since her birth! I am so excited for her and her new photography journey. Her images I was able to capture became some of my all time favorites to date and even gained some notable traction on the internet. She is so powerful and stunning and beautiful! 

Pittsburgh Midwife Center
Breastfeeding in Labor
In labor at birth center
Childbirth in pittsburgh
giving birth at the midwife center

My Unicorn Birth of the Year (A Touching Surrogate Story)

You don't get many opportunities to capture stories like these! When this carrying mother reached out to me about capturing these two families story I was so excited and thrilled I was slightly worried it was too good to be true! It was real and it was such a beautiful birth. I'm always excited when baby is born but typically am not one who is overcome with emotion and tears. There may have been a few tears that made there way out on this birth. I was also on a birth-high for several weeks. It reaffirmed to me just how much good there is in this world.

couple kissing
holding hands in birth
surrogate famy

Emotional and Strong

Each and every birth I take away a lesson or learn a new skill or perspective on life. There were moments in this birth that I had never experienced yet in my career but I learned a lot from those moments. I connected with this family on a deep level. We had a lot we shared in common and so it was easy to be with them during their marathon birth. I also loved the connection I captured in birth. They were a stunning couple to photograph! 

mother in labor
labor support
cesarean birth in pittsburgh
father and son at birth
Pittsburgh birth
Family at birth

Sweetest and Most Tender

I always get giddy when someone wants to hire me as their photographer when they themselves are photographers as well! It's always and honor and it keeps me on my toes to perform my best! Candyce and Amanda reached out to me and we connected instantly. I was hooked when they talked about their birth vision and how the carrying mother, Amanda, worked at an OB office and her good friend would be attending and delivering their child. Candyce wrote her wife a sweet letter for the birth and it was important to Amanda that Candyce got to hold their baby as soon as possible following the birth. Their photos are insanely epic and even got picked up by a few media outlets. The photo of Candyce's reaction to her son's birth as he emerged was a finalist in a photography contest I entered this year.

birth partner
mother's reaction to the birth of her son
holding baby after birth
OB helping birthing woman
touching a placenta
LGBTQ couple together with their baby

The "I Need More of These" Birth

Most people who know me will find out sooner or later that I had a home birth with my second child. It was wonderful and empowering and right for our family. I then moved here to Pittsburgh where it is not as common and laws are more restrictive, so naturally less people choose or even know about this option. A mother from a previous birth last year referred her good friend to me for her upcoming home birth. YES PLEASE!! I really connected with this mom and I just knew she just had to have a healing and empowering birth. She did and I was so proud of her. 

In Birth Tub during labor
labor at home
home birth in tub pittsburgh
father skin to skin after birth
home birth in Pittsburgh
reaction to birth of child
postpartum checking toes

When Things Go Smooth as Butter

Two births in one day?! Yeah, I did that this year. I got a call the morning I had been attending my home birth all night from this mother. She told me she was heading to the hospital because she was in labor. I definitely was nervous I wouldn't make it and let my backup go but both of my girls did their job. My home birth mom kicked into gear and delivered in the early afternoon and this mom didn't have baby until that night. Everything was so smooth and easy for this birth. You have to love those kinds of births!

belly picture before birth
baby looking at father after birth
kissing at birth pittsburgh
cuddling with baby postpartum

She's Got This

Sometimes you can get a sense how a mom might react to birth and how they handle going through the motions. I was pretty confident that this mother would labor well, and she definitely did. Her birth was also pretty quick for a first time mother and had to panic a little bit when I was driving to The Midwife Center and the husband texted me she was already 8cm. I made it!

The midwife Center pittsburgh
baby in mother's arms
hands on knees during labor
baby born at the midwife center
baby wrapped up

The Long, More Trying Birth - But We Made It!

This was one of my longest births I attended this year. Mom was open to everything I suggested and she made it slowly but surely. Typically, when mother is birthing her baby there are a lot of voices talking but everyone was absolutely silent as baby was making her way out as the OB attending skillfully performed a forcep delivery (my first to witness). We were all very tired in the end but it was worth it.

leaning in labor
epidural in birth
pittsburgh birth out the window
baby weighing
rebozo pushing
held postpartum

What Should We Name Her?

This mom really had a fantastic birth. She was definitely disappointed in the beginning of her pregnancy when she risked out of birthing at The Midwife Center but found a great practice of midwives that fit her needs over at Magee. By the time I made it to her she was in transition and basically ready to have her baby. Her body just moved through the motions perfectly and she had amazing birthing instincts! They didn't know what they were going to name baby until she came so it was fun seeing them pull out their list and choosing their baby's name right there after birth.

in transition birth
kissing after birth
baby toes
baby born magee midwives
baby name list
family after birth

I've Got To Leave NOW Birth

Everything was normal until it wasn't, but that is how things can go! Mom was going through the process of an induction and it was slow and steady as expected. I had decided to come in that afternoon and take some photos and probably bounce until things got going more. I had been in contact with her husband and was heading out the door when I received the message that they found baby had fallen into a funky position in the cervix and they were wheeling her into the OR. I drove so fast hoping I could still make it but was devastated when I arrived that they had JUST birthed the baby. Defeated I went to their room to wait (my first missed birth) but was shortly greeted by their nurse to suit up and come on into the OR. This is one of the many reasons I really enjoy going to Magee for births! I captured some beautiful moments - all except the baby coming out. It took me a minute to compose myself from the excitement.

baby in OR
cesarean birth in pittsburgh
baby hair after birth
breastfeeding baby postpartum
emotional dad after cesarean  birth
baby crib
baby wrinkles

Wow! That Was Insane and Awesome

This first time mom didn't know if she could make it through. She kept telling us she might need to transfer to the hospital. Everyone thought she could do it but she had her doubts - which can be completely normal. She was definitely not thrilled to learn that she was still stuck 4cm after a few hours of doing a handful of things I asked her to do. We hooked her up with Nitrous Oxide and she started doing much better. When she started to tell me and her husband and her nurse that she felt pushy we told her that pelvic pressure was very normal and that was good hope that her body might be progressing. She told us a few more times and the last time was much more assertive with me. I told her I'd go outside to tell the midwife and I did. She also felt things were probably just fine and she would come in to talk and maybe check her after she made some phone calls. Well, the midwife walked in the room set down some stuff next to the tub and mom shouted at all of us that baby was coming NOW and jumped up from the tub. She had only been checked less than an hour before that and she just totally birthed her baby. Midwife or nurse had no gloves and I had set my main camera down before. I rushed over to grab it and start shooting right away. It was wild and awesome and she rocked it so hardcore! I loved this birth so much.

Pregnant belly during birth
joy of birth
pink baby after birth
nitrous oxide in birth
Birth Tub in labor
birth with nitrous oxide
dad skin to skin

Thanks so much families for a wild and wonderful year! Also, I'd like to thank all the amazing OB's and Midwives, Nurses, and birthing facilities I got to go to this year. So seriously, what is stopping you from capturing your birth in 2018? You will never regret these moments captured and frozen in time for you and your family.